Pain management specialist Dr. Stephen Siwek implants an Eon below 26-year-old Adam’s skin. The device is a mini-neurostimulator that emits electrical stimuli into the spinal cord and can mask or inhibit the body’s ability to relay pain signals up...
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A Neurostimulator Implant for Severe Chronic Pain Dr. Travis Stork: Because Chronic Pain remains largely under treated, it affects over 75 million people in the US alone and Adam was one of those people. But he’s now with us and joining us also is Dr. Steven Siwek a Pain Management Specialist from Phoenix, Arizona. What’s amazing to me is I was reading your story, how much pain medication did you used to be on? Adam: I was on over five general pain medications a day as including Methadone, Vicodin and Valium. My level on scale of 1 to 10 was at 12. I couldn’t make nit from my bed to the couch without wanting to just sit down and cry because of the pain. Dr. Travis Stork: Well and after what happened, it’s understandable that’s quite an accident and you were lucky to be alive. But what we’re talking about today is the future medicine and this is really a mini-miracle, is it not? Dr. Steven Siwek: It absolutely is. This really has changed the game as far as the war on pain goes. Neural stimulation devices are typically for those patients with severe chronic pain similar to Adam. Typically these are patients that have upper back pain into one or both arms, in Adam’s case horrible back pain onto one or both legs. These are patients that have failed the simple things, multiple medications in Adam’s case, physical therapy, injections. They failed to have any relief simply by more than one surgery at some cases. Dr. Travis Stork: And walk as through, we have an animation of how this procedure works. Tell us what is going on here in this animation. Dr. Steven Siwek: The neural stimulation devices are also known as Pacemakers for pain. What you could see on this animation is simply electrical stimulus into the spinal cord area that masks or change the ability of those signals to get to the brain. By doing that, what happens is the signal sends a small little impulse that’s realized by the patient as a massaging area, sensation area and it blocks their area of pain. Dr. Travis Stork So instead of pain you feel sort of tingling all over? Adam: Absolutely, if you are to wake up in the middle of the night and your arm had fallen asleep and you have that tingling feeling, from my lower cage to my knees that is what I feel now instead of pain. Dr. Travis Stork: Which is better than pain and we actually have some surgery footage which is pretty remarkable, tell us what we’re looking at here. Dr. Steven Siwek: What we have here is a simple case, in Adam’s case he’s going to be on his stomach. We’ll advance this small electrode into the epidural space that is connected then to a programmer. It’ll notice here Adam is wake for the entire procedure so that I can talk to him, I can drive the stimulation into one or both legs across his back, give him that comfortable tingling and when he gives me thumbs up, I know we found the right area. Dr. Travis Stork: What’s cool, you guys Adam is the first in the world to get this device implanted. Pretty remarkable and you know what’s really neat also is I was asking earlier how do you recharge this thing? Adam: Right, because I use such a high setting on my device. I have to charge my battery once a week. And this is a nice small, little portable device that all I have to do is just put it, right over the battery. And 90 minutes later, I’m fully recharged and ready to go another week. Dr. Travis Stork: And what’s your favorite hobby now? Adam: I am back to Sky diving again. Dr. Travis Stork: Unbelievable, well God Bless you. We’re so happy you’re feeling better.

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