Bonding After Back Surgery

Sitting down to dinner, getting out of bed or tying a shoe: They’re all simple acts that, until recently, David Johnson couldn’t do without grimacing in pain.

“I’d get a little relief from getting up and moving, but it was a struggle,” said Johnson, 46, of Logan. “When my back was hurting, I was not pleasant to be around.”

For 15 years, Johnson tried different medications to relieve his constant back pain but nothing helped. In 1995, his pain worsened when he was involved in a head-on car crash. “Between the pills and the pain, I was getting very depressed,” Johnson said.

Precision Pain Care JohnsonLast fall, Johnson learned from Dr. Ronald Linehan, medical director of Precision Pain Care in Lancaster, that he was a good candidate for an implantable, pain-controlling neurostimulator, which is compatible with MRIs and is used in the treatment of chronic back or limb pain. Johnson agreed to undergo a week-long trial to test out the neurostimulator.

“It was like a night and day difference,” he said. “Once I had the implant done in September, I felt even better than I did during the trial.”

Prior to utilizing the new MRI compatible device, Dr. Linehan was among the first in Central Ohio to implant the Medtronic AdaptiveStim with RestoreSensorstimulator, which uses motion sensor technology to relieve chronic back or leg pain by automatically adapting stimulation levels to the needs of a patient.

“Before this sensor or the adaptive stem capability came out, patients had to constantly change their stimulation depending on their activity and position,” Dr. Linehan said. “With the AdaptiveStim, it learns the settings that the patient puts in manually and after a month or so, you activate the sensor component and it automatically compensates for their positional changes.”

Patients who are typically considered for neurostimulators have either had one or more unsuccessful back surgeries, are not good surgical candidates or are looking for a less aggressive type of treatment. The patient must undergo a one-week trial to determine if the neurostimulator will be effective before they receive the implant, which is done under sedation. As part of the trial, leads are placed in the area of the spine that controls pain signals and then attached to an external, battery-operated stimulator, which allows the patient to control how much stimulation he or she needs.

“The patient then lives with it for a week and tries to do most of what they would normally do so that they can define ‘is this really helping me’?” Dr. Linehan said.

Johnson, a father of six, said he loves how the neurostimulator has allowed him to get back to the active, pain-free lifestyle of hunting and fishing he once loved.

“Before, it was hard to even sit at the dinner table and have a conversation because I had to keep changing position to get comfortable,” he said. “Now I can sit and talk for hours.”

To learn more, contact Precision Pain Care at (740) 689-9500.

Tags: Pain Management, Surgery, Dr. Ronald Linehan,