AUSTIN, Texas - A slip changed Larry Baker's course.
“I fell off a three-foot ladder on hard concrete. I said, 'well you know I’ll get better.' I didn’t get better,” he said.
In fact, it got worse. Over the next five years, Baker found himself practically paralyzed from the fall struggling to make the smallest movements without intense pain shooting up his back.
“I couldn’t play with my grandkids. One of my hobbies is gardening I couldn’t bend down to garden,” he said.
But a new procedure, called spinal cord stimulation, is helping Baker walk a little taller.
“This is a great option because it reduces pain without having to rely on medications. It’s a minimally invasive procedure. It’s basically day surgery,” said Dr. Genaro Gutierrez of Central Texas Pain center.
Thin titanium cables are aligned along the affected parts of the patient’s spine. These cables send small electrical pulses that block the sensation of pain. It's connected to a small disc.
“It’s very small—it’s like a pacemaker, it resembles a pacemaker and the battery and it sits inside his body,” said Dr. Gutierrez.
For Baker, it’s a new lease on life.
“I’m 75, but it feels like I’m 40,” he said.
It’s a chance to take another step forward and not look back.
“Last week I played touch football with my grandson, couldn’t do that before. I flew a kite. We fly kites. I can bend down and plant something. It’s back to a normal life,” said Baker.
Studies show as many 80 percent of patients report long-term relief after the procedure.
Spinal cord stimulation therapy is reversible if a patient decides to discontinue the treatment.