Sometimes, conservative pain management isn’t enough to relieve severe chronic pain. At Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, our pain physicians offer spinal cord stimulation, using small devices that deliver very mild electrical pulses to treat pain.
How Spinal Cord Stimulation Relieves Chronic Pain
Nerves transmit pain signals and other sensory information from the body through the spinal cord to the brain. Acute pain is necessary: It shows the severity of an injury so you can seek proper care. But nerves can continue to send pain signals — even after an injury has healed or without an injury.
With spinal cord stimulation, the doctor implants a small device in your back that sends mild electrical pulses to the spinal cord. These pulses disrupt pain signals, relieving chronic pain.
Meet Amy, who had severe ankle pain after repeated sports injuries. Our team, including Bakul R. Dave, MD, implanted a spinal cord stimulator that has provided almost complete pain relief.
Amy’s Story: Relief After Months of Ankle Pain
Amy Friedel, 25, tells everyone how the Pain Management Center and Dr. Dave, in particular, gave her a life she didn’t think possible as a teenager with chronic pain. By age 16, Amy had experienced multiple ankle sprains from playing sports that led to severe pain in her right ankle.
For more than 10 months, seven of which she spent on crutches, Amy felt extreme pain all the time. “I thought I was never going to walk again without crutches,” she says. “I saw several specialists until I was finally referred to Dr. Dave.”
Although Amy received injections that relieved the cold spells and swelling she was experiencing, the pain was still constant. Dr. Dave thought that Amy would be a candidate for spinal cord stimulation.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
Dr. Dave first implanted a trial implantable pulse generator (IPG). This short-term device was in for about a week, so Amy could evaluate how well the device relieved her pain.
The device provided 90 percent to 100 percent pain relief, so Dr. Dave implanted a permanent IPG under the skin between Amy’s spine and left hip. Four years later, Amy received a new IPG, powered by a rechargeable battery.
“I can charge the stimulator whenever needed, and I don’t always have to turn it on,” she says. “Dr. Dave believed in my pain and gave me this device so that I could have a life.”
Amy says the pain relief allowed her to follow her dreams for her education, first graduating as valedictorian of her high school class. She received her bachelor’s degree in biology and pre-med and completed the accelerated nursing program at the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College.
Amy, who went on to become a nurse, says she doesn’t take any pain medication and uses the stimulator only when needed. Because she has little or no pain, Amy has gotten back to her active life and exercises regularly.
“Dr. Dave and his amazing staff are there for you emotionally and mentally and always want the best for you,” Amy says. “He’s the reason that I went into medicine. I wanted to make that difference in someone’s life like he did for me.”
Other Treatments for Chronic Pain
At Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital, our pain specialists offer a full range of nonsurgical chronic pain treatment. Learn more about:
Office Location at Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital
Pain Management Center, a member of BJC HealthCare
1044 N. Mason Road, Suite L30
Medical Office Building 4
Creve Coeur, MO 63141
Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital is conveniently located just one mile west of I-270 in Creve Coeur, Missouri — a west county suburb of St. Louis.
Get directions and maps.
Contact Us for Pain Management
To learn more or to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians who specializes in pain management, please call 314.542.WEST (9378) or toll-free at 844.542.WEST (9378). You’ll need a referral from your physician to schedule an appointment.
Before your appointment, please download, print and fill out this new patient packet (PDF).
If you need to change or cancel your appointment, you can do so through MyChart or by calling your physician’s office directly. See our phone directory for additional phone numbers.
How to Refer a Patient
Referring physicians can call the Doctors’ Access Line at 800.252.DOCS (3627) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also visit our referring physicians page.