I just posted this reply to another HW member trialing a stimulator. The I notice we have several members considering stimulators that might benefit from my expience with both. Here was my reply to someone now trialing the Simulator....
I have a Boston Scientic Stinulator that was implated in 2007 at the Cleveland Clinic. I did have what I consideredto be a 50% reduction in my pain level, but would now classify is merely a change in sensations - if that makes sense to you. At the time of my trial I was so relieved to have a change in my pain level, that amything was welcomed. The simulator is not able to directly impact the cause of your pain, like medication does, it merely adds a secomdary sensation of top of the original pain sensation,. This secondary stimulation of or "electrical tingling", is strong enough to blur the under lying pain. What you end up with is your original pain plus this "electrical tingling" sensation on top of it. The goal or hope is that this "electrical timgling" sensation offers a semi-tollerable diversation from your original pain impulses. At the time of my trial, I was so relieved that my "normal", previously untreatable pain, except with high doses of very strong narcotics, would be blurred or altered into a more torableble sensation. I do not want to damper your success, but give you another persons experience with the simulator. At first I was happy with this new sensation, it was a drmatic change from my long standing original pain. Unfortunatley, over time it got to be almost a sensory overload for me. I now a period of time I now realized I still had my same underlying pain plus this new "electric tingling" sensation on top of it trying to blur it out. about
one year after I had the permanent stimulaor implanted, I got to the point were my original level 8 or 9 pain was still there - plus this new sensation which I had more control over. I got to the point where I could no longer tolerate all these sensation (sensory overload) and continued to seek better control of my underlying pain. Not just altering it. I began a trial of the pain pump. I did not realize at the time my stimulaor was impanted, that pain doctors were able to use wide variety of different medications in the pain pump, that are not available in oral form. With the pump, I now had access to a number of highly effective pain medications (anesthetics) than I did when I was taking the basic oral narcotics. Also the side effects of the narcotics were basically eliminated, and doses in the pump are about
1/100 th the strength that oral doses are. Because the medication does not need to be processed through the liver or cross the blood brain barrier to access the direct pain area, you get immediatel relief with minute doses. Plus, because you receive constant tiny amounts, your pain rarely ramps up to the level where you need break through oral relief. I ended up having the permanent pain pump implanted and it turned out to be provide me with ultimate relief in pain control. For over two years now I have been able to eliminatemost of my underlying pain with all the new anesthesias now available for my pump that were not available to me in oral form. My pain has been majorly eliminated and not just blurred. The quality of my life has been totally improved by over 400%. My only advice to you is to also trial the pain pump before you make a decision to have the stimulator permanently implanted. I now very rarelyy used my stimulator. I'll go months upon months and then the electrical charge in the stimulator is completely drained. I find I need to recharge my stimulator for about
4 hours before I can start use it again. With the knowledge I have now on both devices, almost 3 years,, is that I am really sold on the pump for the best possible pain relief. I get such good relief from the pump that I can going long periods of time where I do not need any break through oral medications for pain relief. The ultimate question is whether I would have implated in the simulator, knowing the I would get such dramatic pain relief from the pump. The answer is no. In retrospect, I wish I had trialed BOTH
the stimuatlor and the pump before making a peranent decision. After the trial of both, THEN
decide which did the best job and have it impanted. Hands down the pump gave me pain relief instead to a secondary sensation. Pain relief is everyones ultimate goal. Being pain free is pure nirvana. The pump was the only thing that ever gave me periods of being totally pain free. The pump changed my life, the stimulator just made it more tolerable.
I am sorry this posting is so long. My goal was to give you a secondary view point of the benefits and limitations to both the pump and stimulator. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any specific questions that I might be able to help you with.
Good luck in finding the tool that best meets your pain relief goals....
Stella Marie Chronic Pain Forum Moderator
Progressive neurodegenerative disease called Multiple System Atrophy, congestive heart failure, muscle spasms, muscle pain, neuropathy, & neuropathic pain, central sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and 2 pain implants – intrathecal pain medication pump and an SCS (spinal cord stimulator).