DMC specialists collaborate to treat severe/chronic pain in patient's back, legs and more.
Moving Beyond Pain: Specialized Pain Management
Ten years ago, Bernadette Brandon was injured in a motorcycle accident that left her with chronic back pain which has increased over the years. Physicians at hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic, were unable to diagnose or relive the pain as it spread and intensified. After a recent move to Detroit, her mother recommended the multidisciplinary Pain Management clinic at DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital, let by Drs Renee Baugh and Mohamed Othman.
Dr. Othman helped Bernadette with a high-tech procedure that used electronic stimulation of the spinal cord to block pain signals to the brain. Bernadette went from “sometimes unbearable pain” to “Wow…I noticed a difference immediately. It was gone. It was relief.”
That’s the result Marcia Lichvar came looking for when she sought help at the DMC’s Pain management Clinic. An operation to treat a troubled neck vertebrae has left her in constant, intense pain for the last three years.
For Marcia, the pain was concentrated “…all the way from the middle of my back up to the middle of my head and across my shoulders and down my arms.” Medication didn’t help, and she was forced to leave teaching and lead a very limited lifestyle.
Dr. Othman describes the planned treatment for Marcia: What we are going to use is one of the high-tech new procedures in pain management called the spinal cord stimulator. Our goal is to stimulate certain nerve tracks to prevent the pain signals from reaching through the nerve trails to the higher pain centers in the brain, by creating an electromagnetic filed at the spinal cord level.”
The doctor starts by inserting the stimulator and getting immediate feedback from the patient on what positioning works best for pain relief. He then inserts the catheter and uses advanced imaging to guide it into the best possible position. While this placement is happening, Marcia is awake and able to tell Dr. Othman where she is feeling a result.
Afterward, Dr. Othman reports about 80% coverage of pain. Marcia will be monitored for the next two weeks to ensure that it is working at an optimal level. If all goes well, she’ll return for a Stage II procedure to implant a battery that will help manage the stimulator.
Patient input is essential, says Dr. Baugh. “I might look at them and say ‘You’re doing much better. But we let them tell us what is a success, so we can keep helping them until they feel they are at their best possible level.”
To request an appointment, please call 888-DMC-2500.