Treating Pain Blog

Patient Stories

Implanted Peripheral Nerve Stimulator Helps Betty Thomas Manage Her Lower Back Pain

Betty Thomas received peripheral nerve stimulation for her chronic back pain and damaged nerves.

Betty Thomas knows chronic low back pain. Several years ago, the pain got so bad that surgery was her only option. Betty underwent a procedure where two rods were placed in her lower back and for a brief period of time, she felt better. However, as time went on, the pain reared its ugly head and escalated – quickly.

Her surgeon then decided to refer her to National Spine & Pain Centers (NSPC). At the NSPC pain center in Manassas, Virginia, Betty was introduced to Dr. Sassan Hassassian, MD. As a combination of treatments were performed, Betty finally found relief.

Dr. Hassassian, who is a board-certified expert in pain management treatments, started Betty’s personalized treatment plan with a conservative approach. For a few months, epidural steroid injections were given to calm the nerve pain and reduce inflammation. The injections failed to provide Betty long-lasting pain relief so Dr. Hassassian moved on to the next treatment option – radiofrequency neurotomy. Commonly referred to as nerve ablation, RF treatments use heat energy to calm nerve pain right at the source.

Each Treatment Plan is Unique

The treatments provided Betty some pain relief but not enough to give her full level of function that she needed. Betty, who is retired after working at AT&T for 28 years, needed to be fully functional with limited pain so that she could get her husband to and from his doctor appointments.

At her next appointment with Dr. Hassassian, he recommended a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure called peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS). After explaining the therapy to Betty, she was eager to begin the trial run. In a 45 minute procedure, Dr. Hassassian implanted the peripheral nerve stimulator, which, in short, is an external battery operated device that carries a small amount of electrical current to the targeted peripheral nerves. The electrical current works to mask the pain signals that travel to the brain.

I knew within half a day that the stimulation worked for me. I just didn’t have the same level of pain anymore.” – Betty Thomas

Along the Journey to Pain Relief

Following a three day test period with the temporary stimulator, Betty scheduled her appointment to have the permanent peripheral nerve stimulator implanted. Operating similarly to a pacemaker for the heart, a battery was permanently implanted under the skin. Now, Betty doesn’t have to schedule as many appointments because the battery can be recharged using an external, wireless charger. PNS therapy has not only managed Betty’s pain but has also allowed her to return to full function.

Read Betty’s Full Story

Every treatment plan is different and Dr. Hassassian worked with Betty to make sure her pain was managed and that she understood everything he was doing. Click below to read Betty’s full story. If you’re interested in learning more about peripheral nerve stimulation, click here to request your appointment to see one of our pain management experts!

Click here to read Betty Thomas’s full success story