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Psychological Testing for SCS

My pain management doctor said I must have psychological testing before the trial for a SCS. I've read all kinds of information about the reasons for such psychological screening but NOWHERE have I been able to find a description of the actual screening. My PM's rehabilitation group uses something called the Productivity Enhancement Program, or PEP. Can anyone of the Spineys tell me exactly what happens with PEP? My appointment for it is in 2 weeks and I am getting rather nervous about it. I've already had 14 lumbar and cervical (including the partial removal of my left collar bone to facilitate my last cervical procedure) surgeries but I am not nervous about the physical aspects of the SCS, just this strangely-named test. The most logical thing to do would be to call my PM but it seems literally that you need to take a number to get through rehab's switchboard. The PM's assistant says to call her with any questions but so far, I've only managed to get through to her voice mail and my messages have yet to be answered in almost 3 weeks! I'm nervous and very frustrated!!

I'm so thrilled to have the Spineys here for me to bounce my frustrations off of. Thanks in advance!



  • LC84LLC84 Posts: 599
    edited 07/18/2014 - 5:28 AM
    My Phych evaluation for the SCS consisted of about 300 multiple choice questions. The psychologist then scored the test and we spoke briefly. It wasn't bad at all. I don't know if that's how it's done in all cases, but if so, there is nothing to be scared about.

    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • They just want to make sure you have realistic expectations, aren't malingering, won't freak out and try to excise it from your body afterward, understand the risks, have exhausted options, aren't a sociopath or psychopath (this is a pyro duct of the psycho testing Briggs Myers or whatever personality profile of the month they use), and that you are generally capable of understanding the process and making an informed decision.
    Unless you fit into one of the categories above and are possibly a loose cannon ready to pop, you'll have no issues.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    The exam is no big deal, i agree with above answer.
  • ttattttat Posts: 7
    edited 07/20/2014 - 12:37 AM
    Lcochran, VOLVO, and Susan - thanks for your encouraging answers about the screening test for SCS.

    I guess what has me the most concerned about the psych test are the sheer number of questions and the constraints of how much time will be given to read through them. Once upon a time,. I could easily read 2,000-4,000 pages of texts and/or fiction in a week's time. However, three years ago I underwent 4 eye surgeries. I am now, for all practical purposes, totally blind in my left eye after two failed surgeries for a detached retina (7 hours of surgery for that), laser repair for three tears in my right retina, and replacement for a massive cataract in my left eye, plus only 20 degrees of peripheral vision in either eye. So, as you can see (no pun intended) it takes me an AWFULLY long time to get anything accomplished visually. On top of that, we discovered I have the genetically based Rod and Cone Disease, for which there is no cure.

    And so, my new Spiney friends, that is why I am turning into a basket case!

  • There is no time limit. You could always check in advance to see if someone can assist you with reading the questions. I would inform the office because they may want you to come earlier to get the test started. I had to show up an hour before I met with the psychologist so I could complete the test before my scheduled appointment time. I am really sorry to hear about your vision. I would think they could accommodate you if you make them aware of your situation.

    Good luck!
    Progressive DDD
    Chronic S1 Radiculopathy
    Discectomy L5-S1 2002
    Discectomy, Laminotomy/Foraminotomy L3-S1 January 2014
    Bilateral SI Joint Fusion and 2 level spinal Fusion October 2014
  • suggestion in contacting the office that administers the test prior to your appointment and I'm pretty sure that they would be willing to have someone do the reading for you. Or perhaps you could bring someone with you, who is willing to read the questions.
  • Bamaboy100BBamaboy100 Posts: 40
    edited 07/22/2014 - 9:41 AM
    Mine consisted of sitting with a therapist for about 45 minutes and talking in general about my pain, my expectations and general outlook on life living with pain. I took the written portion of 300 questions, and then I had an hour long test that included reciting words from memory and some picture puzzles.
  • They recited all my questions because they wanted to administer it that way. It was all basically T/F responses to a statement. NO verbal responses, just filled in the response.
    I recall it being 500, but I could be wrong.
    L4-L5 fused at birth (congenital malformity). L-5-S1 bulge/degeneration, L3-L4 bulge/degeneration. Permanent nerve damage L5-S1 and L3-L4. Fused C5-C7.
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