Spinal Cord Stimulator Doctors

In Maryland Pennsylvania and Virginia

Spinal Cord Stimulation (or SCS) is a minimally invasive treatment that uses mild electrical pulses to mask pain signals that are sent to the brain. SCS is commonly used to treat pain from failed back surgery syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, and other types of chronic pain such as post-surgical, diabetic neuropathy, or ischemic pain.

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Digital Guide 

Treatment overview and more!

Why Choose A Spinal Cord Stimulator?

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has been shown to reduce the intensity of chronic pain by an average of 49%, resulting in significant improvements in quality of life and patient satisfaction - The Journal of Neurosurgery. Research has also shown that SCS can provide five years of meaningful pain relief with 86% of patients reporting a successful result.

To learn more about the spinal cord stimulation (SCS) procedure, the trial, and other frequently asked questions, use the resource buttons listed below. If you are ready to speak with one of our board-certified pain specialists, please use our contact form here or give us a call to schedule your new patient consultation.

During your initial consultation, our pain specialists will evaluate your current health condition and medical history to determine whether SCS treatment is a suitable option for you. If it is, the next step is to proceed with a trial to confirm the efficacy of the treatment before the implantation process.

Keep Reading

Spinal Cord Stimulator Treatment Guide

If you are wondering "how does the spinal cord stimulator work?", then this comprehensive will help answer all your questions about the procedure, conditions it treats, what to expect, and many other frequently asked questions!

A image of a digital guide for spinal cord stimulation treatment at pain and spine specialists of Maryland

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How do spinal cord stimulators work

The spinal cord stimulator is a small device surgically placed in the spine. The device has small threads (or leads) that are placed in the lower back region, between the spinal cord and the epidural space (the vertebrae).

The device works by delivering mild electrical impulses to the spinal cord, which alters the pain signals that are sent to the brain. This technique masks the pain signals, providing patients with relief. SCS is viewed as an alternative to traditional pain management techniques, such as opioids, and has a lower risk of addiction or overdose. The implantation of the device is done by a surgical procedure and is considered minimally invasive.

Patients can manage their pain symptoms with a small remote that gives patients more control over their pain levels. Using the Spinal Cord Stimulator controller is a straightforward process. The device is small and has a few buttons that patients can use to adjust the intensity of the electrical stimulation.

All patients are given clear instructions on how to use SCS remote, and our team of medical professionals can also provide guidance and assistance as needed. With proper use, SCS remotes can provide patients with a high degree of control over their pain and improve their quality of life.

Spinal Cord Stimulation Webinar

Check out this webinar hosted by Dr. Sudhir Rao, our medical director, for a comprehensive overview of the SCS procedure.

During the webinar, Dr. Rao provides an in-depth discussion about Spinal Cord Stimulation, including what it is, how it works, and who may be a good candidate for the procedure. He will also cover details about the SCS implantation process, as well as the recovery and follow-up process.

Selling for SCS treatment listed in a row

Is spinal cord stimulation right for you?

When experiencing chronic back pain, seeking a pain management specialist's guidance is crucial. At Pain and Spine Specialists, our team of spinal cord stimulator doctors will first evaluate your medical history and review any pain symptoms you are experiencing. We will also conduct a physical examination to check for neurological defects or other potential causes of the pain, such as spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc.

In addition, our physicians may request imaging tests (X-ray, MRI, CT scan, etc.) to get a more comprehensive look. If these tests reveal that the pain originates from the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) or the spinal cord, then you may be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation treatment.

Nonsurgical Treatments

After diagnosing your condition we typically recommend nonsurgical treatments such as medications, physical therapy or steroid injections before considering SCS therapy. If these treatments do not provide sufficient relief then Spinal Cord Stimulation may be a good next step. Our specialists will review the benefits of the device and any potential risks you may incur, and they will then advise you on the necessary steps to have the device implanted.

What Conditions Does Spinal Cord Stimulation Treat?

Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) is typically used to treat chronic pain conditions that have not responded well to other treatments. 

Pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve can result in sharp, shooting, or stabbing pain.


A disorder that often causes pain fatigue, excessive sleeping, difficulty with memory, and mood shifts.


Headaches and migraines are often related to stress, depression, and/or anxiety.


A chronic joint inflammation condition causing pain, stiffness, and swelling; managed through medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications.


It's important to note that using SCS for these conditions is only sometimes appropriate, and a qualified healthcare provider should make the decision to use SCS as a treatment option on a case-by-case basis.

Is SCS A Good Alternative To Opioids?

Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is considered a great alternative to opioid pain management for some patients. Opioid pain medications can be effective in managing chronic pain, but they also carry a risk of addiction, dependence, and other side effects. SCS, on the other hand, provides pain relief by using electrical impulses to disrupt pain signals to the brain without needing medication.

SCS can also be used in conjunction with medications for pain management. Many patients who undergo SCS continue to take medications, although in many cases, patients are able to reduce their usage or stop altogether.

Spinal Cord Stimulation is often used as part of a multimodal pain management approach, which may include medications, physical therapy, and other treatments. Using SCS in combination with medication can provide patients with more effective pain relief, allowing them to achieve a better quality of life.

At Pain and Spine Specialists, we offer medication management services so patients are carefully monitored and assisted during opioid medication use.

Starting the process for an SCS

Once you decide to move forward with a Spinal Cord Stimulator, there are a few steps you must follow. The initial part of the process requires you to schedule a psychological evaluation. This psychological evaluation is administered before the trial to determine if there is any mental health risk due to SCS placement. 

