Thirteen years ago, Eric Phillips who was on his way to becoming a lawyer says how a single flight of stairs changed everything. "The top step had ice, and I went straight over backwards," he says. "I wasn't found for three hours, and when they found me, I had blood coming out of my ears and my nose. I don't have a personal recollection for two and a half years after that moment. "Eric suffered a massive head injury. "My pain just got worse and worse, until I couldn't stand it. I mean, it was so sharp, I didn't know what to do. It was really hard to deal with life," he says.
Most people know the pain of a headache, but for many, the symptoms come and go or are short-lived. But, there are some people who have constant, chronic headache pain that simply does not respond to standard therapy. Often brought on by a traumatic head injury or after brain surgery, there has been little to offer these patients, until now.
The answer to Eric's pain and headaches came from a pain specialist at RUSH University Medical Center in Chicago. To relieve the pain, electrodes were connected to nerves that exit the brain. An implanted battery then sends signals through the neck to turn off the pain. Specialists say , each nerve has a positive and negative charge to it, and by stimulating those nerves, you can kind of reverse the polarity of the nerves. In patients who are good responders, this is a lifesaver. "It's given me a whole new life," Eric says. "I feel like I started all over."
However specialists say this procedure is not meant for patients who have headaches for just a few months. It's for patients who have had headaches for years and have been resilient to conventional treatments.