Home Care after Spinal Cord Stimulator Trial
The spinal cord stimulator trial is used to
find out if this treatment will reduce your
pain. You will go home with your trial leads
in place. The trial most often lasts one
Your feedback during the trial is vital to
ξ See the physical therapist during the
trial to find out if your function is
improved with the treatment.
ξ Fill out the Pain Log for the length of
ξ Reduce and keep track of your pain
medicines as instructed by your
ξ Learn what settings of spinal cord
stimulation work for you as you
adjust the controller in response to
your activities, body positions, and
changes in pain.
You may have pain in your back where the
leads exit. It is okay to use Tylenol® or ice
to ease this pain. Avoid aspirin which
increases bleeding. You will need to
carefully watch your symptoms to decide
what pain is caused by inserting the spinal
cord stimulator and what pain is your
normal, chronic pain.
You will need to restrict your activities
during the trial period. This is so the leads
in your back don’t move. If the leads move
too much, you can lose stimulation.
ξ Do not drive. Limit riding in the car
to those trips that are absolutely
ξ Do not raise your arms above your
ξ Do not twist, bend, or stretch your
body at the waist. When rolling over,
keep your body straight. Sitting in a
chair is fine as long as you are
ξ Do not make any sudden
ξ Do not lift items weighing more than
ξ Do not strain when moving your
bowels. Take laxatives if needed.
You will have an incision in your back
where the spinal cord stimulator leads exit.
This will be covered by a bandage. You will
need to take very good care of the site to
avoid complications like infection or
ξ Keep the area covered for the
entire trial with the original
bandage. If the bandage
becomes soiled, dislodged, or
wet you will need to call the
Interventional Pain team.
ξ You may not shower, soak in the
tub, or go swimming for the time
of the trial. You are encouraged
to keep yourself clean with
You will need to watch the site to make sure
everything is healing well. Look at the site
daily. Do not remove the bandage. Call the
Interventional Pain team if you have:
ξ Pus-like drainage.
ξ Fever (oral temperature greater
than 100.4° F or 38.0° C for two
readings taken 4 hours apart).
ξ Site is red or warm to touch.
ξ Excess swelling, bruising, or
ξ Pain you cannot control.
You will need to return in one week to
discuss the results of your trial. Your
trial spinal cord stimulator leads will be
removed at this visit. If you lose
stimulation at any time during the trial
call the clinic.
Dr Sehgal – (608) 263-9550
Dr Leonard – (608) 265-3207
Dr Simhan – (608) 263-9550
Dr Holz – (608) 265-3207
Dr Abd-Elsayed – (608) 263-9550
Dr Poliak-Tunis – (608) 263-9550
After hours, nights and weekends, call
(608)-262-0486 or if you live out of the
area, call 1-800-323-8942 - ask for the
rehabilitation doctor on call. Leave your
name and phone number with the area code.
The doctor will call you back.
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 8/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospital
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#6805