Some patients do not respond well to a foreign device being surgically implanted in their body. For those individuals, a surgically placed device may heighten anxiety and worry.

Elevated stress levels may negatively impact the effectiveness of the SCS, and you may continue to feel pain in the same manner. Since Spinal Cord Stimulation requires surgery for placement and use, a psychological evaluation is vital for all parties involved to ensure the patient will receive the best outcome possible.

If the psychological evaluation indicates that a patient is not emotionally capable of handling the placement of the device, then we cannot proceed with the procedure. Fortunately, there are alternative treatments to Spinal Cord Stimulation that can then be considered during a follow-up consultation.

The psychological evaluation must be completed by a mental health professional, who will review basic information, medical history, and your struggle with chronic pain. Once the mental health professional has completed their evaluation and determined you are a good fit, you may proceed to the next steps.

A translucent image of a male spine showing a medtronic SCS device and its leads.
A cut out section of a human spine displayed as a graphic with SCS device leads attached.

The SCS Trial Procedure

Once an individual has successfully completed their psychological evaluation, they proceed to a trial SCS period.

With the spinal cord stimulator trial, patients can experience the benefits of SCS without undergoing full surgery. This trial period allows patients to test-run the device at home and evaluate their pain relief. The trial will last roughly 3-5 days, allowing you to determine if the pain symptoms are subsiding. If you experience a 50% reduction in pain (or more), the SCS trial can be considered a success.  

spinal Cord stimulator trial procedure:

The trial SCS is an outpatient procedure and can be done in a doctor's office or an outpatient facility. 

During the spinal stimulator trial procedure, your pain management doctor will place the temporary SCS trial implant using fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is a medical imaging technique that uses X-rays to create real-time moving images of the internal structures of a patient's body. It is often used to assist doctors during surgical procedures, as it allows them to see the inside of the body and guide their instruments with precision. 

Based on the location of your pain, the SCS trial leads will be carefully and precisely placed in specific portions of your epidural space, which is the area surrounding the spinal cord. 

Spinal cord stimulation leads are thin wires that are connected to a small device called a spinal cord stimulator, which delivers electrical impulses to the spinal cord. These impulses are what interfere with the pain signals that are sent to the brain

For the SCS Trial, the stimulator device will not be surgically implanted inside the body; only the lead wires will be placed fluoroscopically. 

Spinal cord stimulator implant and Lead Placement

After a successful spinal cord stimulation trial, you can move forward with a permanent implant procedure. The procedure requires minimally invasive surgery, but surgery nonetheless. 

Please note that a permanent Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) implant can be removed in the future if necessary. Reasons for removal may include a change in the patient's medical condition or if the device is no longer effectively controlling the patient's pain.

SCS Procedure Steps:

  1. Preoperative Preparation: The patient is prepared for surgery, which involves cleaning the area where the generator will be implanted and administering local anesthesia to numb the area.
  2. Placement of the Leads: A surgeon will make a small incision in the patient's back, carefully insert the leads through a needle or catheter, and place them in the epidural space surrounding the spinal cord. The leads are then secured in place with sutures.
  3. Placement of the Generator: Once the leads are in place, a small incision is made near the hip or abdomen, and the generator is implanted under the skin. The surgeon then connects the leads to the generator and tests the system to ensure it works correctly.
  4. Closing the Incisions: After the generator is in place, the surgeon will close the incisions with sutures or surgical staples and cover them with a sterile dressing.
  5. Postoperative Recovery: After the procedure, the patient is taken to a recovery area, where they are monitored for a short period before being released. The patient can usually go home the same day or the day after the surgery.

spinal cord stimulator recovery time

Recovery from this procedure will take a shorter amount of time than other standard spinal surgeries. Postoperatively, you may resume light activities after a few weeks, with a full recovery typically after eight weeks.

Your surgeon and pain specialist will monitor your recovery to ensure you have a successful outcome from SCS implantation. For many patients, the mild electrical impulses that alter and mask the pain signals are a significant reprieve from their previous pain experiences. Instead of pain radiating through your back, the sensation changes to something manageable.

The pain-relieving stimulation can be flexibly programmed for appropriate therapy to provide a gentle tingling sensation. A mild tingle wins over the pain that radiates. 

Why Choose SCS

The spinal cord stimulator is clinically proven and FDA-approved to treat various chronic pain conditions. Compared to conventional pain treatments, SCS is often more effective in reducing pain and improving a patient's quality of life. With SCS, patients can take control of their pain management and pursue activities that would have otherwise been too painful in the past.

Check Out Our Podcast

About Us

We are a comprehensive pain management practice with board certified Spinal Cord Stimulation doctors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

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Spinal Cord Stimulation Treatment Overview


Pain Regions

Spinal Cord Stimulation is often used to treat pain in the following regions:

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How To Get Started

Looking for spinal cord stimulator doctors near me? Please call Pain and Spine Specialists and speak to our dedicated team of board-certified specialists.

Frequently Asked Questions

Billing / Insurance Questions

We Accept All Insurances!

That includes Medicare and state Medicaid.

How Soon Can I Be Seen?

Usually within one week of the initial call.

Appointments can be schedule by phone or through our contact form here.

What To Expect During Appointments

At Pain and Spine Specialists we provide comprehensive pain care while offering the most up-to-date minimally invasive techniques. Our ethos is to treat each patient (and potential patient) as if they were a family member.

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Patient Portal / Policies

At Pain and Spine Specialists we want to provide the most efficient and pleasurable experience possible. As in all medical facilities, we have certain policies in place to ensure that you receive the time you require to address your needs as well as enhance your experience while in our care.

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