Implantable neurostimulator for chronic pain

Posted by zjandre @zjandre, Apr 13, 2016

Has anybody had an implantable neurostimulator for chronic pain?

I had great success with the trial but the perm implant has been a disaster. My wish was to have a better life after 30 years of severe nerve damage and four lumbar surgeries but it was the biggest mistake of my life. After reviewing the FDA site and other comments I recommend staying away from it. There are just to many problems and horror stories from placement surgery to problems years later. No matter how bad it is today we have to ask ourselves COULD IT BE WORSE? Chances are the answer is yes. Sorry for sounding bitter. I also have PTSD because I felt the doctor cut me open to remove the device. I can’t get past it.

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I pretty much had the same story. It is just a stronger TENS unit, and it could not fool my brain into saying this vibration is covering my pain. After over a year had to have it removed – no fun, bec that made my 5th surgery in those areas. If your pain is strong there is no way it can help, but since I had bad effects to some 40 odd pain meds , and therefore cannot take any meds for my 7 to 9 pain it was hard not to try something.

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@goldielocks

I recently had a spinal neurostimulator implant that went wrong. One of the lead wires flipped to the posterior side of the spinal cord. The plan was to leave it in and just not turn use that lead. However it was turned on. I now have involuntary muscle movement in my leg muscles 24-7 with an incredible amount of pain. I know the nerves were overstimulated causing muscle issues. I had the neurostimulator removed with hopes it would resolve the problem but it did not. I think I was the first patient the doctor used this new device on and he did not have a clue what to do. I have been exposed to a large amount of electricity since the lead was used for over a week. I don’t know who to turn to for help. I am suffering, can’t go to work, can’t get help and will lose insurance soon if I can’t go back to work. Can someone help me please?

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Hi @goldielocks, and welcome to Connect. I moved you initial post into this thread about neurostimulators. I’m hoping that you’ll be able to talk with the members here, who are also going through a similar experience. @ladyjane85, @zjandre and @pamperthyself – thanks for welcoming @goldielocks into this discussion.

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@goldielocks

I recently had a spinal neurostimulator implant that went wrong. One of the lead wires flipped to the posterior side of the spinal cord. The plan was to leave it in and just not turn use that lead. However it was turned on. I now have involuntary muscle movement in my leg muscles 24-7 with an incredible amount of pain. I know the nerves were overstimulated causing muscle issues. I had the neurostimulator removed with hopes it would resolve the problem but it did not. I think I was the first patient the doctor used this new device on and he did not have a clue what to do. I have been exposed to a large amount of electricity since the lead was used for over a week. I don’t know who to turn to for help. I am suffering, can’t go to work, can’t get help and will lose insurance soon if I can’t go back to work. Can someone help me please?

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I think this shows the problems with the stimulators. Of course, I do
not have the pain of a broken lead, but they never understood why I
felt the stimulation even after it was shut off, and to this day after
surgery for removal at least 7 months ago, it will still vibrate in my
body at times. They “never heard of this”. Your situation is terrible
and you have to find a dr. who can deal with this – and I hope you can
sue the manufacturer/and or dr. Wish some drs also read these
articles and can direct you where to go from here. To those of you out
there stimulators are supposed to tell your brain to concentrate on
the vibration instead of the pain. Huh – with high pain level it
cannot. Goldielocks, I do hope some dr can direct you to the right
place for your horrific situation. Why can’t the manufacturer own up
and find the relief…..My loving wishes that you are free of this
soon.

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Hi everyone,

The discussion around chronic pain in this thread and other threads has grown to such a point that we, the community moderators, thought that it was time to open a new group dedicated to this topic.

Welcome to the new Chronic Pain group. Feel free to browse the topics or start a new one here https://connect.mayoclinic.org/group/pain/.

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I’ve had the Spinal Cord Stimulator for pain of Variant Angina
It has taken care of the pain however it does not cover the pain of a heart attack or a bad spasm. Took a little while to
Get used to it but now it’s part of my life and totally worth it.

