Photo: According to the National Institutes of Health, pain is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system. It is a leading cause of disability and it is a major contributor to health care costs. Dr. Herland’s spinal cord stimulation trial is a great alternative to pain medications. In this photo, PVH staff undergo training with Leana Main of Medtronic on the spinal cord stimulation trial.
New Service Helps Alleviate Chronic Pain
In October 2015, PVH added a new service with specialty clinic provider Jonathan Herland, DSc, MD known as Spinal Cord Stimulation which helps alleviate chronic pain for patients. Dr. Herland has been providing spinal cord stimulation in his Bangor practice since 2002 and decided to move the service to the Penobscot Valley Hospital Operating Room.
“My decision to move spinal cord stimulation services to Lincoln was due to the highly efficient operating room crew at PVH. I practice in many hospitals throughout the state and feel Lincoln is the most centralized location for my patients,” states Dr. Herland.
Spinal cord stimulation is a week-long trial procedure performed by Dr. Herland, Medtronic clinical specialist Leana Main, BSN, and the operating room staff at PVH. Patients are alert during the procedure and usually only need a local anesthetic as a lead is placed in the patient’s back. The lead is attached to a small device that emits electrical currents in a specific pattern to target the patient’s direct area of pain. This procedure takes less than an hour and the patient can go home soon after.
“Many patients feel results immediately,” states Leana. “They claim to feel a slight tingling sensation similar to paresthesia, or what it feels like when your arm or leg falls asleep and tingles. For patients who have suffered years of pain, this new sensation is a great relief.”
Following the week-long trial, patients finding success with this procedure are often referred to a neurosurgeon for permanent implementation of a device to help control the pain. Dr. Herland encourages people with pain to first speak with their primary care physician to help determine if spinal cord stimulation might be a good option for you.