SPRINT PNS for hand pain
One day, as Rhonda was on her way to work, the remote control that opens the parking gate wasn’t working. She decided to pull over, get out of the car and walk over to the gate to try using her key fob. As she was crossing the driveway, a coworker inadvertently backed up and ran over Rhonda.
She ended up under the vehicle, sustaining a fractured left wrist, broken ribs, and severe burns on her leg from the car’s exhaust. This injury led to months of treatment for her burns and surgery to repair her wrist.
Recurring pain begins
Within a couple of months of surgery, Rhonda started experiencing a recurring pain in her hand and she says it felt like it was on fire. “It blew up to double the size of my other hand and my fingers looked like sausages. It was stuck in one position, and I couldn’t move it. It also looked really glossy, like a mannequin’s,” recalls Rhonda.
When she asked her physician to prescribe pain medication, they instead recommended that she see a pain specialist. That’s when Rhonda went to see Dr. Sungkook Andrew Park, a board-certified pain management specialist at Desert Orthopaedic Center.
Complex regional pain syndrome
“When I went to see Dr. Park, he diagnosed ‘complex regional pain syndrome’ in my hand,” says Rhonda. “I couldn’t stand anyone touching it. Even a breeze from a fan nearby was just excruciating.”
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke describes complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, as “excess and prolonged pain and inflammation that follows an injury to an arm or leg.” While for some, CRPS pain subsides over time, for Rhonda it was relentless.
Dr. Park prescribed medications, which she took several times a day to help manage her pain. Despite the medication, Rhonda’s pain level remained high. Dr. Park also performed a procedure called a stellate ganglion block, which is an injection of medication into the nerves of the neck that can be used to calm CRPS.
Initially, the combination of these therapies worked, but soon her pain returned. Dr. Park then changed her medication to one that was stronger and sent Rhonda to a physiatrist to look at her hand to determine if a structural issue was causing her pain.
“The physiatrist did an ultrasound that determined that two of the nine screws used in my hand surgery were too long and went through a tendon,” says Rhonda.
As a result, she would require another surgery to remove the screws. However, to have that surgery, Rhonda first needed to stop the cycle of pain caused by her CRPS. That’s when Dr. Park suggested the SPRINT® PNS system.
“After SPRINT was implanted, I noticed a change within a week,” Rhonda says. “My pain was significantly reduced, and I could sleep better at night.”
Within two weeks, Rhonda was off all pain medication. She had the screws removed, but still struggles to use her hand so she continues to do physical therapy multiple times a week. Rhonda describes the physical therapy appointments as painful, but she says, “Thanks to SPRINT, the pain doesn’t last long, which is a big relief.”
“SPRINT is the only reason that I don’t have pain now. I’m not sure how I would be dealing with it, but I do believe that SPRINT made all the difference in the world,” says Rhonda, adding, “I would encourage anyone who has complex regional pain syndrome or any kind of chronic pain, to ask about SPRINT.”