Sunday, September 12, 2010

Implantable Neurostimulator - "To Have or Not to Have"

Well my friends, though I am 60, my neck is 80. It seems in addition to severe arthritis, my discs have severely degenerated at all levels and it is "inoperable.”An implantable neurostimulator has been suggested by two doctors I respect. If you know anyone who has tried this, I would sure like to hear about it.

My history with neck problems.

My issues started after working in the ICU. A post anesthesia encephalopathy patient was on a tall air bed. He literally lifted me into the bed with him by my hair and tossed me about like a rag doll. It took several doctors and nurses to release his grasp. That was the beginning, only escalated by other accidents where I was expected to lift and assist patients that were too large for one person of any size. I have also had torn rotator cuffs of each shoulder and one complete reconstruction as a result of emergency nursing care. Anatomically, some of the muscles that support the shoulders also support the neck (cervical spine).

I have total respect for bedside nurses that care for us, they literally confront battle grounds every day. I have walked in their shoes.

Physical trauma can be a trigger to the onset of FM (discussed in the book), and I speak of this first hand.

Preventative Measures and Alternative Interventions.

I sleep with either a cervical collar or an ice pack. Because of the FM and chronic myofascial trigger points, I pay particular attention to stress on the muscles of the neck. Posture of course is a great aggravator and even with the best of intentions ones head starts to drift forward when in a stationary position. This adds greatly to the pain for those of us with these two co-existing conditions.

Thanks to a good friend here on FB, who brought up the importance of proper neck alignment and her use of a cervical pillow, I saw this as an important teaching opportunity. You obviously have cervical degeneration and stenosis or you wouldn’t be reading this discussion. Positioning is important. Of course, as we sleep, if we get it, which is rare for most of us, we are not in control of how our neck is positioned. Even if we do sleep, it is non-restorative, and we miss out on the healing phase. We definitely need help. If you have found a particular device that helps, please share. I think we are all up for hearing about it. We also know this won’t cure our degeneration, but anything that might retard further degeneration and help curb some of the pain is like a bright star.

I currently use a TENs unit, which helps divert the pain some.

I have tried the many FDA approved (and off label) medications for neuropathic pain and could not tolerate the side effects. I am fogged enough without being a zombie. Pain or not, I want to be present in my own life. I understand that it works for some, but many FMers have sensitivity to these meds. The goal of any medication or treatment is to improve function.

I am desperately trying to find a myofascial therapist, one that has been trained in Travell and Simons, here in the East KC area, but to no avail. I have had some help with active release therapy from a chiropractor and a physical therapist, but the effects are short lived. (See other discussions on myofascial trigger points).

So much has not been researched to my scientifically minded satisfaction, and I find anecdotal accounts of the utmost importance. Prolotherapy has also been mentioned. If anyone here has had it, or knows someone who has had it, I am all ears.

Harmony and Hope.

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