New nerve stimulator improves back pain management

For most people suffering from chronic back pain, the only options for relief are therapy, surgery, or medication.

Now, doctors are working on a new device that could help alleviate pain without medication.

Not long ago, Roger Daughtrey was in so much pain he was almost completely disabled.

"I like to do a lot of outdoor, recreation-type things," Daughtrey said. "I pretty much had become a couch potato simply because it hurt too much to go out and do things."

Even the simplest of tasks were too much, so he sought help with pain management physician Dr. Richard Bundschu, who recommended Nevro, a new spinal stimulator device.

Nevro uses electrical charges to manage pain by placing electrodes in the epidural space of the spinal cord.

While spinal cord stimulators aren't new, Nevro works differently.

"This works at a higher frequency, 10,000 hertz, which means 10,000 cycles per minute, and the other brands work maximum about 1,200, so what it does is allow the patient to get pain relief without feeling any tingling, or feeling of electricity going down their extremities," Dr. Bundschu said.

The electrodes are hooked up to a device placed under the skin, roughly the size of a pacemaker battery.

Patients are given different programs which help control the electrical current.

However, the stimulator isn't for everybody.

"This is an option [for] when people have failed surgery, failed injections, failed medications, failed physical therapy," Dr. Bundschu said.

Daughtrey said he's not feeling much pain anymore and he's getting back to living a normal life.

"I told Dr. Bundschu once, it was like an angel had come down and touched my shoulders and healed me because I no longer have the pain that I had before," Daughtrey said.

There are several pain management clinics in Washington state that feature some type of nerve stimulation therapy, including the Nervo. This type of pain relief system can also work in conjunction with other medical therapies.

© 2017 KING-TV


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