Remarkable Device Relieves Intense Foot Pain
When Chuck Calvert was attending a snowmobile race with his two sons, he suddenly began to experience a strange pain in his feet.
“I told my boys, ‘If this doesn’t stop, you’re going to have to drive me to the nearest hospital,’” Chuck recalls.
Chuck didn’t know it at the time, but he was experiencing the pain of diabetic neuropathy. Over the next few weeks, the pain would develop to the point where it would drop him to his knees.
“It felt like someone took a handful of needles, jammed it into my foot and then turned it,” Chuck recalls.
With the advice of his doctor, Chuck tried a number of different medications and treatments for over a year, but nothing seemed to work. Chuck found it difficult to sleep and would often miss work.
“After about a year and a half,” Chuck says, “I told my wife I couldn’t cope with this pain much longer. I wondered if it would be better if they took my feet off.”
Around that time, Chuck’s doctor referred him to the URMC Pain Center.
Dr. Joel Kent did a thorough examination and performed several tests on Chuck. After learning that Chuck had already tried many treatments unsuccessfully, Dr. Kent told him that he was a prime candidate for SCS, or Spinal Cord Stimulation.
Dr. Kent recommended that Chuck take a few weeks to think it over and discuss it with his wife. Within a month, Chuck told Dr. Kent he was ready to go.
An initial five-day trial of the device was successful. So next, Chuck would require surgery to have the SCS device implanted. The surgery took about two hours and Chuck was home the next day.
Chuck now has the small SCS device implanted under his skin, just below his hip. Two wire leads extend from the box and into a precisely determined spot on Chuck’s spine. He controls the SCS device with a remote control that he holds in his hand.
When Chuck turns on the device, he feels a vibration in his feet which he can turn up or down. That vibration blocks the sensation of pain that normally travels from his feet to his brain.
“It’s unbelievable,” Chuck says. “Probably 85% of my pain is blocked. And I can deal with the other 15%.”
Chuck has now been able to return to his work in construction for the Wyoming County Highway Department. And he is once again able to travel with his sons and work as their pit boss as they compete in snowmobile races.
“Dr. Kent and his team are incredible,” says Chuck. “I would never have expected it to be that easy. They’ve changed everything for me.”