Road of recovery: Overcoming chronic pain

Road of recovery: Overcoming chronic pain

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - For the past four year Hattiesburg Clinic patient Laura Herman couldn't do the simple things. Even picking up her grandchild was a painful struggle.

"It was literally like having a hot knife slice you from your mid-back all the way down your leg and your foot," said Herman.

Another patient, Diana Burriss, is another victim of chronic pain. Burriss couldn't clean her home without taking medicine to subdue the pain every morning.

"My quality of life was nothing," Burriss said.

Both women recall suffering from chronic pain in their backs and down their legs, looking everywhere they could for relief without any help.

"I had three epidurals," Burriss said.

"We had done all the shots; we had tried nerve block; we did physical therapy, and nothing help with the pain," Herman said.

That was before Hattiesburg Clinic Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physicians Dr. Parker Bell and Dr. Barbara Barnard explained the benefits of a stimulation.

"Spinal Cord Stimulation has been around since about 1967. It's a method of helping to control pain," Barnard said.

According to Bell, the key to this therapy is patient selection, and Herman was a great candidate.

"It's based upon pacemaker therapy, as far as the technology is concerned," Bell said. "The spinal leads are actually placed with needles to the spine. Those leads are attached to the generator which is outside of the body."

Barnard said, "There is testing done where the patient is awaken, and we are sure the stimulation is covering the painful area."

The implanted leads sends vibrations to the nerves causing the pain.

According to Barnard, the patient experience "a pleasant tingling paresthesia, which is like smooth tingling sensation" during the process.

During the tests the patient is given a remote to control the stimulation when they are in pain.

The trial lasts for a few days, and if it's successful, the stimulate is placed under the skin, permanently, like a pacemaker, according o Barnard.

"All the pains were gone," Burriss claimed. "It was zero, from one to 10, it was a zero."

After undergoing the trial last year, Herman said she has never felt better.

"When you go from having the intense pain that I was dealing with, to being able to control that pain versus it controlling you and your life, words can't describe that feeling," Herman said.

If you would like to contact the clinic, Dr. Bell or Dr. Barnard call 601-579-5430.