For those who live with chronic pain, it can be debilitating.
Not only can the pain itself make every day feel like a physical and emotional struggle, from limiting a person’s ability to socialise with loved ones or even attend their place of work, to the side effects of the necessary pain medications leading to a diminished quality of life.
HFX is a comprehensive solution that includes a Senza® spinal cord stimulation system and support services for the treatment of chronic pain.
Nevro’s HFX is a pioneering method of treating chronic pain for patients, restoring both a person’s independence and their ability to live a happy, active and fulfilled life.
For Beebee Hanniff, a retired NHS nurse manager whose active lifestyle was put on hold when she began to suffer from chronic pain, the treatment has given her a second chance at living a life she loves.
When Beebee began to suffer from unbearable chronic pain, she was barely able to walk around her bungalow.
Beebee heard about Nevro’s innovative therapy, and sought treatment from Spire Healthcare in Southampton.
The 73-year-old, from Bournemouth, said: “I decided to retire when I was 63. At the time my energy was good and I was fit.”
Alongside her husband, Beebee began fulfilling her lifelong dream to travel the world in retirement, but her dreams were cut short by the sudden onset of unbearable pain.
“In May 2017, I woke up one morning and had some burning at the bottom of my left foot,” she explained.
“Then, it turned into a sharp stabbing pain, and a week later again. A couple of days later, it was happening in my right foot.
“After that, I started to get a tingling sensation up my left leg, and bouts of pain were shooting up to my hip and my left groin.”
Beebee was assessed by specialists in orthopaedics, physiotherapy and rheumatology, all of whom hoped they could resolve Beebee’s chronic pain.
They were sadly unable to do so, and when Beebee suffered a severe reaction to some pain medication, she was left unable to take anything more than paracetamol to ease her symptoms.
Eventually, Beebee was referred to Spire Healthcare’s consultant neurosurgeon, Girish Vajramani, after it was discovered that her pain was linked to a build-up of scar tissue from an operation she had undergone 29 years earlier, on a herniated disc.
Although the surgery had been a success and the disc itself was fine, the scar tissue had grown over the years, and was pressing down on Beebee’s sciatic nerve.
She said: “It was like walking on top of jagged broken glass.
“It felt like my life was going down in a spiral, and that my children and husband were going through it, too.
“Mr. Vajramani explained Nevro’s HFX high frequency spinal cord stimulation, and what it could do. We liked what he said about how it worked, and it was a technology we hadn’t heard about the whole time I was in pain.”
HFX offers the widest range of frequencies and waveforms available to treat the complex, dynamic and unique nature of chronic pain.
Nevro’s treatment, is a pain management option available through specialist centres such as Spire Healthcare and NHS across the UK.
HFX spinal cord stimulation is designed to reduce pain by delivering mild, electrical pulses to the spinal cord, inhibiting the transmission of abnormal pain signals travelling to the brain.
HFX calms the nerves and interrupts the transmission of pain signals to the brain but still allows you to feel everything else as you should.
It’s not a medication-based treatment. The stimulation uses small electrodes, placed near the spinal cord, and is powered by a compact, battery-powered generator designed with a battery life lasting more than 10 years.
After Beebee underwent various assessment stages, the trial device was implanted.
She said: “As soon as I got it I said ‘oh my goodness I can sleep’ as I hadn’t been able to sleep properly with the pain.”
Beebee was fitted with the full device in April 2019, and has since bounced back to the life she adored before the onset of her chronic pain.
“Just six weeks after my surgery, I went on a Danube cruise,” Beebee said.
“It was a beautiful trip, and every day I was able to walk for miles without sitting down for a break.
“I’ve returned to my activities. I walk, swim and practice yoga twice a week.
“The HFX team were always there on the phone if I ever got worried, and I was always able to contact them. Their aftercare is very good.
“Life is very good now. I’m 73, but I feel 10 or 15 years younger, I really do.”
