Breaking free from back pain: New system reduces pain without buzzing, tingling
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A woman from Fairfield says a new device to beat back pain has given her back a life she has not had in decades.
Local doctors were among the first in the country to start using it in clinical trials. They say it's exceeded expectations.
It is estimated that eight out of ten people will experience back pain at some point in their lives and a new device tested at Mayfield Brain and Spine is giving new hope to those who say they've tried everything to beat back pain without success.
It does that without traditional side effects of that kind of therapy: A jolting or buzzing in the back.
For one local woman, it's literally changed the way she sees the world.
It was after a serious car accident years ago that the back pain first began for Anisa Longe.
“I call it my darkest days,” said Longe .
For more than two decades then, she had a number of procedures
“I've already had surgeries, I have a fusion in my back,” said Longe.
When her doctor finally told her he could not increase her steroid use this past year as more pain set in, Longe turned to Dr. Marc Orlando, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist.
“It’s a higher frequency of stimulation that we believe acts in a different manner than the traditional tonic stimulation,” said Dr. Orlando.
Dr. Orlando's team was one of the first in the country to test a next level spinal cord stimulation therapy.
It's referred to as the NEVRO and it delivers what's known as HF-10 therapy.
Here's how it works:
With chronic pain, abnormal pain signals are sent from the spinal cord to the brain. HF-10 therapy calms the nerves to provide lasting pain relief.
In a simple procedure, thin, insulated wires are placed in the back near the spinal cord and connected to a compact battery-powered pulse generator which is implanted just under the skin.
HF-10 therapy sends mild electrical pulses to the spinal cord to calm the nerves, returning them to a more normal state. The procedure is quick, minimally invasive and may not require a hospital stay.
Longe was fortunate enough to participate in the initial trial for the device with Dr. Orlando's team.
“When the trial was over I didn’t want to give it back to him,” said Longe.
It has now been approved for general use and Longe now has the device permanently implanted.
Since then, Dr. Orlando’s team has tracked a number of patients, all he says sharing similar results. In this age when many are trying to decrease pain medication, they are tracking results that are pretty amazing with that too.
“We have a lot of folks that are scared and worried about being on narcotics long term,” said Dr. Orlando.
Longe is off all prescription pain medicine and back to life.
“It’s like waking up and, instead of your world being black and white, it's like being color, in HD, in 4K,” said Longe.
Not only is Longe now able to hold her first grand-daughter, "having the surgery meant I got to hold her, I got to pick her up, I got to walk around with her, in my old life I wouldn't have been able to do that,” said Longe.
In most cases, the device is covered by medical insurance plans.