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James’ story: Peripheral nerve treatment is ‘miracle relief’

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After living with a painful nerve condition for 14 years, James Guay has found relief. It’s nothing short of a miracle, he says.

James, a retired nuclear power plant worker, was diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy in 2004. Due to advances in ultrasound medicine, Dr. Danqing Guo, a BayCare Clinic pain and rehab medicine physician, was able to determine that James’ neuropathy was due to peripheral nerve entrapment and was not a traditional peripheral neuropathy.

It’s a condition that occurs when a nerve is trapped or compressed, causing direct pressure on the nerve. It results in pain, tingling, numbness or weakness, usually in the hands or feet.

For James, the trapped nerve in his feet caused an intense, stabbing pain.

“It literally felt like someone was driving a knife through my foot,” he says. “It became an electrical shock type of thing. … It’s like being electrocuted over and over. It typically starts around 7 o’clock at night and it’d go to 3 o’clock in the morning. I did that for 14 years.”

James tried foot baths, treatments designed to relieve nerve and muscle pain, and treatments that stimulate nerves using electric currents. His condition wasn’t improving, so he sought help from his primary care physician, who referred him to Dr. Guo.

Guo treated James’ peripheral nerve entrapment using ultrasound-guided hydrodissection.

Hydrodissection is a non-surgical procedure in which small amounts of fluid are injected around nerves to create space between them and impinging tissues or tendons.

“With our naked eye, sometimes you can’t find it (the nerve). But with ultrasound, you can find a specific nerve impingement,” Guo says. “With ultrasound to guide you, we use a very tiny needle. We go into this area and try to use hydrodissection to separate this soft tissue from the nerves. So, nerve impingement will be released,” providing pain relief.

Guo says it’s common for people who share James’ condition to go years without treatment or lasting relief because they don’t know about this treatment option.

“This was a very typical case,” Guo says. “(James) has seen so many doctors and everybody is telling him ‘You have to live with this.’ Then I introduced this new procedure to him. … We tried and blocked a few nerves through the hydrodissection and his symptoms have tremendously improved.”

Since his treatment, James can go about three days with small amounts of pain or no pain.

“It’s been a miracle relief for me,” he says.

The best part?

“Being able to sleep. I can now go to bed at a regular hour,” James says.

BayCare Clinic Pain & Rehab Medicine patient


Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Author: Femi Cole