An article in the Denver Post, titled "Hurting to Heal: Device Implanted in the Spine Relieves Pain Without the Pills," explores a new alternative to pain medicine for those who suffer from chronic pain. The article details how Dr. Giancarlo Barolat of Denver attaches stimulators to the spine to relieve pain. The patients are awakened in the middle of surgery so they can assist Barolat in locating the precise points of pain along the spinal cord.
Studies of "spine-stimulator" surgery show that it reduced patient pain by 50% or more in just over half of the cases. The stimulators are planted about 45,000 times a year. This surgery is considered by many to be a welcome alternative to pain medication.
Roughly 17,000 Americans are dying from painkiller abuse each year. The spike in painkiller prescriptions and usage amounts to what the Center for Disease Control calls an epidemic. A report released in 2012 found that veterans suffering from PTSD are two times more likely to receive addictive painkillers than those who suffer from physical pain alone. Doctors are often quick to prescribe highly addictive painkillers, without considering other options. This surgery should be considered as a viable option for those who live with chronic pain---as many veterans do.
If you a veteran living with chronic pain as a result of your service, you deserve your veterans benefits. Contact us if your claim has been denied. We have worked with many veterans dealing with chronic pain, assisting them with their claims to ensure that they receive the medical treatment they deserve.
Source: Michael Booth, "Hurting to Heal: Device Implanted in the Spine Relieves Pain Without the Pills," Denver Post, June 4, 2013; and "Study: Veterans with PTSD are More Likely to Get Addictive Pain Med Prescriptions," CBS News, March 6, 2012, online here.