SPRINT PNS for shoulder pain
“The treatment really is life-changing.”
In 2008, Chicago native Leilah Sampson was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease while away at college. Her father, a nursing director, insisted she return home to seek care. Within two years, her kidneys failed and thus began a seven-year odyssey of multiple weekly kidney dialysis appointments, deteriorating health, and several surgeries.
Leilah finally got the long-awaited call that a kidney was available in 2015. “I knew I was dying and I didn’t hesitate,” she says, “I said, ‘I’ll take it’ … and I never looked back.” With this new beginning, she made up her mind to become an advocate for patients with kidney disease. She wrote and published a book, The Gift of Disappointment, and went on a speaking tour to promote it along with her message of hope.
Car accident reroutes her life
While driving during one of her speaking tours, a car in front of Leilah’s took a sudden U-turn, forcing her to swerve and she ended up hitting a telephone pole. “I injured my left shoulder, but just shrugged it off,” she says. However, the pain remained and intensified over time.
“The accident and pain just rerouted my life … I was depressed. I pushed friends away; I didn’t sleep through the night,” explains Leilah. For a time, she worked as a sterile processing technician at a clinic, but lifting and sterilizing medical equipment exacerbated her shoulder pain so she took a leave of absence. “Even showering was difficult. It was exhausting. I had to do everything with my right arm.”
Despite her agony, she was hesitant about seeing a pain specialist. “If I saw a doctor for the pain, I thought, ‘they’ll just put me on opioids’ … I fought for my life with this kidney transplant and I didn’t want to mess it up by taking drugs.” However, the pain had become so intense, she finally saw a sports medicine physician who tried steroid injections and prescribed physical therapy — neither of which provided any real relief.
Referral leads to SPRINT
After an MRI, her doctor discovered that Leilah had tendinosis, which meant her shoulder’s tendons were degrading. That’s when he referred her to Dr. Matthew Bowersox at NSU Skokie Hospital. “Once I entered his office,” says Leilah, “I knew I was going to be OK.” Dr. Bowersox told Leilah about the SPRINT® PNS System and that he believed it might work for her. “I was really excited when he explained how it worked … and when I had the procedure, it was so simple, a local anesthetic and it was very quick, pretty painless,” says Leilah. “The same day, I even went out to breakfast with my mom.”
Leilah says she began to feel significant relief after a couple of weeks of toggling the SPRINT’s stimulation up and down to find a level that worked. She also continued with physical therapy and the routine stretches and exercises her therapist recommended throughout her SPRINT treatment, which she says helped her get stronger.
An exciting new beginning
“This treatment really is life-changing. I have always loved science and the medical field and this gave me confidence in medicine again.” In fact, Leilah, who recently graduated with an Associate of Science Biology degree, was so inspired by Dr. Bowersox, she is now pursuing a degree in pre-med at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
“I am excited to start my new career as a pre-med student to follow in Dr. Bowersox’s footsteps and treat patients like myself experiencing chronic pain,” says Leilah. “This experience solidified my purpose and path into anesthesia. I will tell my future patients how a system like SPRINT worked for me and helped me get back to a healthy, active, and happy lifestyle.”