Pain relief at the touch of a button

August 2012

A married father of two who could not sit down for two years due to chronic pain in the buttock following an anal abscess, is finally able to lead a more normal life thanks to a remote control button.

Peter Cartwright, who lives in Burley in Wharfedale, suffered constant pain after having an anal abscess drained and was unable to sit down. This caused huge problems in both his work and home life. An IT consultant for a high street bank, his daily journey to work in Cheshire is 76 miles. At work, Peter had to stand at a specially raised desk for his 12-hour shifts.  When he recently flew to Australia to visit his brother he had to stand for most of the 24 hours flight.

Peter Cartwright is now able to sit down after years of having to stand following his spinal cord stimulator procedure

After two years of living with constant pain Peter was desperate. He had tried a range of treatment from a spine block to spinal cord injections but nothing provided a long-term solution. Now, Peter has been given a new lease of life after being fitted with a spinal cord stimulator in May this year. It’s a pain relief treatment, which enables him to control his pain at the touch of a button.

In May 2011 Peter had an operation to drain an anal abscess. He was unable to sit down from that point onwards. He was then diagnosed with a fistula and underwent several surgeries to treat the problem. However, by September 2012, Peter was still in pain and still unable to sit down. Peter was referred to Dr. Ganesan Baranidharan, consultant in pain management at Spire Leeds Hospital. In May this year, Dr. Baranidharan implanted a spinal cord stimulator at the top of Peter’s buttock.

“Before I had the implant, the pain was constant when I was sat down,   so standing was my preferred option.” said Peter. “I tried to carry on with life with the help of strong painkillers, but the pain affected everything I did. As soon as the device was fitted I felt the intensity of the pain eased. I still have pain, however, it is not as intense as it was. I was even able to sit down to eat a meal later the same day. Something I had not done for a long time.”

It’s now two months since Peter had the procedure and he’s learning how to use the device to get the levels just right. “The stimulator adjusts the levels of stimulation according to whether I’m sitting or standing and I can also control the levels according to the level of pain I feel. So I can increase the level of stimulation when I need it most. After spending years in pain it’s a great feeling.  I now have greater control over the pain and over my life.”

Peter, 50, was the first patient in Leeds to benefit from this new MRI compatible version of the spinal cord stimulator. Spire Leeds Hospital is the only private hospital in Leeds currently offering this treatment. The two-hour procedure is usually performed as a day case without the need of an overnight stay.

The spinal cord stimulator consists of an implant system that delivers mild electrical impulses to nerves. Electrodes implanted in the spine are controlled with the remote by the patient. The device also includes a battery pack, which is implanted inside the patient who recharges it daily through the skin.

Dr. Baranidharan said, “Chronic pain, such as Peter was living with, can be disabling both physically and mentally. I’m delighted with the way his pain has responded to the treatment. This implanted device is designed to help people take control of their own chronic pain. It delivers a pleasant tingling sensation in the specific area, helping to ease the pain. It represents a breakthrough in pain management and is recognised by the national institute for clinical excellence (NICE).”
Peter added, “After suffering two years of chronic pain I feel that I’ve got my life back. It’s very easy to use and, although it hasn’t completely cured my pain, it has improved the quality of my life.”


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Pain management at Spire Leeds

Consultants in pain management
Dr Ganesan Baranidharan
Dr Dudley Bush
Dr Karen Simpson

Click here to read about:
Chronic pain treatments at Spire Leeds

For further information email, complete our online enquiry form or call us on 0113 218 5967/77.

About Spinal Cord Stimulator Procedure

Spinal cord stimulator is an implant system that delivers mild electrical impulses to nerves in the spine to help control or relieve chronic pain. It exerts pulsed electrical signals to the spinal cord or area of pain. Pain signals are inhibited before they reach the brain and replaced with a tingling sensation that covers the specific area of the pain. It can be used to treat a variety of conditions that have a nerve pain component.

© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)