It would be wrong to say Antonio Calzado is a shadow of his former self- when he feels younger and bolder than he did twenty years ago.
“Other people noticed it also. I just had a little pep in my step I just felt so much better,” says Antonio Calzado.
A car wreck, compounded by diabetic neuropathy and foot and ankle issues, left him using a cane and in constant pain.
“The only time I felt some degree of comfort was when I was laying down. So whenever I was up on my feet it was a struggle,” says Calzado.
Antonio’s quality of life took a big step forward when he agreed to go a different direction with his treatment. And have a neurostimulator implanted in his lower back.
“In Antonio’s case, he presented on three different medications. He had also exhausted numerous injection techniques. He had undergone numerous surgeries on his foot and ankle. So he was determined to be an excellent candidate for spinal cord stimulator,” says Dr. Christopher Dawson, a physical medicine & rehabilitation physician on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.
A spinal cord stimulator delivers electrical pulses to block pain messages before they reach the brain. Each patient is first screened with an at-home trial.
“I place the electrode into the epidermal space on the back side of the spinal cord or the dorsal columns of the spinal cord. We then try to capture the locations of pain. Once we have done that, we can secure the lead which exits the skin in the low back, which is connected to a generator and the patient is discharged to home,” says Dr. Dawson.
If pain is reduced, a surgeon implants the stimulator. It comes with a handheld programmer so patients control the level of current.
“I tell patients that the pain will most likely not be eliminated but more likely reduced and we would be happy with a 50% reduction in their pain. In Antonio’s case, he had a complete 100% reduction,” says Dr. Dawson.
“I'm able to do 45 minutes every morning of exercises. And that contributed to be losing 107 pounds over the year and a half,” says Calzado.
Blocking the sensation of pain- stimulated a healthy, new beginning.