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Spinal Cord Stimulator

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Cathleen Greenwell lives in chronic pain. She has for the past 2 and a half years. Years ago, she thought a spinal fusion would help her, but it didn't. And with a pain level of 6 to 7 every single day, her life started to fall apart. "It's consumed every ounce of my life. My dignity is gone, my career is gone. There's not much left. I don't know how people do it."

So after physical therapy, pain medicine and pretty much every other treatment option failed her, she ended up at Northern Nevada Medical Center. Dr Denis Patterson of Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists is about to perform a spinal cord stimulation on her. "Basically there are small electrodes on this lead that I'm going to put in the spinal canal and it connects to a battery source that actually turns on and creates a magnet field that then causes the stimulation in the spinal cord that the brain picks up and actually thinks that's in the spinal cord area they'll feel it in the leg where they had pain."

Basically tricking the brain to perceiving pain as a slight tingle. And here's how. Dr. Patterson threads two leads up both sides of her spinal column. Once they are in the exact place he wants them, a rep with St. Judes, who makes the stimulator, turns it on. "I'm going to turn it up just a little. It is still pretty mild."

Cathleen is wide awake. Numbing medicine makes the procedure tolerable. And once the device is turned on, she immediately feels a difference. "The device is like your TV. You can change the channels, turn it up turn it down so the patient has a lot of control over what they're feeling," explain Dr. Patterson.

Dr. Patterson says it's for anyone who has had back surgery for nerve issues, but still feels pain even if the surgery was considered successful. This device is temporary, kind of like test driving a car. If the patient likes it, they can get a permanent one surgically implanted.

Cathleen saw a huge improvement in her pain and is now considering a permanent device.

For more information, go to www.nvadvancedpain.com 

Written By Wendy Damonte
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