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Back Injuries Most Common, Most Costly Work-Related Injuries

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Rochester: Back Injuries Most Common, Most Costly Work-Related Injuries
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Back injuries are the most common and most costly work-related injuries in the U.S., in fact it effects one million workers each year.

Thomas Burrows' accident happened about five years.

"It had been plowed and I hit a piece of ice went up in the air and fell down and actually split my back at the top of the bank and crushed the lower spine," said Burrows. "It changed everything immensely."

As he managed his pain he continued to work but not for long.

"About a month later I found out I was terminated from my job," Burrows said.

Things got worse. It took nearly a year for insurance to approve the surgery he needed, more bad news.

"It failed and I got spondolosis, failed back syndrome," Burrows said.

After years of suffering he catches a break, he was a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator.

Neurosurgeon Dr. Julie Pilitsis implanted two leads along his spine. The stimulators scramble the signals that transmit pain to the brain.

"You are going to feel pain but the way it is transmitted up to the brain is altered by this technology. There are a number of different nerve fibers that go up to the brain it preferentially stimulates the one that cause vibration and paresthesia feelings of tingling as opposed to the fiber stimulate pain," said Pilitsis.

In 50 percent of the cases it works, but Thomas didn't get the relief he had hoped for.

"It did the legs and feet but nothing in the lower spine so they decided to go back in again and put another stimulator in," said Burrows.

Thomas was given the option to replace his current stimulator with a advance one that had just been FDA approved. Watch for tomorrows Health Report to see if the high-tech stimulator helps Thomas find his relief.

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