Colorado Researchers To Study Device To Relieve Low Back Pain

By Kathy Walsh

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – It is estimated there are more than 3 million cases of lower back pain in the U.S. every year.

Most go away within a few weeks or months, but for some people the pain becomes chronic. For them, everyday can be a challenge. They try everything from physical therapy to pain pills, but get little relief.

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(credit: CBS)

Now, there is a clinical trial of a new type of neurostimulation device that could be a game changer.

Michael Heuerman is hopeful. He works from home for a software company. He is at his computer eight hours a day, five days a week. Every day, he is in pain.

“It ranges from a dull ache to a hot knife in the middle of your back,” Heuerman told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

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Michael Heuerman (credit: CBS)

The 46-year-old has lower back problems. The misery started about seven years ago after Heuerman was working on the engine of his car.

He has tried physical therapy, massage, chiropractic, acupuncture; everything short of surgery, to get relief.

He says pain medications help, but he worries about side effects and addiction.

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Michael Heuerman (credit: CBS)

“It wears you down. It’s like having this monkey on your back,” he explained.

Heuerman’s biggest concern is his son, Brayden.

“He wants to wrestle and I have to say tomorrow, you know,” Heuerman said, blinking back tears.

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Brayden Heuerman (credit: CBS)

The single father is now placing hope in Dr. Vik Patel at the University of Colorado Hospital and a clinical trial of a device called ReActiv8.

“This device is implanted under the skin,” Dr. Patel explained, showing a matchbox-sized pulse generator.

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Dr. Vik Patel (credit: CBS)

Leads or wires are placed on each side of the spine.

“Right down here next to the nerves,” said Patel, an orthopedic spine surgeon.

The device stimulates the muscles internally.

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(credit: CBS)

“To strengthen them and better stabilize the spine,” said Patel. “If we can stabilize the spine better, then we can reduce the pain.’

“Some days you’re just at your wits end,” said Heuerman.

He hopes, if he qualifies for the clinical trial of ReActiv8, those days will finally be over.

To find out more about the clinical trial and see if you qualify, go to www.ReActiv8Study.com or call 888-978-8391.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 for more than 30 years. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.

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