Wondering about amount of movement with SCS

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opnwhl4
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 11/12/2010 4:53 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi all-
I started going to the VA pain clinic this past week and my doctor is recommending a trial of the Medtronics SCS. I have a question for those who have this already. After everything is healed what limitations do you have? Such as bending, twisting, lifting, etc. I coach a travel softball team and need to be able to hit and throw the ball along with show them how to correctly field the ball also. I also bow hunt and want to get back to my original profession as a mechanic and that is why I am wondering about a lifting restriction.
She sent me home with a booklet and a DVD and in the DVD it was mentioned about a 25lb weight restriction and briefly mentioned about not bending or twisting. I realize I should be asking her these questions, but wanted to here from people who have been through this first hand first.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 11/12/2010 5:50 PM (GMT -6)   
My restrictions were lifted after 6 months or so, once the leads were scarred into place.
I have coached girls basketball, even with restrictions. It takes a bit of creativity, but the coaching is probably possible if you can allow yourself enough grace to not throw as hard as you can, not twist all the way & demo the moves in very slow motion. Honestly, the kids really can pick up most skills even if you don't do everything at full speed, force or motion.
The mechanic work will almost certainly move your leads. You really do need to wait on that until the leads are secured. It is soooo easy to tossle the leads & the slightest movement can mean you no longer get relief where you need it.
The bow hunting may be out for the long run. If you turn your SCS on while hunting, it can cause your body or arm or hand to jerk slightly, which I would think would be dangerous. If you can hunt with it off, that's probably fine once the leads are in place. As a funny example, my SCS would auto-jump to a higher level at random times. I was sore & was not able to sit on a hard kitchen chair because the battery pack is in my butt. So I was sitting on the edge of my bed, eating spaghetti -- maybe 3-4 months post-implant. The level jumped & I literally threw my plate of spaghetti and meat sauce across the room, onto my computer keyboard. Needless to say, it was ruined in spite of my best efforts to clean it. I had taken only one bite, so basically the whole plate landed on the desk/keyboard/wall/floor. What a mess! lol I just wanted to cry.
I learned after a few times to turn of my SCS while working with anything sharp, anything remotely resembling a tool (including staplers), or anything hot. And after ruining my keyboard, I turned the SCS off while eating (which sucked b/c I was in so much pain & trying to eat while nauseous from pain is miserable).

That said, I love my SCS. I followed the crazy restrictions pretty carefully (not perfectly & that meant that my leads moved a bit & had to be adjusted) -- including setting up a contraption to allow a friend to help me wash my hair while standing up since I wasn't allowed to reach my arms above shoulder height. It's a little while of inconvenience in exchange for years of decent relief & a good amount of decrease in pain meds -- mine went down by nearly 75% and even with that decrease in meds, the pain level went down by 2 points.

Hope that helps,
frances

fatherjohn
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 999
   Posted 11/12/2010 6:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I have an SCS that was implanted after a failed lower back multi0level fusion. I would have to say that restictions would be more based on the reason that the SCS was imnplanted to start with. After the healing process, I was not given specific weight limits or bending limits. The SCS does not remove the pain or its causes. It simply masks the pain. My damage to my back gives me limits that I have to live with but the SCS does not limit anything by itself. As far as going back to work as a mechanic, again, the SCS does not remove the causes of the pain and you would still have those issues to ddeal with. There are times that I have lifted more than I should and done more that my back can handle and I pay the price but it has noting to do with the SCS. Some people who decide to get an SCS think that they will no longer have to take pain meds but from my experience that is not true. I am on more meds now than before the implant. Each person and the results are different. I run my SCS 24 hours per day every day. Some days I adjust it in the morning and leave it that way until I go to bed when I turn it down. Somne say you should not drive with and SCS on but I don't see any reason for a restriction. When it is first implanted, and before it becomes fixed or set in place, slight movements as well as bending can cause fluctuations of intensity but afterwards that is very minimal. I even ride a motorcycle with the SCS on. Hope this helps and I will be more than happy to answer any other questions.  

skeye
Veteran Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 11/12/2010 7:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Bill,

I have a medtronics stimulator implanted in my chest (with leads in my face), granted this is a little different than your traditional SCS placement, but I figured I'd share my experience anyway, just in case some of it might be helpful. After the permanent implant surgery, my only restrictions were no lifting until my sutures came out.

