Try Out Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) First

For people who now manage their chronic pain with SCS therapy, the first step was a trial, which is a test drive of an SCS system. This allows you to try out a temporary system to experience it firsthand, so you and your physician can decide if it is right for you.

The beauty of this test drive is you'll discover if it's right for you before making a long-term commitment. The test drive starts with an outpatient procedure conducted at the physician's office or surgery center. Then, over the next few days, you are able to see if the SCS system works for you in reducing your pain. If it does, you and your physician can discuss moving forward with getting an SCS system implanted.

About the test drive

SCS works to interrupt pain impulses before they reach the brain. Some patients say it feels like a gentle fluttering sensation that replaces the pain. But the feeling is different for everyone — and people differ in the amount of pain relief they receive with SCS therapy. The test drive allows you to try out a temporary system and experience Boston Scientific SCS firsthand. The test drive will help you determine the amount of relief you will receive, so you and your doctor can decide if SCS is right for you.

"I came in for the trial, which was a wonderful success. I couldn't believe the instant result for me, personally, right away as soon as they turned it on. It was amazing"


Sharon is a real patient. Individual results may vary. Patients can experience different levels of pain management and different changes in their activities and use of medications. Consult with your physician to determine if you are a candidate for SCS therapy and what you may gain from the therapy. Results from case studies are not necessarily predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.

What to expect

Procedure — Your Pain Management Specialist will place leads into your back. This is performed as an outpatient procedure. This procedure usually takes only 1 to 2 hours.

Up to a week with the trial system — You then go home with your trial system in place, and you'll test drive it over the next 4 to 10 days. In this testing time, and at its conclusion, you and your doctor can decide if SCS therapy effectively manages your pain. If it does, you can move forward with the implanted system. If it doesn't, you simply have the system removed.

The Temporary Trial System Has An External Stimulator. The Long-Term Implant Does Not.

Unlike the long-term implant, the temporary trial system has an external stimulator device. This is why it's temporary. However, if you and your physician decide to move forward with getting the implanted device, this device is different. The SCS system is intended for long-term therapy and is implanted under the skin. In most cases, unless you tell someone you have it, they'd never know.

Evaluating your test drive

People differ in the amount of pain relief they receive with SCS therapy. The test drive will help you determine the amount of relief you will receive.

What defines success?

Talk to your physician about how he or she defines success for you and your situation, but SCS is generally considered effective:
  • If your pain is reduced by at least 50%
  • If you are able to get back to your daily activities
  • If your need for pain medication is reduced
  • If you're able to relax and sleep better

Will SCS allow you to be free of pain medications?

For some patients, SCS therapy works well enough that pain medications may no longer be needed. For others, success with the therapy can mean using less pain medication. Always consult your physician before changing your medication dosage.

Have a Pain Management Specialist?

Pain Management Specialists are physicians who specialise in treating chronic pain. These physicians receive years of advanced, specialised training in pain management and focus on treating patients with severe pain. Find a Pain Management Specialist »