Denita’s Chronic Pain Story
When the car she was riding in was struck by a drunk driver, Denita suffered several near-fatal injuries; in fact, she had to be resuscitated twice. To repair a shattered vertebra in her lower back, surgeons placed a metal rod in Denita’s back and grafted bone from her rib cage to stabilize her spine and repair some of the damage. Denita lost 40 percent of the feeling in her body, and the damage to her spine threatened to paralyze her permanently.
Doctors told Denita she had a 50-percent chance to walk again and would live with pain for the rest of her life. But with physical therapy and determination, Denita did walk again. Her pain, however, remained. What began as a constant, dull ache intensified into a “jutting, burning pain, as if somebody were taking a knife and jabbing it clear to my bones,” recalls Denita.
An acquaintance, who also suffered from back pain, told Denita about a chronic pain therapy called neurostimulation. Interested, she did some online research and talked to her pain management doctor. He explained the risks and benefits of neurostimulation. (Risks associated with the procedure and/or use of a neurostimulation system include infection, swelling, bruising, undesirable changes in stimulation, and the loss of strength or use in an affected limb or muscle group (e.g., paralysis). For a complete list of possible complications associated with neurostimulation, refer to this important safety information.
After reviewing the risks and benefits, Denita decided to undergo a temporary evaluation of neurostimulation. The evaluation was a success, and Denita decided to have a neurostimulation system implanted.
Thanks to her St. Jude Medical™ neurostimulator, Denita is leading a more active life. Today, she enjoys dancing, camping, getting together with friends, and spending time with her three children and granddaughter. “Neurostimulation has allowed me to take part in my life without worrying about the pain,” says Denita.
Consult your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits of neurostimulation and determine if this therapy is right for you. The story above explains the experiences of an individual who has received a neurostimulation system to manage chronic pain of the trunk and/or limbs. These results with neurostimulation are specific to this individual. While most patients experience at least some reduction in pain, the amount of pain relief that individuals experience varies. The surgical placement and use of a neurostimulation system pose risks, the occurrence of which also varies by individual.