EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - It is a remarkable story about a pain management device that has changed a man's life in Evansville. It is relieving him of not just his pain, but also full body tremors.
It also means he is no longer dependent on opioids.
"With this off, the pain has come back 10 fold. It hurts tremendously," says patient Donnie Howard.
What started as a shake in his right index finger grew to extreme tremors down the right side of his body. It was debilitating for Howard with a wife and four sons for whom to care.
With the tremors came immense pain. The pain meant relying on opioids just to get through the day.
"I don't like the way it makes me feel. I don't like feeling fuzzy-headed, not clear," says Howard.
That is a feeling of the past now that Howard has a spinal cord stimulator. It is a permanent implant to relieve pain from nerve damage.
Howard or his doctor can adjust the device to his pain level.
"This is good. That means this is perfect for me. This is no shaking. This is my gait. I can walk. I can run," says Howard.
He can now run after his kids, build them a clubhouse, and finally get back to woodworking.
"I wasn't able to walk in my yard without falling," says Howard.
These are all normal activities once stolen from Donnie but now returned.
"I had received instant relief. It was amazing. The best thing is I woke up. I wasn't shaking. I was not shaking at all. I could walk without the use of the walker," says Howard.
Coming in with Parkinson's and neuropathy, Doctor Frank McDonnell saw Donnie as a perfect candidate.
"For Donnie, the reason I went on my algorithm for spinal cord stimulation was to decrease his pain from his peripheral neuropathy and decrease his need for opioids and decrease his need for pain meds and if he had improvement of his Parkinson symptoms that would be great," says McDonnell.
When Howard switches it off, the change is dramatic.
"I turn this back on It comes back instant relief. better than what any pain medication can do for you. It's changed my life," says Howard.
Howard calls it a miracle that the tremors and pain are only temporary.