Health Watch

Zapping chronic pain

Thursday, March 22, 2012

116 million Americans are living with chronic pain. A pain so intense it affects their work, their relationships, every aspect of their lives. In fact, there are more people living with chronic pain in this country than are affected by heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined. Now, doctors are using the same technology used in our smart phones to target and zap their pain.

From working 18 hours a day on Wall Street, to barely being able to make it into the subway.

It's been a long painful road for Justin Carriere.

"It was an incredible, sharp shooting pain," said Justin.

It started ten years ago when he slammed his snowmobile into a creek bed.

"It sent a shockwave up my back," Justin said. "I couldn't sit at all. I had to always stand up."

Pieces of Justin's disc were pressing against his sciatic nerve. Surgery only temporarily eased his pain. He also tried prescription pain killers.

"I had no energy. I just didn't feel like I was engaged. My ambition and drive at work greatlysuffered," Justin said.

Now Justin's one of the first to try a new FDA approved neurostimulator to zap his pain.

"It eliminates process of the pain at the brain center," Suelanne Doouro, M.D., a pain management specialist at Beth Israel Medical Center, said.

Neurostimulators use electrodes controlled by a battery pack to send stimulation to the spinal cord, literally stopping pain signals from reaching the brain. They've been around since the 80's, but now a new stimulator is using the same technology in iPhones to better control the signals.

"New technology is so advanced, so we can call it a smart stimulator," Dr. Doouro said.

These "smart" stimulators can read a person's body movement and adjust the amount and location of electricity being sent when a person moves. Justin just got his smart stimulator.

"It took a long time to come to terms with having a mental implant in your body," Justin said.

But he can already feel the difference.

"It's a very intense tingling feeling," Justin said. "It really hit the pain."

Now he's on the move again, ready to get back to business. The FDA just approved the adaptive stim neurostimulator a few months ago. In the latest study, 86 % of people who tried it, found relief from their pain.

For More Information, Contact:
Jeff Jacomowitz
(212) 523-6069
jjacomo@chnet.org

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