Battery-Operated Device Gives Hope To Chronic Back-Pain Sufferers

back pain sufferers picnicA relatively new device is helping to soften the blow of chronic back, neck and leg pain in patients of all ages, and folks from all over the Four-State region are coming to Hagerstown to try it out.

Chambersburg native Shirley Byers has suffered from chronic back pain for more than 20 years.

«I had spinal stenosis and a herniated disk, and vertebrae had gone,» she says.

After four unsuccessful surgeries, she says the scar tissue was pinching the nerves in her back so much, when she walked into Dr. John Olenczak’s office at Hagerstown’s Pain & Spine Institute, she could barely walk.

«I was walking with a walker,» she says.

Now, thanks to a device called a neuro-stimulator, getting around isn’t such a pain anymore.

«I’m not completely pain-free, but it’s nothing compared to what I had before,» says Byers.

Neuro stimulator back pain device«I implant a device into the spinal area and map out the area where the patient is having pain and then turn the pain into a nice, pleasant tingling sensation,» says Olenczak.

The stimulator is controlled by a battery and antenna, used by the patient to increase or decrease flow to their pain spot.  The surgery to implant the device is outpatient, and minimally invasive.

Doctors say traditionally neuro-stimulation is viewed as a last-ditch effort to ease pain. But they’re hoping with the help of support groups, like the picnic held at Halfway Park Monday, that patients will be able to get the word out about the procedure, as an alternative to invasive surgery.

Wesley Wilken opted for the device after having seven foot surgeries, and then finding out the pain in his feet was the result of a problem with his back.

«I feel like it was the right thing to do because I didn’t want to have back surgery.  That was the main thing – opening my back up and introducing more pain,» he says.

«This is really a totally reversible device.  If it doesn’t work or there’s an issue, I can withdraw it,» says Olenczak.

Olenczak has implanted neuro-stimulators in more than 60 patients from all over the Mid-Atlantic region over the last two years.

The Pain and Spine Institute, which is run out the Mid-Atlantic Orthopedic Group, is third in the state for number of neuro-stimulators installed, to date.

You can watch short video about this back pain device.



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