SPRINT PNS for post-amputation pain
Ben, a proud Marine veteran, entrepreneur, and executive of a highly successful insurance firm, was enjoying an evening by his backyard pool with friends when one of them suggested lighting fireworks the friend had brought along. A few moments later, a firework exploded in Ben’s left hand, gravely injuring it. The accident was serious — Ben tragically lost his hand. But it was the ineffective pain treatment after his hand amputation that threatened Ben’s career, his marriage, and his family’s ability to adopt a young girl who was waiting for them in Colombia.
Ben didn’t feel the “phantom pain” he had heard about until a week after the amputation. Once it arrived, the pain hit hard. “It felt like somebody was driving a pin or a nail straight down my finger through the bone,” explains Ben. It was accompanied by several other types of equally unbearable sensations. “It was just excruciating and constant.”
THE PAIN-RELIEF JOURNEY BEGINS
Ben’s doctor tried medications including morphine, drugs that treated nerve pain, and then more opioids. “We just kept upping the dose, upping the dose, and … I could really start feeling the dependency starting to kick in,” explains Ben. “After a few weeks, it [opioid use] was gripping me and my memory was shot. I couldn’t even articulate a sentence.”
He also couldn’t sleep. What’s worse, the drugs really didn’t do much for his pain. Finally, in frustration, his wife, Kara, contacted Ben’s doctor in the middle of the night, telling him that her husband was at the brink of losing his sanity and they needed to do something about the pain. The next day, Ben was in front of pain specialist, Dr. Alaa Abd-Elsayed from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who first tried a steroid injection to block the pain, which brought some relief, but not enough.
Two weeks later, “Dr. Al” introduced Ben to the SPRINT® PNS System, and after obtaining approval from his healthcare provider, the Veterans Health Administration, the 60-day treatment was soon underway. Says Ben, “it worked right away. My SPRINT rep did an excellent job checking on me, and then 24 hours, 72 hours passed, and I felt absolutely no more pain. None.”
Getting off the opiates was Ben’s next step, which he managed to do in just two weeks rather than the usual seven, but it wasn’t easy. “I was just absolutely sick,” he says. He also weaned off the nerve drugs over the next couple of months. “Clarity started coming back and I felt great. I was even working out with the SPRINT device still in.”
And today? “It’s been at least five months, and I have had no phantom feeling or pain,” says Ben.
Best of all, Ben and Kara were able to complete the adoption of their daughter, Ashly Elaine, in Colombia a few months after treatment. “I was telling a client the other day about SPRINT, and said, ‘I probably would be a drug addict or have some kind of dependency on medication at this stage of my life without this device.’ This easily could have impeded the adoption or changed whether I was still involved in my companies. I just have so much gratitude.”