“I couldn’t walk without pain, and now I can, thanks to DRG stimulation therapy. That’s my story,” Jeff pauses, “Of course, that’s not the whole story…”
Life was pretty good. I stayed active as I aged, taking daily walks with my dogs, low-impact workouts three times a week, hiking with my wife, golfing (badly), and fishing with my grandkids. I suffered from occasional aches and pains like we all do, but I noticed my knee pain getting worse.
The chronic knee pain was really slowing me down, and pain meds couldn’t touch it. My primary doc recommended I see an orthopedic surgeon. He gave me some options – none of them great – but the bottom line, according to the surgeon, was that if I wanted to be free from chronic knee pain, I would need a full knee replacement. Not something I was happy to hear, but I wasn’t ready to give up everything I loved doing just yet, so I took the risk. Surgery and follow-up therapy were rough, but I made it through okay… Well, at least I thought I did.
I remember, before the surgery, the orthopedist telling me one-in-seven people don’t experience any pain relief after surgery. For some, he said, the pain gets worse. At the time, I thought, that’s not me, that one-in-seven is someone else. I was wrong about that. My body healed properly around the new joint, but the pain never left. Sitting, standing, walking, sleeping – trying to sleep, really – there was always pain.
I went from being active to doing a lot of nothing. I missed spending time with my wife, my dogs, and my grandkids. My wife worried about me; my kids did too. For a while friends would call, invite me to play a round, or go catch a ball game. One thought of all that walking or those stairs at the stadium, and… nope. After a while, they stopped calling. I was frustrated, hurting, and angry. But I’m not a complainer, so I kept it to myself.
During my six-month post-surgery follow up appointment, I shared my frustration and my pain level with my surgeon. He recommended another surgery. I told him I would think about it, but what I was really thinking was, no thanks. Over the next few days, I kept thinking that there has to be another option. So, I did some research, and I found a DRG FAQ on the Atlanta Spine Specialists website. I had never heard of Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulation, or DRG therapy, but, wanting to explore all my options before risking another surgery, I went in for a consultation.
I learned that DRG stimulation is a non-opioid therapy designed to manage pain, and that it was developed for people like me, people suffering from chronic, knee, hip, or lower body pain, especially after surgery. Instead of chronic pain in my knee, I would feel a pleasant tingling sensation. I figured, why not give it a try?
The process of getting the DRG stimulation device was simple, especially compared to another knee surgery. I was sedated, sleepy but awake. They put the electrode in place and tested it. I could feel the tingling sensation where the pain had been. Right there, still on the table in the surgical suite, I could feel it working!
After a few days, I started getting back to my old routine. One morning, I woke up to my dog asking to go out. I hooked on his leash and took a few steps outside, flexing my knee and stretching. Took one step, then another, expecting pain… but there wasn’t any! I took a few more steps, moving slowly, anticipating that familiar sharp pain followed by the dull ache that had been my constant companion since knee surgery. All I felt was that little tingling feeling.
For the first time in as long as I can remember, instead of pain, I felt the crisp morning air putting a spring in my step, as my dog padded along happily beside me. That morning, we made it to the end of my street and back. The next day, we went a little farther, and a little more the day after that.
It’s been a few months now, and I’m back doing things I thought I’d have to give up before the surgery. Fishing with my grandkids. Hiking in the park near our home. I even played a round of golf. Not well, but no therapy can fix that. Occasionally, I still feel a twinge of pain, but that’s just part of living… Which, thanks to DRG therapy, I’ve finally gotten back to.
So, now, like Paul Harvey used to say, you know the rest of the story.
“Jeff’s” story represents an ever-growing number of people who undergo knee replacement surgery, only to end up in even more pain. If, like “Jeff,” you are experiencing knee pain after surgery, and you want to explore alternatives to additional surgery, click here to make an appointment for a consultation to learn more about DRG stimulation therapy.