This story recounts the experience of a patient who is receiving Medtronic neurostimulation therapy (also known as spinal cord stimulation) for the treatment of chronic pain. Medtronic invited him/her to share his/her story candidly. Please bear in mind that the experiences are specific to this particular person.
While cheerleading in 2000, Jaclyn landed awkwardly and broke her ankle. The ankle healed, but chronic pain in the ankle and lower leg remained. It limited her ability to walk, interact with others, and sleep.
Jaclyn's primary care physician tried a variety of treatments for the pain. Unfortunately, oral medications did not significantly reduce the pain and made her nauseated. Physical therapy provided only temporary relief.
"The pain escalated to an unbearable level," says Jaclyn. "My leg swelled, ached, and felt like it was on fire. Both my ankle and leg were sensitive to touch. Water, heat, cold—even a breeze—caused pain."
After a year with pain, Jaclyn's primary care physician referred her to a pain management physician. She was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
"During the screening test, I felt a comforting and soothing tingling sensation in place of the pain," Jaclyn recalls. "This confirmed for my doctor that I was a candidate for the therapy." And in November 2002, Jaclyn decided to go ahead with Medtronic neurostimulation therapy.
While Jaclyn did not have any complications, there are risks associated with the procedure. The most frequently reported problems following the neurostimulator implant surgery include infection, lead movement, pain at the implant site, loss of therapy effect, and therapy that did not meet the patient's expectations. For a complete list of adverse events that have been associated with the therapy, please refer to the Important Safety Information.
When Jaclyn first saw the pain management physician, she was losing weight, wasn't eating, and had problems sleeping. Looking back, Jaclyn wonders if she could have avoided those complications had she tried the neurostimulation therapy sooner.
Today, Jaclyn's back to living a full life. Since receiving neurostimulation therapy, she reports that the therapy relieves 90% of her pain.
"Currently, I'm in my junior year of college and I'm studying to be a nurse," she says. "I am able to sleep, hike, bike, and walk my dog. I couldn't live a normal life without my neurostimulation system."