High-Frequency Help for Chronic Pain - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

High-Frequency Help for Chronic Pain

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"How do you feel?” asks Dr. Ali Nairizi at a follow-up appointment with one of his patients. “Ah, amazing. I feel great!" Gary Jaco says with a huge smile on his face. Gary hasn't been able to say that in the last four years. Up until recently, he has suffered with chronic back pain. "It just kept getting worse and worse until it was debilitating.” The Fallon resident says he tried everything, from chiropractic care to plasma replacement therapy. "Nothing worked. I did MRIs and it didn't show anything wrong."

When Gary learned what the Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists doctor is doing, he scheduled an appointment right away. Weeks ago, Gary opted to have surgery at Northern Nevada Medical Center to implant a new type of spinal cord stimulator. It uses high-frequency electric pulses to block pain signals from getting to the brain. Traditional stimulators use a frequency of 40-80 hertz, but Nevro created a 10,000 hertz implant. "With this technology, when you increase frequency to 10,000 hertz - the body's not able to feel that,” explains Dr. Nairizi. It is FDA-approved and new to this market.

Guided by an x-ray machine, Dr. Nairizi leads two thin, insulated wires in through the back - near the spinal cord. "I have the first in the level I need to be near T8," he shows us in the operating room. Once in place, he connects the wires to a small battery-powered pulse generator - implanted just under the skin. The high-frequency SCS system also includes a patient remote control and a portable charging system. The remote control device allows the patient to turn the system on and off and adjust stimulation within parameters set by physicians.

A few days after the procedure, most patients will start to notice, well... nothing. Along with less pain, there's no tingling, buzzing or vibration – which has been associated with traditional spinal cord stimulators. "It means that when the patient feels the signal, there's nothing there to feel." A patient for SCS can try the therapy during the evaluation period using a temporary external system. A minor procedure is performed to place the leads in the candidate’s back. Leads are positioned using a small needle and connected to an external pulse generator that is worn on a belt for 5-7 days. The patient will report to the doctor how much pain relief was felt.

This only applies to chronic pain. If you hurt yourself, you will still feel acute pain. Plus, you can test out the technology before going under the knife to ensure it works for you. Gary says he now feels better than ever. “That's why I'm so excited now. I have my life back."

Dr. Nairizi will be on our Ask the Doctor segment on Monday, August 15th. You can call (775) 858-2222 with you questions between 5-6 p.m. You can also reach Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists during regular business hours at one of its two locations:

(775) 284-8650
Reno: Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists
5578 Longley Lane
Reno, NV 89511
Sparks: Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists
5931 Los Altos Pkwy, Suite 101
Sparks, NV 89436
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