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Spinal Cord Stimulators: A Success Story

Here is a success story about spinal cord a follow up to my earlier post this week.  It's a really amazing technique. It certainly won't help everyone with chronic pain, it can do great things for lots of folks who are out there suffering-without drug fog or risk of addiction!

The pain in Sequoia Lawson’s right arm grew so severe that she could not lift it to shake hands.

Nothing worked to dull the pain from what doctors said was nerve damage – not medication, physical therapy or multiple surgeries. That is, until she took the 3,000-mile trip from her home in Washington State to Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences in Newark.

Lawson, 30, had learned of the work of neurosurgeon Antonios Mammis at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School treating pain through spinal cord stimulation.  Mammis often consults with colleagues as part of a new interdisciplinary approach to pain management at Rutgers.

“I had suffered with pain for more than a decade and was willing to try anything," she recalled.

Mammis and pain management anesthesiologist Anthony Sifonios diagnosed Lawson with complex regional pain syndrome – a rare and poorly understood condition characterized by excruciating and chronic pain, temperature changes of the affected extremity, swelling and movement disorders. They believed a device, which provides spinal cord stimulation through a “switch” the patient controls, would bring some relief. The device, a neurostimulator, is implanted during minimally invasive surgery.

In the recovery room 15 minutes after the implant surgery, Lawson was able to raise her arm and turn her head from left to right without pain. “It was quite an emotional moment, seeing such a significant response so fast,” says Mammis, recalling Lawson’s tears of joy as she shook his hand.

You can read the story in its entirety here.



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