116 MILLION AMERICANS LIVE WITH IT NOW SOME DOCTORS BELIEVE THEY HAVE AN ANSWER FOR THEIR PATIENTS' CHRONIC PAIN.
"It's like a thunderbolt of pain that goes across my body."
FOR YEARS, CATHERINE VONDERHUDE LIVED EACH DAY, EACH HOUR, EACH MINUTE IN PAIN.
"Little things you would take for granted are a far reach from what you can do."
THE PAIN STARTED IN CATHERINE'S NECK, AND THEN MOVED TO HER CERVICAL REGION. DUE TO EXTREME PAIN, SHE HAD DIFFICULTY USING USE HER ARMS AND WAS FORCED TO GIVE UP HER INTERIOR DESIGN BUSINESS. SHE LIVED ON PAIN MEDICATION AND STEROID SHOTS. ONE DAY, THE PAIN BECAME SO INTENSE SHE FORGOT WHERE SHE WAS.
"I ended up in the subway yards. The motorman didn't notice I was still on the train. I had been slumped over."
THEN SHE HEARD ABOUT NEUROSTIMULATION TO ZAP HER PAIN AWAY, ALTERING PAIN SIGNALS BEFORE THEY REACH THE BRAIN.
"It's like having an injection, except there's no medication. There are wires. There's no incision, no scars."
THE SYSTEM IS MADE UP OF A SMALL GENERATOR AND LEADS. THE LEADS ARE ATTACHED OUTSIDE THE SPINAL CORD. THE GENERATOR PRODUCES MILD ELECTRICAL PULSES WHICH INTERFERE WITH THE PAIN SIGNALS AND REPLACE THE PAIN WITH A MASSAGING AND TINGLING SENSATION.
"It's not a cure, and it's not an antibiotic, but it has given her life back, and that's what she wanted to get her life back."
BEFORE THE STIMULATOR-CATHERINE SAYS HER PAIN WAS A 10 OUT OF 10. TODAY SHE TELLS US IT'S A THREE -A NUMBER AND A FEELING THAT SHE THOUGHT SHE WOULD NEVER EXPERIENCE AGAIN.
"It's like the skies opened up for me and I knew I had a chance for the rest of my life."
THE BEST CANDIDATES FOR THE DEVICE HAVE PAIN GOING INTO THEIR ARMS OR LEGS, BACK PAIN OR NECK PAIN.
THE NEURO-STIMULATOR CAN ALSO HELP WITH THINGS LIKE SPINAL STENOSIS, CHRONIC ABDOMINAL PAIN, AND CERTAIN TYPES OF HEADACHES.
THE STIMULATOR DOES NOT WORK FOR 10 TO 20 PERCENT OF PATIENTS.
Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.