PGI uses spinal cord stimulation to relieve patient of severe pain

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, CHANDIGARH
  • Updated: Nov 25, 2014 14:07 IST

A patient suffering from extremely refractory pain has got a big relief after he was treated with spinal cord stimulation at the pain clinic of PGIMER.

Thirty nine-year-old ICICI bank employee approached the institute’s pain clinic department in April 2013. He had met with an accident in 2005 in which, he was crushed between two cars while crossing the road, and had suffered extremely bad pelvic fracture.

At that time, both of his hips were replaced. However, despite the hip replacement, he was not able to walk properly because of the bad injury, and was confined to a wheelchair.

Around one year after the surgery, he again started having pain in lower abdominal wall and in both lower limbs, which progressed to severe pain over the next 3-4 months. He was prescribed all medications- physiotherapy and exercises- but none of them worked. Since then, the patient was in severe agony because of the intolerable pain.

“He was unable to sleep for over two hours, which was the reason he also started taking sedative to get a sleep,” said Dr Babita Ghai, additional professor, anesthesia.

“However, his condition was again reviewed and doctors prescribed him medications, including morphine, fentanyl or butorphanol patch, which are prescribed for cancer pain. But nothing seemed to be working,” added Dr Ghai.

Analyzing his condition, the doctors at PGIMER offered the option of spinal cord stimulation trial, which he agreed to go for. Interestingly, in October, a spinal cord stimulation trial was performed on him that provided him over 60% of relief.

“For the first time in these eight years, I could sleep well for around 6-8 hours,” he stated. The doctors at the PGI say now they are planning to conduct the permanent spinal cord stimulation implant of the patient.


The spinal cord stimulation delivers mild electrical impulses near the spinal cord that interrupt pain signals to the brain, replacing them with a tingling sensation. The stimulation is delivered from the device through insulated wires called leads placed next to the spinal cord in epidural space.

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