What is SCS and How Does it Work?

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a neuromodulation treatment that can be used to help relieve neuropathic pain, which is pain caused by damaged nerves. This nerve damage could be the result of accident, injury, or disease. SCS is most commonly indicated for patients with neuropathic back and leg pain after back surgery and for patients suffering from complex regional pain syndrome. It works by sending mild electrical stimulation to nerves along the spinal column, which masks or modifies pain signals before they reach the brain. SCS also elicits the body’s natural pain-relief pathway and restores the function of these pathways that may have been previously damaged by accident, injury, or disease.

Take a Tour of the SCS Pathway and Understand How 5VH Can Help You Through It
The History of SCS

First used to treat pain


Routinely used to treat pain


FDA approved to treat chronic pain caused by nerve damage in the trunk, arms, and legs


Advances in technology allow for more precise pain control

~34,000 patients undergo spinal cord stimulator implants each year

SCS therapy accounts for about 70% of all neuromodulation treatments

5th Vital Patient Testimonials
Ambassador Program

Would you like to speak with one of our 5VH Ambassadors? These are patients who have been through the SCS process and have offered to share their experience with you. Let us know- we are happy to set you up!

Reach out to us at [email protected]
Free Local SCS Classes

Twice a month 5VH will offer education classes with our Care Coordinators, Physicians, and Device Representatives. This is an opportunity to allow patients to ask questions and learn more about their options.

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When can I go back to my usual activity?

It is important to limit your activity for several weeks after your procedure. It is especially important to limit lifting, twisting, and bending in the first few weeks after your permanent implant to reduce the risk of lead migration. Always talk to your doctor before doing any activity after having a procedure.

How much will my pain reduce with SCS?

People have different amounts of pain relief with SCS therapy. Your trial procedure will help you find out how much it can help your pain. Please speak with your doctor regarding the pain associated with the permanent implant procedure, which typically lasts just a few days.

Will SCS allow me to stop taking pain medications?

For some people, SCS works well enough that they don’t need pain medication. For others, it can mean taking less pain medication. Always talk with your doctor before changing any medication dosages.

Can I control the stimulation therapy?

Yes, the remote control allows you to turn stimulation on and off, increase and decrease the level of stimulation, and target different areas in your body using settings or programs designed specifically for you.

Can I use my SCS system 24 hours a day?

It’s up to you. Our systems are designed for 24-hour-a-day use, should you wish. However, there are times when you should not use it. For example, you should not turn on stimulation while driving or charge it while sleeping. Your physician can go over this with you.

Can one SCS system help me with pain in more than one part of my body?

Yes, your system is designed to address several areas at the same time. You can use your remote control to adjust the amount of stimulation for each area where you’re having pain.

Can I get imaging tests with this system?

You can have commonly used methods such as X-Rays, CT scans, PET scans and ultrasounds. In addition, some devices are now MRI compatible under specified conditions, for people who meet the eligibility requirements. Other SCS systems have varying limitations related to MRI scans. Talk to your doctor to find out which options are best for you.

Will I feel the implant? Can anyone see it?

The implant is small and has a contoured oval shape. Your doctor can position it in the most comfortable and convenient location in your body. Some people say that they can feel it if they press on their skin. In most cases, it isn’t visible.

How easy is it to recharge the implant battery?

The charger is lightweight, cordless and portable so you can charge on the go.

Is spinal cord stimulation safe?

Yes, spinal cord stimulation has been proven safe and effective and has been in use for decades. More than 400,000 people worldwide have been successfully treated with SCS therapy. You should review the risks of SCS with your physician.

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