Kimberly’s Chronic Pain Story
In 2009, Kimberly found herself happily planning her own wedding, something that would have been almost impossible for her to do a few years before. Kimberly had suffered for years from a chronic pain condition that kept her depressed and exhausted. Terrible sensations in her back and leg inhibited her from doing simple acts or even picking up her son, who was a toddler at the time.
“I was in tears a lot,” she says. “The pain just sucked the life out of me.” Getting little sleep and unable to sit for long, Kimberly struggled to keep working as an insurance agent. For a year and a half, she got little relief from various doctors, until a pain specialist told her to consider spinal cord stimulation, also known as neurostimulation.
She was not enthusiastic about the idea. “I was a little skeptical,” she says. “Nobody I knew had heard of it. But I was willing to try anything at that point.” She talked to her doctor about her fears, as well as the risks and benefits. (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 careful consideration, she decided to try the therapy during a temporary evaluation of neurostimulation. With the temporary system, she instantly felt relief. Soon she had a stimulator implanted and within weeks noticed the change in her life. Most of her pain was under control, and she found it much easier to sleep and work. No longer tired and irritable, she could take pleasure in spending time with her son. “The big thing I noticed is that I could actually be happy again,” she says.
Shortly after getting her stimulator, Kimberly met her husband-to-be, and they were married near Seattle, Washington. She says her husband is supportive and thinks highly of the technology that helps her. According to Kimberly, being in pain all the time had changed her into a different person. But because of her stimulator, she is now “somebody who someone else would want to marry.”
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.