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Special Device May Help Alleviate Back Pain

PITTSBURGH (CBS) -- Brian Muscreave has trouble with any kind of movement.

He broke his back slipping on black ice two years ago.

Two surgeries later and every kind of therapy possible, he's still in agony.

"It's a constant pain that goes down from my back, down both legs, and then into feet. Then, in my feet, it feels like there's almost like needles," Muscreave said.

At 50, he's no longer able to work and even the simple joys of playing with his grandson are limited.

"He wants pop-pop to pick him and and you can't," Muscreave said.

Muscreave is hoping the Evoke device will give him back his life. The Evoke system is the newest spinal cord stimulation therapy.

"I think the potential is that this will be a big breakthrough," Dr. Steven Rosen, a pain management expert. "In real time, we are reading the patients pain and responding to it. That is a major advance in pain management."

The device is surgically implanted in the back with a lead that goes up the spinal column.

The device creates an electrical stimulation that interrupts pain signals to the brain. It's the first that automatically adjusts to movements and variations in pain.

"The signal can change depending on the patient's position, or coughing, or whether they're in the car," Dr. Rosen said.

Muscreave just hopes he'll be able to get off a fentynal patch and oxycodone he's been using for pain relief.

"I'm praying that it can help enough to get off some of the drugs," he said. "I don't want to be on this medication the rest of my life."

Since the therapy doesn't work for everyone, Muscreave was able to try a portable, external unit before deciding to get the surgery.

"It helps with the nerve pain its sort of a tingling feeling," he said. "I think it's great; it's awesome and I really believe it's going to be something."

The clinical trial on Evoke is continuing, but preliminary data shows a majority of patients who've had it, have found sustained pain relief.

For more information on Evoke, visit this link.

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