Stage 1

Stage 1


The wait is over,Its here,it happening,you got the butterflys in the stomach,you can smell that stench of mixed sweat,anxiety,disinfectant and other nervous patients passing gas.Today can change the rest of your life



This is important-Stage 1 is a trial-Like taking a car out for a test before you buy-Makes sense right?

Stage 1 is different for all because of different makes/models dependent on where you live or what your doc recommends


Conventional batteries last 2-5 years-You will not charge these at home but will need more surgurys to replace them

Rechargeable 10+ years( you’ve got to charge it everyday or every other day etc-Depends on make/model…

I can only speak here of one type that I have personal experience and the other one I am using second hand information

  •  One very popular brand needs you to be awake,sedated,given local anaesthetic but still be able to guide the doc and give feedback in real time as to can you feel a tingling sensation where you previously had pain as he/she moves the electrode’s around. When you feel the tingling where you once had pain you are knocked right back out. Some people say the relief is instantaneous,for some its take a week or so, for some more, for some it will not work efficiently .I’ve no experience in this so am writing second hand info.You will need to know what he/she will be doing to you while on the operating table, so that you can do your part in accurately describing where you are feeling the stimulation, or if you are ‘not’ feeling the stimulation where it should be. It’s a 3-way teamwork gig when the moment comes for the Rep to turn on the unit, but it’s you who will call the shot because only you can feel the sensation of the SCS.As for pain (surgical pain) you may need to mention it to your doc if this is stopping/distracting you from the giving info about your chronic pain then they can juice up the surgical pain control.During this procedure a thin cable called a lead is threaded under your skin and connected to a battery-powered stimulator that is worn outside your body. The trial system is temporary and allows you and your doctor to determine if SCS will work for you-AKA a test drive


  • Another brand you are knocked out by anesthesia, cold. The procedure takes an hour or so and this is for sure the most comfortable I would imagine.When you wake up you will have your whole lumber area bandaged with what looks like two Ethernet/Telephone cables coming out of  the bandages maybe a few inches-This is the best way I can describe it.It will feel very tight but not painful really. Those 2 leads will then be attached to an External device which is attached to a belt on the outside of your body about the size of two pagers stuck together (remember this is only the trial) but this will act like the full implant so you can see if its working for you. You will visit the hospital where you will be given different programs programmed in to your remote control (by a specialist) to see which works/is best for you and you can try them at home with your snazzy little remote you’ve been.given.Maybe none will work, maybe some will work, maybe one will work a bit, maybe one will work amazingly-who knows hence this trialling period for about a week, maybe more

For both types you will be given a remote(an actual remote-like a TV remote) with pre-programmed “programs” to try to make your pain less you can turn the current on and off, or adjust the intensity


What are electrodes?

A fancy word for leads: A strip of electrodes on a lead is placed in the epidural space next to the spinal cord in the spinal canal

Programsare programmed in to your remote control (by a specialist) to see which works/is best for you and you can try them at home with your snazzy little remote you’ve been.given.Maybe none will work, maybe some will work, maybe one will work a bit, maybe one will work amazingly-who knows hence this trailing period for about a week, maybe more, just don’t confuse it with the TV remote cause you’ll blow up the TV—-JOKE!!!!


What’s a program I hear you ask?

Programming involves selecting the electrode stimulating configuration-Remember the leads, they have 8 or 12 “nodes” on them and using different combinations can -Kind of like tuning your radio I guess, which frequency is best. Maybe one frequency is ok bit if I turn the knob a little here and a little there then voilà . Your specialist will tell you more


You will be asked to keep a diary also because no-one knows your pain except you, really important. e3df58a6c98bf2bc1bca4ec020343014You really have to work as a team.Uber important


**Personally I think this is what makes SCS so special and so appealing against wheelbarrows full of pain meds. You can try before you buy…


Long in hospital?

Can be an outpatient or you may need a few days-Ask your doc

External SCS On all the time for the trail?

Depends on the make/model/country but yes it will be on 24/7

Can I wash?

Yes but you cannot shower, it’s very important to keep the area where the stitches are dry and clean in case of infection etc.-Remember it’s a bandaged up wound but it’s still open.Wash with a cloth and soap but no baths or showers…A week of no showering for a potential lifetime of massive pain relief is worth it right? There might be a ripe smell of sweat off you but who gives a damn right now…..


Can I travel?

Why take the risk. This is the short-term trail and could change your whole life. Of course you’ve got to travel home but otherwise take it easy..

Take it easy how?

(I cannot stress how important this is because of lead movement/breakage)

These leads are designed to move as you move and are durable but the first few weeks while there bedding in are when there most likely to move-Can’t express how important this is

Surgery will be required to move the lead back-When I say move I’m talking millimeters here

You really need to be treat yourself as a statue and for anyone else in your household to treat you as a child as in picking up after you.I’m not even sure if some docs will give a patient an SCS if they live alone for this reason if they are looking for optimum success

Don’t drive. Can you? You Probably can…why risk it…its a short term trial

SCS systems may set off metal detectors at airports and elsewhere. Your doc will give you special ID (Ooh fancy you) that certifies you have a SCS system. It’s nothing; don’t worry about it.Theres millions of people in world with metal etc. in their bodies…Its more that your SCS will get damaged by the magnet force of the metal detector than anything else

Know where your leads are: Upper,lower back,wherever and think about your movements before acting…….

