Posted on September 18, 2020
Living with chronic pain for years can become the ‘norm’ for some people; an expectation of what life is just like. For people who suffer with debilitating chronic pain, however, the hope of overcoming it never subsides.
Fortunately, with modern approaches to pain management, relief from pain can occur – without invasive surgery or addictive medications. This is certainly the case for Meagan, who recently achieved “one-hundred percent” relief of nerve-associated pain through implantation of a new type of spinal cord stimulator (SCS).
Having been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis and neuropathy, Meagan had endured years of nerve pain that extended from the top of the buttocks down her leg and into the foot. The burning pain was so severe at times that feeling clothes against her skin was extremely painful.
Once Meagan’s doctor had determined that her needs had gone beyond what neurology or neurosurgical treatment could provide, he referred her to the pain specialists at Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists (APMSS) of Fort Myers.
In the care of the APMSS pain management physicians, Meagan was relieved that a more aggressive approach could be taken. Pain physician Dr. Ivan Samcam discussed spinal cord stimulation, using a new electrical therapy called Differential Targeted Multiplexed (DTM) Stimulation.
Traditional SCS therapy targets primarily on ‘neuron’ cells. DTM therapy is designed to target these cells as well as ‘glial’ cells. Together, these improve communication between the cells within the spinal cord.
This improved interaction between cells allows for increased pain control. In addition, this therapy helps eliminate the tingling or pins-&-needles sensations associated with prior versions.
Spinal cord stimulators consist of thin wires (leads) that are connected to a small, pacemaker-like battery pack. The leads are strategically placed between the spinal cord and the vertebrae with the battery pack placed under the skin. This all occurs through one, small incision.
Dr. Samcam explains, “Although an implanted device may sound intimidating to some, it is a safe and effective means of blocking pain signals to the brain. Thus, the patient is able to resume life doing day-to-day tasks, taking walks and sleeping comfortably.”
Prior to the placement procedure, psychological screening is done. This helps to rule out depression or other factors that may be contributing to pain. For Meagan, she found it was helpful preparation for the 6 – 8 week recovery time. However, she admits, “After 14 years of being ‘stabbed and prodded’, this didn’t seem daunting.”
Placement of the device is performed at Park Center for Procedures, located on the first floor of the APMSS facility. This fully accredited ASC outpatient center allows patients to avoid the time and expenses required for a hospital stay.
Meagan states, “I knew that once the device is placed, there is a long recovery with no twisting or bending. Even getting out of bed has to be done a certain way,” she states. Yet, her results were worth the commitment. “It’s going wonderfully,” Meagan shares.
Although Meagan faces a lifetime of medical care due to her condition, having “one-hundred percent” relief of nerve-related leg pain has lightened her burden, thanks to a spinal cord stimulator.
Spinal cord stimulators may also be used to treat or manage:
Dr. Samcam adds, “Living in pain is much more than a physical challenge. It affects all aspects of an individual’s life and impacts that of family members. Today’s pain management offers exceptional options for almost any type of pain. Like the spinal cord stimulator, long-term relief is often possible without invasive surgery.”
To learn more or discuss options that may provide you with a more comfortable, mobile life, ask your doctor or call Advanced Pain Management & Spine Specialists at 239-437-8000. New patients are always welcome.