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Dr Pelligrino
GearyKelly posted:
I am 68 yrs old and have suffered with and been diagnosed with FM for about 5 yrs. I also had back surgery about 4 yrs ago, fusion, 3, 4, & 5. Back seemed better at first, but soon developed into bad, chronic back pain. They (Drs) tried to explain it to me, but I really don't quite understand it. They said the surgery was successful, but because of the cutting of muscles & tendons, I am having pain from that. I'm being treated with the usual meds, but my pain is getting worse. They have given me a TENS unit to use. Seemed to help a bit at first, but now I don't seem to get much help from it. THey want to implant the electircal stimulus wires in my back. I really don't want this. But its another "procedure" to charge me for, right? Doesn't it seem CONTRACDICTORY to use electrical stimulus on me, when supposedly FM is caused by (over simplifying) overactive nerve endings? Do you have any information, or opinion on this? Have any studies been done on this?
Help - I'm really in pain - and don't want to stay on pain neds for the rest of my life. I'm just building up a tolerance to them! My next step is to try Pot. From what I've read & heard it DOES help. I qualify for my Med Marihuana card. I'm going to try it. Thoughts?
Thanks, Kelly
Mark Pellegrino, MD responded:
Hi Kelly,

Sorry you are having such a tough time with the pain. It's always frustrating when patients have spine surgery and the severe pain persists, or a different type of bothersome pain develops.

Spinal cord stimulators are an option for some people. One of the indications for this procedure is failed back surgery syndrome. The stimulator works by delivering small electrical shocks to spinal nerves which block the body's internal pain signals from getting through. So it works like an implantable TENS unit. Even though fibro pain is felt to be due, in part, to hypersensitive central nerves, that doesn't mean one cannot benefit from therapeutic electrical stimulation.

Therapeutic electrical stimulation (ie electric stim, TENS, spinal cord stim) is not contraindicated in fibro...quite the's often helpful. If your doctors are recommending a trial of a spinal cord stimulator, you may want to give it some thought. It's done as a trial first (temporary spinal cord stimulator), and if it works, a permanent one can be surgically implanted.

My state of Ohio has not legalized medical marijuana use so I am not able to provide any thoughts. There have been various community discussions on this topic that you may want to review.

Good luck with finding some help with the pain.

Dr. P
LynDixee replied to Mark Pellegrino, MD's response:
Hi Kelly:

I too have FM. I have found that with my pain and other FM symptoms, that no one treatment has helped. I use a variety of treatments that help me. Such as, Infared sauna, Tens unit, bath therapy, exercise, and heating pads. I know that exercise is the last thing someone wants to do when they hurt so bad, but it does help. I have tried several medicines, some work, but the side effects are worse than the pain. Just know that you are not alone.

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