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Medical device could help Parkinson’s patients

Hinsdale – A medical device used to manage patients’ chronic pain could aid sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease, an Adventist Hinsdale Hospital doctor has discovered. Dr. Ahmed Elborno, medical director of the hospital’s Pain Management Center, recently implanted a spinal cord stimulator device in a patient that not only quelled her chronic pain but also put an end to her Parkinson’s-like tremors. He plans to seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approval to use the stimulator device to treat patients with tremors. A series of clinical trials will likely follow.

“To me, this is not just a treatment,” said Elborno, an interventional pain practitioner. “It could be a cure.”


The patient, Joyce Graham, was in a bad car accident 40 years ago that resulted in a lifelong battle with pain. Several back surgeries and spinal meningitis also left her with nerve damage. Doctors prescribed morphine for pain relief, but Graham said so many years of relying on it was “destroying her.”


Upon her doctor’s recommendation, the 68-year-old Wheaton resident made an appointment to see Elborno, who outfitted Graham with the stimulator device, which sends mild electric shocks to interrupt the spinal cord’s pain signal to the brain. The shocks are not painful but cause a mild tingling sensation.


Not only did the device relieve her pain, but it also unexpectedly stopped the tremors she had experienced in her right arm since contracting spinal meningitis 11 years ago. And it put an end to her bradykinesia, a movement slowness typically associated with Parkinson’s that made it difficult for Graham to touch her nose with her right hand.


“I’m a very hands-on person,” Graham said. “I laid the floors in my house, made my own curtains, sewed clothes for my grandchildren. But with the tremors, there were so many things I could no longer do. I couldn’t even put my lipstick on straight. I couldn’t do my hair.”


The trial simulation worked so well that Elborno implanted two permanent stimulators in Graham a few weeks later. Her pain and tremors are in the past and her doctor has decreased her daily morphine doses.


“I have 11 grandchildren who have been praying all this time that I would get rid of the tremor and come out of pain,” Graham said. “Their prayers have been answered with Dr. Elborno’s treatment. It’s given me my life back.”

Beyond being a highly successful pain management clinic, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital’s Pain Center integrates a very challenging medical discipline, a unique business and leadership philosophy and a personal commitment to excellence by providing the highest quality, minimally invasive surgical and clinical pain management services.


The center’s cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic services enable patients to achieve improved function and a future where pain is controlled. Organized around the needs of patients with chronic or acute pain, the center is a premier regional treatment facility for chronic pain management. Its interdisciplinary medical team can provide understanding and encouragement where patients struggling with pain could not previously find answers. Many patients suffer from back pain, neck pain, chronic pain, reflex sympathy dystrophy, sciatica, spinal stenosis, radiculopathy, tennis elbow, headache, migraine, and neuralgia.


Call 630-856-PAIN (7246) or visit or for more information.