Weshon’s Chronic Pain Story
For most of his life, Weshon was fascinated by electrical systems, so it was no surprise he decided to pursue a career as an electrician. Unfortunately, while using a trenching machine on a worksite one day, the machine jerked and injured his back. After months of pain, Weshon underwent one back surgery and then another. Neither surgery fixed his pain, which spread from his back to his buttocks and legs.
Because of the demands of being an electrician, Weshon reluctantly left the profession and took a job in banking. Although his new job required less exertion than the old one, gnawing pain still made it impossible to function at times, and he often missed days of work each week.
For six years after his accident, Weshon saw “at least 10 doctors and probably 10 more for consultations.” Despite being treated with injections and some of the strongest pain-killing drugs available, his pain worsened and began controlling his life.
“It affected everything,” he says. “I wasn’t outgoing anymore. I remember taking my family to an amusement park, but I couldn’t even get on the kiddie rides. Just walking around was extremely painful.”
Finally, a doctor suggested that Weshon try neurostimulation, an established therapy that involves using a pacemaker-like device to stimulate spinal nerves to ease pain. Because he had already had several unsuccessful procedures, he was hesitant to have another surgery. His doctor talked to him about the procedure and explained that he could try the therapy during a brief evaluation period before committing to an implanted system. His doctor also reviewed the benefits and risks 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.)
Despite the risks, Weshon decided to try the therapy, “After trying the therapy at home, I felt confident in my decision to have the device implanted.” The stimulation beat his expectations. “It was fabulous. I went home and all the things that used to aggravate my back, like sitting, didn’t hurt anymore. I was able to sleep through the night for the first time in a year. I was amazed.”
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.