Severe pain can affect all aspects of your life across social interactions, work, and leisure activities. When this happens, it’s time to see your doctor and consider what options are available to get back to a more normal way of living.
The origins of your pain may be in the low back, shoulder, or knee. Or it may be post-amputation or chronic or acute post-operative pain. Many patients don’t want to take opioids as a solution, even on a short-term basis. For appropriate cases, the answer may be a temporary Peripheral Nerve Stimulation (PNS) system.
An alternative that fits these criteria is the SPRINT PNS system. It does not require permanent implantation and is designed as a 60-day treatment to provide sustained pain relief.
What Is a Peripheral Nerve?
Your body’s nervous system is made up of your brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. Peripheral nerves are the nerves that extend beyond your brain and spinal cord to your organs and extremities—all the way to your fingertips and toes.
Pain signals travel along these peripheral nerves to your brain.
How Does the SPRINT Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Work?
Neurostimulation works by delivering mild electrical signals that disrupt nerve pain signals before they reach your brain. In this way, you can achieve pain relief without the need for medication.
The SPRINT PNS system uses a small pulse generator that sends gentle pulses through very thin, fishing line-sized micro-leads to stimulate the nerve causing your pain. This pulse generator is located outside your body and is not implanted, as is the case for most other systems.
A simple handheld remote communicates with the pulse generator and allows you to easily control the level of pain-relieving stimulation that you need.
After the treatment period had ended, and the micro-lead (or leads) has been removed, the majority of patients continue to experience sustained relief.
During a minor outpatient procedure, your doctor will implant a thin micro-lead directly over the specific nerve or nerves causing your pain. Depending on the location of the nerve, either fluoroscopic (x-ray) or ultrasound guidance will be used to steer the lead to the correct location.
You can then expect to go about your normal activities when using the SPRINT system. When you take a shower, you’ll disconnect the SPRINT pulse generator – and you’ll avoid bathing and swimming during the treatment period.
The SPRINT system then is left in place for up to 60-days, after which your doctor will remove the micro-lead.
Solid Clinical Results to Date
Clinical studies have shown promising outcomes to date for the SPRINT PNS system. 75% of patients have reported significant and sustained pain relief.
The procedure is a good option for patients with low back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, arthritic joints or discs, post-amputation pain, and post-operative pain. It is also a good option when a radiofrequency neurotomy isn’t considered a viable therapy – or when it has been tried but hasn’t been effective. It is appropriate when other neurostimulation treatments aren’t.
The SPRINT PNS system is a treatment that doesn’t involve medications, is fully adjustable, and can potentially offer more complete pain relief than other similar therapies. It is a safe procedure with low risks.
While appropriate patient selection is key, SPRINT peripheral nerve stimulation appears to be a solid option for acute and chronic pain where more conservative therapies have been exhausted.
To schedule an appointment with one of Main Line Spine’s doctors who provide patients with SPRINT pain relief as an option, call (610) 337-3111 to speak to a scheduler.