When I got back to my home,
at first it was okay. Suddenly, when I was home, it started: the
phantom pain. It was a very bad experience. The pain was so bad. I feel
swelling, I feel numbness, too. When it’s getting cold,
my leg, the one that I
don’t have, it gets cold. That kind of cold, you can’t handle it. So what ended up happening for Raul was that he was kind of failing in all different conventional blocks, like things we would do for putting in, injections every three months with steroid and local anesthetic and he also failed a lot of the medical management.
So at that point really that comes to the idea of using stimulation therapy. So when patients try to figure out which
stimulation therapy to use, the question comes should we put the actual leads in
the spinal cord or should we put it in the dorsal root? The dorsal root ganglion
is a offshoot of your spinal cord that correlates to a very specific nerve
that’s coming from your spinal cord to a specific extremity or a portion of
your back. For dorsal root ganglion stimulation, the basic idea is if I see a
patient that has, let’s say leg pain, there are certain roots in the spinal
cord that send electrical signals to the leg and the leg sends back electrical
signals to the brain saying that it’s in pain. The therapy basically consists of
two components: One is the battery and one is the lead. The lead actually
gets input in the dorsal root and the battery sends energy to the lead so that
the current can be put into the root itself. And that can be controlled
wirelessly with an external iPad that modulates this current to make sure that
there’s adequate amount of pain control. I feel that it really worked for me. No more
phantom pain, no more sciatic nerve pain, no more using pills for those seven
days. So I’m hoping that soon I have the permanent DRG implanted in me. He actually came back with almost 90 percent reported pain relief, which is very
difficult to do. 90 percent is outstanding, but I think more important than just him
saying he had better pain improvement is the functional improvement he got in
that trial period, which is really important for us to consider
implantation. So getting around in his house, doing dishes, being able to have a
more meaningful relationship with his spouse. [Pain] affects, it ripples through, all of your social interactions, your personal life, but I think what patients
need to understand is, I think we’re at a point where the science is growing fast
enough and technology is merging with that science to provide really good
solutions. There is hope. We can’t really say we can cure pain, there’s never
really truly a cure, but neuromodulation pretty close to this idea of solid pain
control over a long period of time that has worked and shown considerable
evidence, I think.