Don’t exercise too much-Yes a 5 minute walk every few hours but again why risk a long walk and fall maybe,walk around the block when you know the neighbor’s dog won’t knock you down-DOH!!



Do not bend over forwards-Ever.Ever.Ever-If you drop something leave it. Seriously,my niece became my personal butler during the trial……..


  • Get a grabber thing,you know?The ones with the handle   Grabber Arm


  • Do not twist-Ever.Ever.Ever.


  • Do not raise arm over head-Ever.Ever.Ever-Ask for help


  • You will be shown how to get out of bed-If not ask the Docs exactly how you do this and if you forget ask the again and again and again………


  • No sudden movements. Easier said than done I know but think before you move….


  • Don’t lift anything-at all, just don’t, why risk it….why risk it-Get someone else to do it…..
  • For women no high heels for now


Don’t wear a tight belt aswel as I found out the hard way

Might need an o’l laxative there aswel for the strain on the bowels there depending on your diet and meds………..

All the above are so important i cant stress it enough so i made this line purple,why not!!Purple rocks!!!!

I’m sure other sites(and Ive seen them) say you can do this and do that after a day or two-I even saw one saying you can play rugby after 6 weeks??!!

If you’re a multimillionaire and you can afford to have all the surgery’s to get the leads moved/replaced and you don’t really care about or are too lazy to take care of yourself by all means listen to the other sites.But be warned you heard it here first………

If you don’t live with someone who can get you through the trial and im talking get you through the trial like a trooper,you really have to come up with a plan beforehand like,whos minding,kids,whose,going to shop and the million everyday things

Dude I got kids!!!

I hear ya but you’ve got to get help, it’s just instinct to bend over and hug your kid if he/she falls and there a million other scenarios like this……

YOU WILL NEED SOMEONE PRETTY MUCH 24/7(not in person but always but contactable by phone) FOR THE TRAIL FOR OPTIMUM SUCCESS-Trust me…….

The hospital staff will give you a phone number aswel in case you have any questions-Don’t be afraid to use it………

Do I need to charge this external device?

It’s an External device that takes average AA batteries

 Still sound nuts!!

Stage 1 is the trial.Its an External  battery even though the leads in your spine will remain should you go to stage 2,if your not going to stage 2 because you didnt get much relief out come everything,i.e leads and External SCS…


At the end of this trial you will decide if its best for you-Massive decision!!

e1e5862b311f5198afad98ac7c39c94cOnly you know your pain and what the SCS trial has done for you.Be patient during the trial.Don’t give it because it “hurts” or is “uncomfortable”.It will be sore and uncomfortable.Theres a massive difference between “hurt” and “pain”,if its just too painful then speak to your doc but it will be sore.I know someone who had a seven week trial.Seven weeks!!!Seven weeks of having a box strapped to his body.Seven weeks of no showers(and boy could you smell it),seven weeks of “will it work”just when he had given up all hope it started to work and gave massive pain relief changing his life forever.Don’t give up its a once in a lifetime opportunity but that’s just my advice.Take it or leave it………….



Got it-Whats stage 2?

Hover your mouse over “Stage 1” at the top of the page and then click on “Stage 2″….

  • Shastwell1216

    Dan, thank you so much again for all the advice and for this site. I am now in my 6th day of my trial. While sponge baths and sink hair washing have been OK they aren’t cutting it! I need a shower! I am so glad I finally decided to go through with it! I want to yell at my former self! I have had about 90% pain relief in rest and about 70-75% during regular activity. I feel lime my old self again! I am now terrified tri her itnout. The insertion wasn’t exactly smooth. There was a ton of scar tissue and some bone issue that prevented the second lead from going through. Mine was inserted at t12 and is nestled into the top of T7. They got perfect coverage with one lead though so after 4xs trying they called it quits and moved the first a bit. It ended up taking close to 4 hours! Definitely not the norm but sadly the surgeon did some nasty work. I will have to do see a seperate surgeon for the real deal because scar tissue and bone needs removal. But I am happy to say as long as it gets approval I am going through with the permanent! So happy about it. I am anxious to get in with life again! Thanks for all the advice Dan!

    • Danspinestim

      I hear ya about the lack of showers etc haha,what can you do i suppose…….better to not to smell exactly like roses for a bit but life hopefully will be rosy for you in a few weeks when you get the permanent SCS-The first shower you have after your trial will be the mother of all showers :)…..Wow 90% pain relief when resting and 75% when busy is amazing relief-Happy days!!Delighted your going to go ahead with the permanent SCS if thats what you want,especially after a 4 hour surgery-Thats got to be hard….its rare someone gets 90% so grab it for all its worth id say…..Sorry that your surgeon wasn’t up to the task but I like you would just go seek another one if you find your current one is not up to scratch and your permanent SCS should give you the same relief as the trial…..Keep me posted on how you get on with the permanent-id be very interested to know
      Delighted thing are looking up for you….
      Good luck!!!