Anthony Reddick Patient Story 2square

Article

Sep 29, 2020

Life Gets “Better and Better”: Semmes Murphey Patient finds relief from debilitating back pain with spinal cord stimulation.

Semmes Murphey patient Anthony Reddick struggled with debilitating back pain before finding relief with a spinal cord stimulation procedure done by Dr. Jay McDonald.

“Well, first … I was murdered,” is how Anthony Reddick, 59, begins describing the journey that brought him to Semmes Murphey Clinic.

Anthony grew up on the south side of Chicago and was shot seven times during an incident in his early 30s. “I died twice that night. I had bullets in the T6 and T7 vertebrae of my spine and my thighs, knees, and ankle. I’ve got two prosthetic knees and have sciatica, arthritis, deteriorating bone disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Doctors can’t remove the bullets in my spine because there’s a 50/50 chance I could be paralyzed,” he says.

Anthony lived, but in significant pain. He says he could hardly stand or walk, couldn’t sleep, and was unable to do even basic household chores. Repeated cervical and spinal injections offered only temporary relief. Last spring, he and Dr. Jay McDonald, a pain management specialist at Semmes Murphey, decided he could be a good candidate for a spinal cord stimulator.

A spinal cord stimulator is an electrical device implanted under the skin to help control spine-related pain. Two small wires are placed in the epidural space above the spinal cord and connected to a stimulator. The stimulator sends electrical signals that interrupt the nerve pathway, meaning the patient doesn’t feel their pain as acutely or at all. The patient uses a hand-held remote to adjust the frequency and intensity of the signals.

But before the device is implanted, patients must complete a trial period with a small, external stimulator worn on a belt.

“I had the trial unit put in on a Monday at 6 a.m., and by the time we were driving home, I was already feeling much better,” Anthony says. “During that entire week, I just got better and better. I could bend and stoop, get up and down out of a chair like a normal person. When Friday came, and I had to have it removed, I didn’t want to give it up!”

Since having the permanent spinal cord stimulator implanted, his life has improved dramatically. “I can do so many things I couldn’t do before. I can play with my dogs. I can help around the house, load the dishwasher, and make the bed. Before, that stuff would take me all day. I even have a part-time job at a restaurant, where I wash dishes and clean up a bit. I’m even sleeping better,” he says happily.

“I’m living on borrowed time, and God has been good to me … you just don’t know!” he says. “I was constantly getting injections and having to take more pain pills. I am so grateful to wake up every day and know that I can move around without pain. I suffered for so many years, and now my life is wonderful!” Dr. McDonald weighed in on his patient's case. "This is one of many stories that I hear all of the time after patients experience the relief that a spinal cord stimulator can give them. I am so happy to be able to offer this procedure that truly can give a patient their life back!"

Request an appointment here to set up a consultation with a member of our pain management team.