WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- A drug free option for pain is now available in Connecticut.
A nerve injury can be extremely painful. At times medication and other treatments can not bring relief. Now there's a new option that's non-invasive and drug free.
Michelle Lyster tore a tendon in her right ankle, but after surgery she developed reflex sympathetic dystrophy.
"Which causes severe burning pain, hypersensitivity," Lyster said.
Doctors could do little for her excruciating pain.
"I've been on a cane or crutches for the entire six years," Lyster said.
Now a new electrical stimulation therapy offered at the Pain Treatment Center at Hartford Hospital is easing much of Lyster's pain.
"The sensitivity is really down," she said.
Dr. Jonathan Kost says it sends a no-pain message through electrodes.
"Electrodes are essentially placed in the vicinity of the nerve injury," said Dr. Kost. "This new device resets the pain signal of how it's being sent eventually into the spinal cord and up to the brain as not being as painful as it was prior to the treatment."
"It feels like a bee stinging," Lyster said, "but it's not painful and then it gets to a point where it's more of a vibrating type of stimulation."
Dr. Kost says this non-invasive therapy has had considerable success.
"This is really for almost any type pain condition," Dr. Kost said. "We've had patients that have come here and that have had the treatment that have had complete resolution of their painful systems."
For Lyster, it has done much to diminish her pain.
"That's not bad, that's not bad, before we couldn't even do this - right. It feels similar to this? It does," Lyster said while speaking with the doctor.
She's able to put more weight on her foot.
"I'm getting function back on my foot," Lyster said.
And with more physical therapy, Lyster is looking forward to becoming more independent and going back to work full time.
Like most patients, Lyster will likely require booster treatments to manage the pain.
The Pain Treatment Center at Hartford Hospital is one of 20 certified facilities offering it.
The Mayo Clinic is looking into further benefits and applications of the treatment. Right now, it isn't covered by insurance.
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