Chronic pain is a largely under-treated and misunderstood disease that affects more than 1.5 billion people worldwide according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine. Sarasota Orthopedic Associates offer an alternative solution that has proven to be quite successful for many of its patients: spinal cord stimulation (SCS) which was approved by the FDA in 1998. In a 2009 study published in the Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing, researchers noted that SCS is “effective in reducing intensity, duration and frequency of pain experienced by the patient.”
SCS is for those who have endured chronic pain in the neck, back, arms or legs, neuropathic pain (burning, tingling or numbing sensations), or inadequate surgeries. Think of it as analgesia “on demand,” though the patient must go through a broad prescreen before the trial can be done.
HOW IT WORKS
The SCS system consists of a pulse generator with remote controls, implanted to stimulate electrodes and conducting wires, known as “leads”, connecting the electrodes to the generator, similar to a pacemaker. To qualify for permanent implantation, a patient must undergo a trial period of about a week. During this time, a temporary stimulator device is implanted by the physician after a local anesthetic or sedative is administered. The physician places the leads under the skin, guided by an X-Ray machine and a radiology technician. The leads are then attached to a small, hand-held generator that the patient controls. The generator sends electrical pulses to the spinal cord, thus interfering with the nerve impulses that cause the pain sensation.
The system replaces pain with a feeling of massaging – or merely just the absence of pain. It may allow for reduced pain medication and help the patient improve mobility. Often times patients experience relief immediately, though the leads may occasionally need to be adjusted for optimum performance.
The spinal cord stimulation devices at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates are supplied by St. Jude Medical, whose motto is “Power over pain.” The company has a longstanding relationship with physicians and are able to directly answer patients’ questions or help them out with maintenance of the device. Says Dave Moss of St. Jude Medical, “We provide the stimulation device and become the first line when dealing with it. We have an excellent relationship with Sarasota Orthopedic Associates and Dr. Nomen Azeem and, we are very ingrained in the practice while working efficiently with their staff.”
“As an interventional pain physician, I witness the debilitating effects of chronic pain physically, mentally, and psycho-socially which impact individuals’ quality of life” said Dr Nomen Azeem. “All pain physicians worry of the long term systemic effects of pain medications. Fortunately, the technological advances being made in the field of neuro-modulation are astounding and have revolutionized how we think about treating neuropathic pain.” Dr. Azeem, Interventional Pain and Sports Medicine Specialist at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates, has seen a vast increase in quality of life for many of his patients, without having to resort to invasive surgery or increased medication.
Dr. Azeem is double board-certified in Interventional Pain Management and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and an expert in minimally invasive procedures for treating chronic back pain (with or without leg pain), chronic neck pain (with or without arm pain), pain that persists after back or neck surgery, peripheral neuropathy, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Occipital Neuralgia, and Post-Herpetic Neuralgia. Click HERE to learn more about Dr Azeem or HERE to learn more about Sarasota Orthopedic Associates.