Saluda spinal implant for pain relief
Every minute of the night and day, for decades, Jaswir Grewal was in pain.
The constant ache in his back forced him to leave his jobs as a mechanic and banana grower. The pain troubled his sleep, made him irritable with his wife, depressed about his prospects and rarely left his thoughts. At times, he said, it felt like more than he could bear.
“It was like a bad toothache and a migraine all mixed in together. But those things are temporary and this was 24/7,” he said.
“They put me on painkillers to stop the idea of depression or, dare I say, suicide, because something like that will push people to that point and I’ve been near there. It has been like that.”
Until this week. Early on Tuesday morning, doctors at the Royal North Shore Hospital fitted Mr Grewal with a spinal implant that is already being heralded as a breakthrough in treating chronic pain – even though he was the first human to be fitted with a permanent version of the device.
The Saluda implant was inserted within the spinal canal, about five millimetres from the spinal cord. From there, the implant sends an electrical current through the nerves to provide relief in the area of the body that is experiencing pain.
Unlike conventional spinal implants, which are prone to giving patients electric shocks or dropping out of range when the person changes posture, it also has the unique ability to record signals back from the nerves immediately after they have been stimulated, and adjust its level of impulse.
“Nobody has ever been able to record these kinds of signals before, or do anything about them,” said pain specialist Dr Charles Brooker, who oversaw the operation and has no commercial arrangement with the manufacturer….
Read on http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/saluda-spinal-implant-for-pain-relief-heralded-as-breakthrough-20151013-gk7s9c.html