HF10® spinal cord stimulation offers a path back to the people they used to be.
Beth George can remember the day her life changed vividly. “My chronic pain started with an uninsured motorist, driving in a turn-only lane, taking the front end of my car off and tearing a disc in my back,” she says. “That was in 2002, right after my 32nd birthday.”
That began a dark journey into chronic pain. “The life of somebody who lives with chronic pain is just taking it from one thing to the next,” she says. “My journey included pain medication, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture. I had an inversion table set up in my bedroom. I did physical therapy, water therapy, occupational therapy. I had radiofrequency ablation done where they burn off the nerve endings to give you some relief. I had countless injections. I had a spinal fusion.”
But the pain persisted. “Come 2015, my leg pain came back, my back pain was out of control. I remember the doctor coming into the room, and I just burst out crying. I was not even 45 and looking at him and saying, ‛Is this the rest of my life? Where do I go from here?’ Do I go on permanent disability and live the rest of my life on pain medications? That was a very low point for me.”
That was when Beth learned about a new treatment for chronic pain that offered some hope: An advanced form of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) called HF10® from the medical device company Nevro®.
Altering pain signals
“Spinal cord stimulators deliver mild electrical pulses to the nerves in the spinal cord, which alters the transmission of the pain signals to the brain, thus relieving pain.” explains Ashwini Sharan, M.D., professor and program director of neurosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University. “A small device is implanted under the skin, which is connected to thin flexible wires that deliver the stimulation to the spinal cord. The system is then customized for each patient to optimize pain relief. This process often results in significant pain relief and improved quality of life for many patients.”
HF10 improves on existing SCS technology. “Before HF10,” Sharan says, “we would generally teach patients that SCS is mostly good for leg pain. However, with HF10, chronic back pain and chronic leg pain are both responsive. In addition, patients don’t feel the buzzing or tingling called ‘paresthesia’ experienced with traditional SCS devices.”
Dr. Sharan has performed over 150 HF10 implants since the FDA approved the treatment in 2015, and describes the results as ‛remarkable’. “We have so many patients who had not achieved good results with their revision spinal surgeries, but after HF10, they can exercise and increase their activity again. Additionally, we have many patients who are not on medications anymore.”
For Beth George, HF10 has been “transformative.” “I had become ‛Beth with the Bad Back.’ That’s how everybody knew me. I was out of options.” Today, everything is different. “There is nothing that I want to do that I can’t do. I can walk without pain. I can sit without pain — I can actually sit through a movie.”
Unlike pain medications or other therapies, HF10 provides long-term relief. “I’m over two-and-a-half years out now, and I have 95 percent drug-free pain relief — so far beyond what I thought was possible,” Beth says, noting that this isn’t a ‛one-size-fits-all’ therapy. “It can be customized for each individual — they’re all about the patient experience. I still consider myself blessed every day.”
When asked for her advice to others dealing with chronic pain, Beth is passionate. “Don’t give up. Don’t assume that pills are your answer — they’re not. There are options.”
You can learn more about SCS and HF10 by visiting, www.hf10.com/relief.
HF10® spinal cord stimulation system is available by prescription only. Patient experiences vary, including the amount of pain relief and adverse effects associated with the device. Please consult your doctor to fully understand benefits and risks of HF10. HF10 is an aid in the management of chronic intractable pain of the trunk and/or limbs. HF10 should not be used in patients not fit for surgery. Precautions or warnings exist for those who are or may become pregnant, who have undergoing diathermy or with other active implanted devices, or those undergoing CT scans, ultrasound or other procedures. HF10 is implanted surgically, so surgical complications such as infection, pain, bleeding and in extremely rare cases paralysis or death are possible. Please see https://www.hf10.com/resources/safety-information for complete information. Dr. Sharan is a paid consultant of Nevro. HF10 claims are supported by the Senza Summary of Safety and Effectiveness Data (SSED). Published May 8th, 2015.
Jeffrey Somers, [email protected]