Shocking Pain Relief
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a complex name for an easy-to-understand problem: severe pain that will not go away. Treatments for the disorder range from acupuncture to medicine to surgery. We’ll tell you about another option that’s “electrifying.”
Five years ago, Cindy suffered a painful burn on her right ankle. The burn healed, but the pain stuck around. “The pain never got better. As a matter of fact, it got worse, and it moved into other areas, down into my toes and up into the calf of my leg,” says Cindy.
Dr. diagnosed a chronic pain condition called reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Then he prescribed a spinal cord stimulator. There was a 50/50 chance it would work, which was good enough for Cindy and her husband, Ron. She had already tried physical therapy, narcotics and steroid injections with no success.
Last winter, part of the stimulator was surgically-implanted in her back. It sends an electrical signal through her spinal cord that confuses her brain.
Dr. Meloy, M.D., is a pain specialist. “We’re not getting rid of the pain; it’s still there. What we’re trying to do is change what you perceive”.
Now, instead of pain, Cindy feels something different. “I don’t know how to describe it. It’s a ZZZZZ type feeling. I just call it a tingling,” she says. She controls the tingling with a programmer, which goes with her where ever she goes.
Spinal cord stimulators can also help those with nerve damage, spinal cord damage, phantom limb pain and blood vessel disease.