A trial is usually conducted prior to permanent implantation to determine if spinal cord stimulation is an effective treatment for the patient's painful condition. A small wire (called a lead) connected to a power source is inserted under the skin into the epidural space using fluoroscopic guidance. Low-level electrical signals are then transmitted through the lead to the spinal cord or to specific nerves to block pain signals from reaching the brain.
Using a magnetic remote control, patients can turn the current on and off, or adjust the intensity. The sensations derived from the stimulator are different for everyone; however, most patients describe it as a pleasant tingling feeling.