Healthy Living: Neuro stem
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Every day millions of Americans complain of chronic pain, but for some people their pain can derail their life.
Cassie Moore said, "I was 14. I know the day exactly. It was March 14, 2004. A headache just came on randomly."
That was seven and a half years ago, the headaches were excruciating.
"It's worse than a migraine," she said. "It's a throbbing, stabbing, burning pain."
She loved to play soccer, but running made the headaches worse. Her life was curtailed.
She said, "In college, I had to dropout of college. It was really sad. Bad thoughts going through my head, like, there's no hope."
She tried nearly everything to get relief.
Moore said, "I used narcotics, over the counter medicine, nerve blocks, steroid injections."
There was one more option, introducing Pain Management Specialist Dr. Marty Ferrillo.
He said, "As a pain management doctor, I generally see people who have very bad headaches, people who have failed conservative treatments. I am at the top of the treatment ladder. I have got to think out side the box and offer them something different."
And different it was. It's considered experimental. From experience he knew when spine stimulators are placed over nerves in the back, back pain sufferers get relief. Why not try it on nerves in the head? So he did.
Dr. Ferrillo said, "We are going to drive a very pleasant sensation into those nerves. The brain is not perceiving the pain. It is perceiving this pleasant sensation and the end result is pain relief."
Before placing leads into the head permanently, he inserts temporary ones.
Dr. Ferrillo said, "I was able to, with a small needle, just underneath the skin, place the spinal cord stimulator electrodes in the periphery over her headache nerves, underneath her eyebrow."
He also inserts leads over nerves in the back of her head. Next, he turns on the stimulators. To find out if Cassie got relief and what happens next, stay tune for tomorrow's report.