Tag Archives: pain management

I’ve just returned from a brief visit to Christchurch, to the Pain Management Unit at Burwood Hospital where I receive treatment every few months.  This time, one of the regular patients was missing.  Let’s call her Anne.  She and I used to chat, stuck next to each for 3 hours or so.  We have quite a lot in common and were interested in each other’s progress.   Our conversations were a highlight for me and I’ll miss them. Anne rang me last week to warn me of her no-show, with an explanation.  After several painful years on the waiting list she had at last been fitted with a spinal chord stimulator.  The operation had taken place just a few days earlier.  What’s a spinal chord stimulator?  See my earlier post.  (If  you don’t want to follow those links: it’s an electronic device a bit like a pacemaker which stops pain signals…

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I have just got back from Christchurch. Every 10 weeks, I travel to Burwood Hospital for treatment. I sit there for a few hours, swap stories with the other regulars (some of whom feel like old friends), then I’m off home again.  It’s a nice, quiet and occasionally very entertaining few hours. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to witness something quite remarkable: a patient comes in to have their implant tuned.  These “lucky” people have been fitted with a spinal-cord stimulator, an electronic substitute for painkilling drugs.  A small voltage generator is implanted under the skin, with a bunch of electrodes leading to various points along the spinal cord.  Very small voltages transmitted through these electrodes interfere with the pain signals travelling up the spinal cord to the brain. Result?  no more pain! Except sometimes some fine tuning is required, hence the following conversation overheard between patient and nurse: Patient (pale,…

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