SPRINT PNS; Post-surgical Head Pain
A Painful Surgical Journey
A few years ago, Federal Administrative Law Judge Rick was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was already struggling with discomfort from sinus pain and related surgery, but after the surgery to remove the brain tumor, he developed intense head pain.
Over the course of the next few months, Rick was hospitalized three times because of head pain. He was prescribed opioid analgesics and other medications, but they did not help. Each time, Rick returned to work facing a backlog of cases, and found himself stepping out of the court room at breaks, battling tears to fight through pain and summon the mental focus his work demanded.
The constant pain affected his personal life as well. He had to give up competitive running and found himself running a new race: to find a medical solution to debilitating pain while struggling to maintain his work and family responsibilities.
One Step Forward, two Steps Back
Rick was referred to a neurosurgical and interventional pain team at the University of Minnesota, who linked his pain to irritation caused by his prior surgeries. It turns out that Rick had developed venous occlusion, a condition that compresses the veins causing a blockage and severe pain.
He underwent another surgical procedure to address the occlusion and under his team’s care, Rick finally experienced some relief from the unrelenting agony. “I felt good for the first time in quite a while,” he remembers. “I wasn’t entirely better, but I was able to function and get through my days.”
Unfortunately, the reprieve was short-lived. “After a few weeks, the pain came back,” Rick says. By the fall of 2020, his pain was constant and completely out of control.
Rick feared he had exhausted every possible pain treatment. He’d tried surgical procedures, nerve blocks, opioids, and injections with no success. In the meantime, his quality of life continued to deteriorate. Rick was struggling in the courtroom and when he began working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual work was just as difficult. On top of that, family activities were simply not possible.
“It was a dark time for me,” says Rick. “I would wake up with pain and go to bed with pain. I struggled to find hope to keep pushing ahead. When I finished work, I had to lie down on the couch immediately. I felt like I was a burden to my family. Nothing touched the pain; it was consistent, sustained, and severe.”
Finding Hope with SPRINT PNS
But Rick didn’t give up. He got a referral to the Mayo Clinic and was introduced to Dr. Matthew Pingree, a leader in interventional pain management with a specialty in chronic pain. Over the course of three visits, Dr. Pingree used nerve blocks to determine that the source of Rick’s pain was likely surgical damage to the nerves in his head, specifically the occipital and auricular nerves. He proposed the 60-day SPRINT PNS System as the best treatment option for Rick.
Rick began his SPRINT treatment and within weeks, began to feel relief. “For the first time in nearly three years, I was having days without head pain,” he marvels. “I couldn’t believe how good I felt. The improvement has been steady ever since. The SPRINT PNS treatment of my head pain has improved my quality of life astronomically.”
Thanks to the SPRINT PNS System treatment, Rick was finally able to reclaim his vibrant professional and personal life.
“One of the most telling experiences for me has been the feedback from colleagues and friends,” he says. “They tell me that I’m more myself again. I’m more engaged; I have my sense of humor back. When you are in tremendous pain, you don’t notice how it changes you, but others can see that you just aren’t yourself.”
Today, Rick is back in the courtroom, attending social gatherings, enjoying family events, and tackling the list of household projects that languished while he battled pain. Even his favorite sport is back within reach, as Rick gradually resumes running for the first time in more than three years.
“The SPRINT PNS System’s treatment is the only therapy that has had a positive, enduring impact on my pain level,” says Rick. “It’s such a morale boost. Now, I’m waking up to good days again. Thanks to SPRINT, I have my life back.”
The SPRINT PNS System is indicated for up to 60 days for: (i) Symptomatic relief of chronic, intractable pain, post-surgical and post-traumatic acute pain; (ii) Symptomatic relief of post-traumatic pain; and (iii) Symptomatic relief of post-operative pain. The SPRINT PNS System is not intended to be placed in the region innervated by the cranial and facial nerves.
Each patient’s testimonial is the result of each patient’s unique situation resulting in varying responses, experiences, risks, and outcomes to the SPRINT PNS System. The patient experiences shared on this page are not medical advice and should not be substituted for the independent medical judgment of a trained healthcare professional. Discuss your options and use of the SPRINT PNS System with your medical provider. Physicians should use their best judgment when deciding when to use the SPRINT PNS System. For more information see the SPRINT PNS System IFU.
Most common side effects are skin irritation and erythema. Results may vary. Rx only.