James Bennett - Attacked by a bull...


Monday, February 15, 2010

James Bennett - Attacked by a bull on his farm in April 2004 and suffered with chronic pain ever since.

“The treatments I have got have helped me a lot. I hadn’t realised how much my headaches, neck and shoulder pain had taken over my life until I started to get the treatments. Now I know what life is like without constant pain.”

James was hospitalised with numerous broken ribs, a broken shoulder and a punctured lung. He spent a month in hospital recovering medically before being discharged. For the 6 months following his accident, James underwent intensive rehabilitation and physiotherapy, and had to relearn simple things like how to write and walk again.

“What was important to me was that I was alive and whatever came out of this would be OK.”  

As a result of the accident James’s now suffers from headaches which he thought would go away with time - they never did.  “The headaches dragged on and I felt tired all the time. First thing in the morning my head would be hopping, No day was without headaches, I would wake up in the night with them."

After 6 months of rehabilitation James went through a period of depression for which he was prescribed antidepressants and counselling - this went on for about a year during which time the headaches continued. “In these 1 ½ years different tablets would dull the pain, but not take it away. I was only able to work a half day at best which, if it continued, would mean that I would not be able to continue running the farm.” In the following 12 months James underwent various blood tests, ultrasounds, brain scans, etc. none of which could pinpoint the cause of these debilitating pain episodes.

“The pain would come up from my left shoulder, up the back of my neck to my forehead and then into my jaw. When it reached full strength it would go down to my elbows and pulsate back up into my head, and then go down my back to my knees. At it’s worst my sight was blurred.”

Finally, over 2 years after the accident, James’s was referred by his local hospital in Kilkenny to the Pain Clinic at St Vincent’s University Hospital, where he was diagnosed with Occipital Neuralgia. “I was told that I had nerve damage and was offered treatment to reprogram the nerve.” 

James had his first PENS therapy to his left shoulder. PENS is a minimally invasive diagnostic therapy, which enables the physician to determine whether a patient is likely to benefit from an implanted stimulation device, although for some patients it may also provide ongoing pain management, thereby avoiding the need for more invasive therapies, with their attendant risks. There are also patients for whom an implanted device is not appropriate and in these cases PENS therapy offers an alternative where other less invasive or pharmacological modalities have failed.

He was treated with Program C (cycling low and high voltage) at 2 volts for 1200 seconds. “I could feel the pulse in my shoulder and felt a bit dizzy afterwards. The treatment kicked in after 2 days and I did not realise how locked up my shoulder was. It now has a lot more free movement, and the pain down into my elbows has gone.”  14 weeks post PENS therapy the pain had not returned.

Some weeks later James had a second treatment of PENS therapy to the greater occipital nerves (bilateral), this time for 1500 seconds at 2.5 volts on Program C.  The following day James reported neck stiffness and dizziness and 2 days later reported that the pain in his neck and the back of his head, to the level of his ears, had disappeared. He also reported that he had free movement in his neck. 10 weeks post this treatment of PENS therapy this pain had not returned.

On a third occasion James had PENS therapy to the Supraorbital nerves using Program C at 3 volts for 1500 seconds. “I was told it might be very painful, but wanted to go ahead with it as I had got on so well with the 2 previous treatments. It was not too bad.” “The results from this 3rd treatment are different from the first 2. I get 2 good days with very little headache and the next day is fairly bad… the pain goes from a 2-3 on a good day to a 8-9 on a bad day. I have found that on good days I don’t feel as tired as before and that food even tastes better.” This continued for over 4 weeks.