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@lisab62 I had a spinal cord neurostimulator also put in, due to chronic severe pain, even after 4 surgeries
and every needle procedure there was. None worked, and 40 odd meds had to be discontinued – my body could not take them. I psyched myself up that the stimulator would work. It did not and I needed another surgery to remove it. It is only supposed to mask the pain anyway by tricking your brain. Sad to say it did not work. Some people get 50% pain relief, they say. Hope others answer with their experience. @ladyjane85

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@zjandre

Like everything and every procedure there are good and bad results. I had over 80% relief with the temporary one. I had an excellent neurosurgeon do my surgery for my stimulator and amazing follow up with St. Jude. I can not praise my St Jude rep enough. She meets me any time I need her to and will answer any question that I have or research it and get back to be with an answer. Like every other thing I have done for pain relief I went into it with an open mind and asked a million questions. I had a great team for support. My Pain Mgmt Dr, my neurosurgeon’s staff and the St Jude rep. all answered questions and helped the best to make my experience very plesent.

I LOVE MY STIMULATOR!! I sometimes turn it low when the pain is not as bad and I use a couple programs that are my favorites. When my pain is bad I turn it higher and if it doesn’t feel as though it’s working I change the program to get a different massage feeling. I have L-1 to S-1 pain and when it was implanted it was to help the area of L-1 to L-5. Since my back is continuing to bulge and the discs are getting worse around the area it seems to not work as well as I need it to some days. This is not the fault of the stimulator at all. It’s just my discs continue to fall apart in my back. I can’t expect something to do more than what it is capable of or in an area that it was not meant to work. But I love it. I also have sciatic pain and it helps immensely in that area. I can turn up the side that radiates pain and have it work stronger on that side. This helps so much.
A lot of people say they feel like it’s lightening shooting out of their legs or they feel really bad vibrations from it. I have never had any of that unless I turn it up way too high for what I need. I even have the older model.
I love the ability to have several programs or massages types added. So if one seems like it doesn’t work or feels like it is working less, I just try another program. I have a great relationship with the rep and see her about once a year. She adjusts it and the area I need more help with and adds whatever programs I want added to it. We have sat several times in the office and just gone through the programs. She adds them to my device and turns them on, it I like the way it feels I keep it. If not she deletes that one and we try another one. It is a long process but it feels good to try the different options. She will load my device with several of them and I can change them whenever I want to by just calling her and meeting up with her.
I have had it for about 5 years now and I believe it has kept the pain in a reasonable, manageable position for me.
The drawback to it is that once implanted it only works for those specific discs that it was implanted for. So if my neck hurts like it does this morning it will do nothing for me. I will eventually need another one implanted for my neck my Dr thinks.
I also find that turning it up makes me feel energetic and “stimulated” and helps me get motivated to get moving and get stuff done. Sometimes I feel the sensation on my legs makes me cold in the summertime air conditioning so I have to adjust it several times in the summer days.
All in all I Love My Stimulator!! If you have any questions feel free to reply to the post and I will try to give you personal experience type answers if I can.
Thank you for posting and I hope you find some relief. ❤️

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Would like to hear from patients that have had a Nevro Stimulator implanted

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@marieh

Would like to hear from patients that have had a Nevro Stimulator implanted

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Hi @marieh. I’m moving your post over to this thread in the Chronic Pain group: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/has-anybody-had-an-implantable-neurostimulator-for-chronic-pain/.

There you’ll find @ladyjane85, @pamperthyself, @lisab62 and @bekie posting about their experience with neuro stimulators.

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@marieh

Would like to hear from patients that have had a Nevro Stimulator implanted

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Hi @marieh – I had a neurostimulator for my chronic high level back pain even after 3 surgeries in lumbar with rod and screw fusions.
One is told there can be up to 50% relief. No such luck – even with reprogramming several times, it would rumble away for many hours even after shut down, I hated to have that 5th surgery but all was removed. See what others say bec some have newer models . Mine was put in in 2013 and removed 15 months later. It did nothing for me, but my pain level hits 8, 9 and 10!! @ladyjane85

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@marieh

Would like to hear from patients that have had a Nevro Stimulator implanted

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Was it the Nevro Stimulator? I understand a couple other companies manufacture them, including Medtronics. The Nevro one is the one the Dr recommended. Thanks for any info you have on the Nevro. Good luck to you.

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