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Aylsham mother helped by pioneering pain treatment

PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 April 2013

Hayley Waller, from Aylsham, who has had a spinal cord stimulation system fitted. Pictured with the control device.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Hayley Waller, from Aylsham, who has had a spinal cord stimulation system fitted. Pictured with the control device. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

An Aylsham mother who suffers with chronic pain has become the first person in East Anglia - and one of the first in Britain - to be fitted with a pioneering system.

Hayley Waller, 42, from Mileham Drive in Aylsham, has suffered with pain in her left leg since 2010 and was fitted with a new spinal cord stimulation system compatible with MRI scans on March 25 at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

Dr Mike Sidery, consultant in anaesthetics and pain medicine at the NNUH, said the development was “reassuring” for patients who had the implant and previously could not undergo an MRI scan because it would cause major damage to their spinal cords.

The technology includes metal electrodes and wires, which are connected to a person’s spinal cord. These wires are powered by a battery fitted in the patient’s back and vibrations are sent to where the pain is. But over the past year the system has been adapted so people with the implants can have an MRI scan without having the system removed beforehand.

Dr Sidery said the new system can now be turned off by a remote control – similar to turning a mobile phone to aeroplane mode.

The electrodes at the end of the wires are also protected by a mesh, which prevents the metal wires heating up.

Mrs Waller said: “I have previously had MRI scans to try to find out the cause of my leg pain, so it is great that I have had this implant fitted and am still be able to have MRI scans.”

The spinal cord stimulation systems are used to help people with leg and arm pain but not back pain.

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