January 22, 2014

Myrtle Loudermilk goes to work and constantly looks for things to do. She recently remodeled her kitchen, almost entirely by herself, which included patching holes in the walls, taking the cabinet doors off and refinishing them, and tearing up and replacing the floor.

This is the same woman who, just a year ago, was in so much pain said she could barely move.

"The longer it went, the more bent over and worse I got," Loudermilk said. "I was bent almost doubled-over before he put the stimulator in."

Loudermilk was hit by a car in January 2012. She came to the CAMC Teays Valley Hospital Pain Relief Center suffering from severe back and leg pain. Her pain was constant, and interfered with her ability to walk, stand or rest. It hurt to drive, do daily housework and even sleep.

"I went through all the treatments and nothing worked for me," Loudermilk said. "I had all the therapy I could take so they sent me to a surgeon. He didn't think I was a candidate for surgery, and that's when I decided to try something different." Admittedly skeptical at first, she has become a true believer. "Dr. Pope helped me get my life back."

Jason E. Pope, MD, specializes in pain management and is certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology with a subspecialty in pain medicine.

"Before we had advanced pain care treatments, people in Myrtle's position were placed in pain purgatory and were told they had to live with the pain. As she can now tell you, this is not true. People do not have to suffer."

Dr. Pope describes that the first step to determine if spinal cord stimulation therapy is right for you first involves a test drive with a temporary trial. Only if this evaluation is successful would the system be surgically placed. These therapies can be used to treat anything from headache, to abdominal pain, to neck and arm pain or back and leg pain.

"The beauty of the spinal cord stimulator system is that each patient 'test drives' it before you get it," Pope said. "Patients who respond to the trial are candidates for getting the therapy long term. Further, after years of use, if patients get better and do not require the device to treat their pain, it can be completely removed. Unlike traditional spine surgery, it is entirely reversible."

Loudermilk underwent the trial and later that day went to work. She's an LPN who now works two to three days a week at health clinics and performs screenings around the region. "I tell anybody who will listen that these therapies work," she said.

Almost a year later after the device placement, she continues to get excellent relief. "I need it. I depend on it," Loudermilk said. "It was a life saver."

About the CAMC Teays Valley Hospital Pain Relief Center:

Directed by Pope, the Pain Relief Center is dedicated to individualized patient care, utilizing state-of the-art image guided procedures, medical management and ultra-minimally invasive surgical options to treat chronic pain. These strategies together offer the best chance for long-term success while minimizing or avoiding potentially harmful addictive pain medicines. For more information about neurostimulation and other pain management treatments, call the CAMC Teays Valley Hospital Pain Relief Center at (304) 757-5420.

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