PINEHURST – A new treatment now being offered by pain specialists and neurosurgeons at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital takes the management of chronic back and/or leg pain to a more individualized level.
Brian Thwaites, M.D.
Bruce Jaufmann, M.D.
The AdaptiveStim™ with RestoreSensor™ neurostimulation system is the only chronic pain treatment that provides pain relief by automatically adapting stimulation levels to the patient’s individual needs.
“This system uses the motion sensor technology found in smart phones and computer gaming systems to recognize and recall the correlation between a change in body position and the level of stimulation the patient needs,” says Brian Thwaites, M.D., of the FirstHealth Back & Neck Pain Center. “It also records and stores the frequency of posture changes, which helps us understand how the patient’s stimulation requirements change.”
An estimated 115 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. For some, the problem is so severe that it affects the way they live their daily lives, interfering with work as well as with social and physical activity.
Neurostimulation systems include an implantable device that is used with a handheld patient programmer to keep pain signals from reaching the brain. Before the use of the AdaptiveStim with RestoreSensor device, however, patients often complained that even a simple change in body position – such as sitting up or lying down – could cause a change in the intensity of stimulation as the spinal cord moved closer or farther away from the stimulation site.
When this occurred, patients had to use the wireless programmer to adjust their stimulation levels as they moved.
The motion sensor technology of the AdaptiveStim with RestoreSensor device automatically adapts stimulation levels to the specific needs of the patient. The system also recognizes and remembers the correlation between the change in body position and the level of required stimulation.
Patients receiving a neurostimulation device undergo an extensive education process that includes a one-week trial to determine if they are suitable candidates for a permanent implant. At Moore Regional, the trials are conducted by three pain specialists with the FirstHealth Back & Neck Pain Center – James Winkley, M.D.; Paul Kuzma, M.D., and Dr. Thwaites. The surgical implants are done by Bruce Jaufmann, M.D., a neurosurgeon with Carolina Neurosurgical Services.
The implanted devices are placed under the skin of the abdomen, and the coated wire leads are inserted under the skin and into the spinal canal. The procedure is typically done as an outpatient procedure involving a local anesthetic. The patient is usually awake but sedated.
“This system is recognized as an effective treatment for patients whose chronic pain has not responded to other therapies,” says Dr. Jaufmann. “It provides a new option to help manage their pain while allowing them to return to their normal activities.”
Neurostimulation therapy has been available for more than three decades, but the technology, especially in the size of the generator and batteries, has greatly improved throughout the years. The generators are small, about the size of a pacemaker, while batteries are about the size of a silver dollar and last for several years.
For more information on the FirstHealth Back & Neck Pain Center or on the AdaptiveStim™ with RestoreSensor™ neurostimulation system, call (910) 715-1478.