More than 70,000 patients around the world have been treated by this method. HFX is customised for your pain, and then you evaluate your pain relief and improvement to your daily activities.
Mr Vajramani works with the therapy to help those suffering with chronic pain for a range of reasons, including as a result of illness, operations and complications from operations, and injuries.
Mr Vajramani is keen to raise the profile of SCS in order to help more patients overcome their debilitating chronic pain.
“Increasingly, we are realising spinal cord stimulation needs to be used earlier in the treatment ladder, as opposed to being the last resort,” he said.
“A multidisciplinary assessment is done to assess the neuropathic pain, and decide whether SCS will be a good option or not.
“Nevro HFX therapy has completely changed the way we treat patients now, and we can tailor the treatment towards a particular patient.
“We can now treat back pain, leg pain as well as pain in other areas with HFX SCS.
“The whole idea of implanting the device is for the patient’s quality of life to get better, for them to go back to work, to taper medication, and basically get their life back.”
12 years ago, Shaun Kitson had a spinal fusion after years of back pain.
When the pain returned to the extreme that even sitting, standing or walking for more than 20 minutes felt unbearable, he took leave from work and could no longer pursue his passion for restoring classic cars.
Before he began to experience chronic pain, most of Shaun’s spare time was spent working passionately to keep his beloved cars in top condition, like when he fixed up an original Mini with his son.
But the pain took its toll on Shaun, crushing his dreams.
Shaun said: “I was getting very little sleep, and unable to work or spend time fettling the cars, let alone driving them. I became very depressed.”
Then, Shaun met with Mr. Girish Vajramani at the Spire Hospital in Southampton, who explained how spinal cord stimulation with HFX might help.
After a successful trial in January 2019, Shaun chose to get a permanent HFX implant.
“Since having my implant, my life has been transformed,” Shaun said.
“With HFX, my pain is reduced by 75-90%. I’m now on only a quarter of the medication that I was on before.
“I am back at work and once again enjoying time back in my garage, working on the cars and taking them to events around the country.”
Who is eligible for HFX therapy?
The treatment could help those who have tried traditional treatment methods unsuccessfully.
Those who would not benefit from additional surgery and are experiencing nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain, are considered to be strong candidates for the treatment.
HFX therapy is said to work best for those who have clear, idealised goals, such as those currently suffering from chronic pain who could see themselves getting back to work, tapering themselves off any pain medication or simply embracing the delight of a good night’s sleep.
*HFX™ is a comprehensive solution that includes a Senza® spinal cord stimulation system and support services for the treatment of chronic pain.
Consultation referrals are accepted from GPs, surgeons in hospitals, pain specialists and pain clinics for the HFX therapy across the UK. The treatment is available for NHS patients, as well as those with private healthcare insurance.
To learn more about Nevro’s HFX, click here.
Please see https://www.nevrohfx.com/en-gb/resources/safety-information/ for complete information. Mr Girish Vajramani is a paid consultant of Nevro. HFX claims are supported by Kapural L, et al. Comparison of 10-kHz High-Frequency and Traditional Low-Frequency Spinal Cord Stimulation for the Treatment of Chronic Back and Leg Pain: 24-month Results from a Multicenter, Randomized, Controlled Pivotal Trial. Neurosurgery. Published 09 2016.
HFX™ is a comprehensive solution that includes a Senza® spinal cord stimulation system and support services for the treatment of chronic pain. It is available by prescription only. Patient experiences vary, including the amount of pain relief and adverse effects associated with the device. Please consult your doctor to fully understand benefits and risks of HFX. HFX is an aid in the management of chronic intractable pain of the trunk and/or limbs. HFX should not be used in patients not fit for surgery. Precautions or warnings exist for those who are or may become pregnant, who have undergoing diathermy or with other active implanted devices, or those undergoing CT scans, ultrasound or other procedures.
The implant is surgically placed under the skin, so surgical complications are possible. As with other similar surgeries, complications may include infection, pain at the site of surgery, bleeding and in extremely rare cases paralysis or death.
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