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A spinal cord stimulator is an electrical device surgically placed beneath the skin that is controlled by the patient via a remote. A stimulator can relieve pain, and may be used in conjunction with medication or individually. Patients undergo a trial period, usually a week long, before a permanent stimulator is implanted to ensure it will function as expected once under the skin.
The electrical signals from the device block pain by masking the signals sent to the brain. It does not stop the pain or its source, it merely changes how the patient’s brain processes the pain signal. For example, when a patient starts to feel pain, activating the stimulator may change a shooting sensation into a feeling of numbness or tingling. No patient is alike, and therefore every patient will experience a different degree of relief.