Rosa’s story

Rosa participates in the feasibility study.

My back pain started five years ago when I slipped on a plastic sheet at home. I felt my legs going one way and my upper body the other. Over time I recovered somewhat but still had severe low back pain that was there all the time. The doctor I saw prescribed a physiotherapy exercise program but after the program my pain was still there. I had to give up my work as a special police constable, a job which I loved to do, and started working as counselor at a mental health assessment center.

I eventually lost my mobility completely. The back pain was there all the time and I found myself sitting on the couch and lying in bed rather than doing the things I needed to do. The 20 minute walk to the bus stop sometimes took me an hour and a half because my legs did not want to move any faster. One day at work, I just fell through my legs and couldn’t stand up straight anymore. It got so bad that I could hardly sit, or even lie down. I started taking more and stronger pain killers to the point that I felt nauseous and dizzy. Over time, because I was no longer active, I gained about 18 kilos.

I missed my active and thrill seeking lifestyle filled of long runs, parachute jumps, fast car rides and daring home improvement projects. I thought I was invincible. I could not be like this for the rest of my life.

Then, about two years ago, I heard of a clinical study at a local hospital for people with low back pain. I called them and after undergoing a number of visits and tests I was invited to participate.

The implantation of the leads and device did not take very long and a week after surgery I started using the device twice a day for 20 minutes. I quickly got used to the strong muscle contractions in my back during the treatment sessions.

I already started feeling a difference after a few weeks. I gradually got better and was able to do more and I stopped taking painkillers for my back pain.

Today, almost two years after starting, my back has improved a lot. The pain used to be at the high end of the 0 – 10 scale, and I am fairly stable at a 1 or a 2 now. I can do most of the work at home and in the garden myself. I enjoy walking my dog Kira and I even went on a quad ride with friends. Back at work I am making long days but I’m doing what I love, working with people. I just need to find the time to exercise more and lose some weight so I can get my old lifestyle back. I want to be invincible again.

The biggest thing for me is that I no longer have to depend on my husband, daughter, neighbors and colleagues to do pretty much everything for me. It really is fun to get “off the chain”.