Take a moment and think about all of the things you do on a regular basis — go to the grocery store, take a walk around the neighborhood, drive your car. Now imagine not being able to do any of those things due to chronic pain. For Diane Phipps, of St. Louis, Mo., that was her reality.
Diane, a multiple myeloma survivor, suffered from chronic back pain for more than a decade. “I was very frustrated that I wasn’t able to exercise and partake in normal physical activity because of my back pain,” says Diane. “I was gaining weight, I was depressed and I felt like I wasn’t living my life to the fullest.” As a 29-year Army veteran, living a stagnant lifestyle was not something she was used to.
After being prescribed countless pain medications and receiving multiple injections that provided no relief, Diane believed she would never overcome her pain. That is, until she met Chris Beuer, MD, a pain management specialist and medical director of the Pain Management Center at Christian Hospital.
The Pain Management Center provides comprehensive services to patients with chronic pain that negatively impacts their quality of life. The treatment options available include advanced methods such as pain pumps, spinal cord stimulators and decompressions, as well as injections and medications. Dr. Beuer most commonly treats pain located in the neck, back, hips and knees, along with post-operative pain and diabetic neuropathy.
“Diane is a typical patient who comes to the Pain Management Center,” says Dr. Beuer. “She went to other clinics, tried various medications and injections and nothing seemed to work.” After conducting an examination of Diane and learning more about her pain, Dr. Beuer decided her best course of treatment was a spinal cord stimulator, which sends a mild electric current to the spinal cord to alleviate pain.
Diane first underwent a six-day trial, where two small wires were implanted into the back through a needle. This 20-minute outpatient procedure lets patients return home the same day. A week later, Diane’s pain was almost completely gone. Due to the success of the trial, Dr. Beuer permanently implanted the stimulator.
Every year, Dr. Beuer implants roughly 100 spinal stimulators. These advanced procedures are proven to be substantially superior to medications, injections and further surgeries. “The issue with many pain medications and injections is that they don’t provide permanent relief, so they’re rarely a solution to long-term, chronic pain,” says Dr. Beuer.
Since having the stimulator implanted, Diane has been able to take back control of her life. “Thanks to the Pain Management Center, I am finally pain free,” says Diane. “I’m enjoying life in a way that I couldn’t before. Now, I’m able to drive, go shopping and volunteer. I was even able to participate in a Veteran’s Day one-mile walk.”
Christian Hospital provides state-of-theart pain relief treatments to local patients in the community.
“I would recommend Dr. Beuer and Christian Hospital’s Pain Management Center because they treat the person rather than just the pain,” says Diane. “I felt like they looked at me as a whole person and not just someone with a bad back. They knew me. I told them about my life, what I’d like to do, what I can’t do, and they came up with a plan that would help me specifically. My physical and emotional health is so much better. I have everything to look forward to and I’m not looking back.”