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Patient Spotlight: Beacon Doctors Team Up to Restore Active Life for Patient with Sudden Pain

Unless there is an accident or an injury, pain usually grows slowly over time. Gradually building until a specific “pain start date” may even be difficult to identify. Not so for 71-year-old Patricia Amshoff. 

No car accident. No fall. But one day, this healthy, active adult had no pain and the next day, she did. A lot of pain.

Pat immediately rattles off the date, “it was November 19, 2022.” She remembers it because she was watching her grandson play in a basketball tournament (just one day before his 11th birthday). While on the bleachers at LaSalle High School, she was admittedly (and happily) jumping up and down to cheer on his team. The next morning, she had trouble even getting out of bed. In fact, she could barely move. 

She couldn’t sit, stand, or walk up and down stairs without excruciating pain. Sleep was hard to come by. She used ice, heat, rest, and even bought a new recliner. All to no avail. She needed expert care. 

Pat already had some experience with orthopedic care and physical therapy. The doctors and staff at Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine had provided her relief in the past for various issues over close to ten years. She had already had four fusions (two spine, one cervical, and one foot). So, in late 2022, she sought Beacon’s expertise and care again. 

“I wasn’t asking for drugs; I was asking for relief,” she shared. 

For this pain, she started with Dr. Jaideep Chunduri who specializes in managing spinal conditions. There were scans, exams and six weeks of physical therapy that provided some solid short-term relief. However, at this point, it became clear that she needed a more long-term solution. Dr. Chunduri mentioned the possibility of working with his colleague Dr. Vic Manocha (who specializes in interventional pain management) to discuss Peripheral Nerve Stimulation or PNS.

PNS uses electrical energy (rapid electrical pulses) to block specific nerves from sending pain signals to the brain. Delivering these pulses to the nerve changes how it behaves and how often it fires. PNS placement involves a minor procedure that places a small electrical device (a wire-like electrode) next to one of the peripheral nerves (located along the brain or spinal cord).  

And although this seemed like a viable option, her insurance company said that at that time, it wasn’t a medical necessity. So, Dr. Chunduri brought in Beacon physician, Dr. Monir Tabbosha who specializes in treating complex spine problems. After working with her, he felt that the pain was possibly caused by bursitis in her hip. Given that, they began to focus on her SI joint fusion. She received injections, this time. They felt good for a while, but again that relief was only temporary. And now, not only was she in pain, but sometimes the back of her thigh was going numb.

In March of 2023, Dr. Chunduri and Dr. Tabbosha consulted and referred her to their Beacon colleague, Dr. Manocha for a PNS trial that would last about seven days. They found that this would satisfy the insurance requirements and might just provide the long-term results she was seeking.

After the trial period, Pam reported that her pain was still apparent but now, controllable. Since she did not want to endure a second physically uncomfortable holiday season, Dr. Manocha performed the full PNS on November 19, 2023. One year – to the day – that symptoms began.

“My pain is 90% gone,” Pat said. “I am almost fully back to normal.” She has been released and believes she’s on the right track now. She must be careful about how quickly she moves, but she says that has not been a problem. “Down the road, if I believe that the PNS is not working for me anymore, I can have it removed,” she added.

“I trust everyone I worked with at Beacon. They listened to me,” Pat recounted. “It was clear that we were working together to solve my problem.” She had previously been an active person, walking daily and fully engaged when watching her grandson compete (even shooting hoops with him in the driveway). Pain took that away. “I am not out of the woods yet, but I am on the very edge of it,” she smiled. “I hope to be pain-free soon.”

Welcome back, Pat. Game on.