Peter Cartwright, 50, could not sit down for two years due to chronic pain in the buttock following an anal abscess. His life was transformed after having a spinal cord stimulator fitted at Spire Leeds Hospital by Dr Ganesan Baranidharan, consultant in pain management.
"As soon as the device was fitted I felt the intensity of the pain ease"
Peter Cartwright, Burley in Wharfedale
The married father of two is 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. And when he recently flew to Australia to visit his brother he had to stand for most of the 24 hours flight.
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. Peter was given a new lease of life after being fitted with a spinal cord stimulator in May 2013. 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 2013, 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 sitting 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 ease. 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.”
Peter said: “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 was the first patient in Leeds to benefit from this new MRI compatible version of the spinal cord stimulator. 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.”