Spinal cord stimulation relieving patients from chronic pain

Published 12/10 2013 06:54AM

Updated 12/10 2013 07:47AM

BAKERSFIELD,CA-  If you're waking up in pain in the morning, you're not alone. A study from the Institute of Medicine indicates chronic pain affects the lives of more than 100 million Americans.

"There's times where I'll be walking and my legs would give out and I'll fall and then I have bruises all over my legs and I have to sit for days just to get my legs back to their normal way," said Penny Fletchall.

Fletchall is among the one in three Americans who suffer from chronic pain. The pain starts from Fletchall's lower back and shoots down to her left leg.

"I lay in my bed a lot because I'm in pain or because I'm sleeping a lot because of the pain medicine," said Fletchall.

She takes five different prescriptions to ease the pain. She's tried injections and therapy. None of it has worked. Which is what brought her to Dr. Jan Eckermann, a surgeon.

"Precision Spectra which is the latest and greatest version allows us to interrupt these pain signals and dramatically improve patient's pain," said Dr. Eckermann.

Dr. Eckermann is one of the first surgeons to use Precision Spectra in Bakersfield.  It's a spinal cord stimulator that delivers electrical pulses along leads that help to mask pain signals traveling to the brain.

Fletchall went through a trial test with an external device on in October.

"The next morning I woke up, that was the first time I slept all through the night in 12 years and I almost wanted to cry the next morning because it worked so good," said Fletchall.

Dr.Eckermann will make two incisions. One for the electrical paddle that will be placed near Fletchall's spinal cord. The paddle is connected to a motor the size of an Oreo which generates the pulses. It's controlled by an external remote. Fletchall is looking forward to being more active again.

"I would like to ride my bike more. I'd like to just go out an do things with my family. Play more with my grandson and get off of the pain medicine," said Fletchall. 

It's an outpatient procedure, the doctor says it takes about an hour and the results come as soon as the unit is turned on.

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