Spine Stimulator for Pain

this is a big day for Julie Williams

pain medicine specialist dr. David mock

is implanting a device into her spine

the goal is to reduce chronic

debilitating pain I'd had a back surgery

when I was 25 for a disc and I had pain

down my left leg at that time the pain

went away until about a year ago it was

down my left leg into my left foot and

it was gosh sometimes nine out of ten

burning mainly a burning pain

Julie's pain got so bad it interfered

with work as a physician's assistant

medication only masked it the pain was

wrecking her quality of life so this is

what a device might look like dr. mark

says the spine stimulator emits

electrical impulses think of it as a

pacemaker for the spine is probably the

simplest way they can look at that

during the procedure he and his team

first place a temporary device at the

level of the spinal cord where the

nerves are that generate the pain it

gives off small electrical signals that

mute what patients feel instead of pain

they feel a pleasant buzzing sensation

in the affected area to make sure it's

in the right place the surgical team

briefly wakes up the patient they woke

me up and I could feel that it was

affecting the area that was painful and

so then I you know they sewed up the

incisions and took me to the recovery

room if they get good relief and that

typically means 50 to 80 percent

improvement then we can come back at a

later date and put this in permanently

can I talk to you about a patient sure

Julie has had her permanent device

implanted for some time now and she says

she feels great and honestly it's so

weird because I I forget about it I

forgot how bad the pain is and then all

of a sudden I'll remember I'm like oh my

gosh this is amazing so I'm not just

saying this for the camera it's the

truth Julie still feels pain sometimes

in her hip or leg but it is much much

less than what she experienced before

and if it bothers her she can turn up

the amount of stimulation which

decreases the pain I'd say

80 and 90% of the pain is gone now she's

back at work and back at life for the

Mayo Clinic News Network I'm Vivien