At my job I lift up to 80 lb dogs on my own & also work with large animals, including cattle & horses. I was a little leery to go back to my normal activities after just a week post-op (although both my surgeon & my medtronic rep said I could as long as I was careful) & basically took it easy for a month, but I had no trouble returning to my full activity level.

Prior to my implantation, I was really worried that the battery/system wouldn't hold up to me being kicked or thrown around by cattle, etc. My medtronics rep basically told me that my bones would break long before the battery would & that I should not have to worry. So far he's been correct.

I've had my unit for 4 months now & I'd never know I had a battery in my chest, if I didn't have to recharge it every few days. Just as an example, a couple weeks ago I helped deliver a calf. That basically involved me hauling on a pair of chains tied to the calf's front feet and head. I had to throw all my weight into trying to get this calf out & my battery gave me no problems whatsoever.

Like Fatherjohn I run my unit 24 hrs a day, every day. My stimulator has been the best thing that's happened to me since my pain started 4 yrs ago. I feel so fortunate to have found such a great surgeon & rep who were willing to think outside the box & stand up for my case.

Best of luck with your trial! Let us know how it goes!

hugs,
Skeye
chronic retrobulbar eye pain, Asperger's syndrome, probable bipolar II, severe depression, & anxiety

recently implanted with a neurostimulator with leads on the supraobrital & infraorbital (ophthalmic) branches of the trigeminal nerve, resulting in a 50% decrease in pain (yippee!)

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 11/12/2010 9:00 PM (GMT -6)   
To add to what John wrote, the driving -- after the leads are in place -- issue is really strictly a legal one. Plenty of people do drive with their SCS on. I would strongly recommend against that for the first 6 months, unless you are getting paddles rather than leads. The leads do jump, sometimes severely & being distracted, even for 2-3 seconds can sometimes mean the difference between avoiding an accident or failing to avoid one.
But if you should end up in an auto accident & have your SCS on, it can add to your liability. The insurance companies have not done much research on this issue & there have been only a few cases where someone with an SCS was involved in an accident. So at this point, the lawyers are arguing that since the manufacturer's pamphlet advises against driving with it turned on, it is considered negligence if you had it on at the time. Therefore, if you want to risk it & trust that if you end up in an accident that your attorney will be able to successfully argue that the SCS in no way contributed either directly or indirectly to the accident, there probably isn't any reason you can't have it on once the leads are firmly in place.
I just struggle with it b/c I used to work for an insurance company in their legal division & realize that it can be more difficult to defend an insured who was in an accident while using their SCS. That's not to say the jury will actually hold it against you, just that it is a risk some of us choose to avoid.

I don't understand why the driving restriction is in the booklet and I do break all kinds of other "rules" that they include. I saw an osteopath to get my leads manually relocated when they migrated south due to me not following some of the early restrictions. I saw him again to get my battery pack to try & move b/c it was causing me pain. I grab the #$%^ thing & pull it up off of the nerve in my low back at times b/c it presses against a nerve and causes me way too much pain. So I'm by no means a rule-follower. I just worry more than most about accidents & how a case would play out.

opnwhl4
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 4961
   Posted 11/13/2010 7:42 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the great replies. I knew I would get great information here. Mine is for nerve pain in my right ribs. Being right handed I irritate it all the time while doing mechanic work and right now am currently doing as my doctors have recommended and not working. My biggest concerns are that I would have issues with swinging a bat, throwing fly balls, and pitching to the girls.
Thanks again for the great replies.

Take care,
Bill
opnwhl4
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
Nissen 6/06 and 5/09
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