Jane Crognale, 82, from Whiting New Jersey began struggling with low back pain in 2010. A combination of an injury and degenerative disease left her with debilitating pain that quickly worsened over the years to the point where she could not walk more than a few feet or drive.
“The pain was off the charts… It started at my waist and went down my side down to the knee. It was unbearable at times if I didn’t take pain medication,” said Jane. “You are alive, but you don’t enjoy it when people have to wait on you.”
Jane’s pain was kept in check with a combination of daily medication and steroid injections that were given several times a year. The injections deposit long-acting, anti-inflammatory medicine into the irritated area.
Last year, Jane was referred by her Orthopedic Surgeon to Dharam Mann, MD at Garden State Medical Center. Dr. Mann is a board certified Pain Management Specialist who specializes in minimally-invasive interventional treatment options. Seeking an alternative to high doses of pain medication and surgery, Dr. Mann offered her a permanent solution to manage her pain that she never thought she would qualify for. He suggested that she might be an appropriate candidate for spinal cord stimulation.
“A spinal cord stimulator is an implantable system that delivers electrical impulses to nerves in the spinal cord,” says Dr. Mann. “These impulses are able to mask pain signals before they reach the brain. The device is proven to provide significant long term pain relief and reduce or eliminate the need for pain medications. As an intervention for chronic back and/or leg pain, spinal cord stimulation can be an effective alternative or adjunct treatment to other therapies that have failed to manage pain on their own.”
“I was surprised to hear about this treatment option, because I had never considered it. And I just had so much confidence in everything they did, so when Dr. Mann recommended it the decision to try it was easy,” says Jane.
A temporary spinal cord stimulator was externally implanted on Mrs. Crognale in Garden State Medical Center’s out-patient surgery center as the first step to confirm a successful response. The results were very encouraging and a permanent device was soon implanted. The procedure itself is minimally-invasive, requiring just a few stitches and no cutting of bone, ligaments or tendons. That means there is no hospital stay, as patients are discharged from the out-patient surgery center within an hour and then require no post-op rehabilitation.
“This has completely changed my life. I sleep now almost all night without pain and was able to cut back on most of my medication,” says Jane. “Nobody else had been able to help me.”