Spinal Chord Stimulators Can Help Reduce Pain

Spinal chord stimulators often are used to treat pain that does not respond to less invasive options. Advances in technology have helped people with chronic pain to reduce or eliminate their need for pain medications. To learn if you are a candidate for a spinal chord stimulator, schedule an appointment with one of the pain experts at Tri-State Pain Institute. Just call 814-833-7246.

Pain Experts at Tri-State Pain Institute, (l to r) Drs. Paul Diefenbach, Jung-Woo Ma, Timothy Ko and Joseph Thomas

Imaging Services at Tri-State Pain Institute earns three-year MRI accreditation

Imaging Services at Tri-State Pain Institute has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). MRI is a noninvasive medical test that utilizes magnetic fields to produce anatomical images of internal body parts to help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

The ACR gold seal of accreditation represents the highest level of image quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting ACR Practice Parameters and Technical Standards after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field.

Tri-State Pain Institute Among First Pain Clinics To Use Non-Opiod Treatment For Chronic Pain

Spectra WaveWriter™ Spinal Cord Stimulator System allows patients to combine therapeutic options and customize treatment 

Tri-State Pain Institute in Erie, Pa., is among the first pain clinics to offer the Spectra WaveWriter™ Spinal Cord Stimulator System to patients with chronic pain. It is the first and only system approved by the FDA to simultaneously provide paresthesia-based and sub-perception stimulation, two therapies used in providing pain relief. Paresthesia-based therapy provides pain relief with a light tingling sensation while sub-perception therapy works without that sensation.

According to Dr. Joseph Thomas, director and founder of the Pain Institute, spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is an FDA approved non-opioid treatment option for people with chronic pain in the legs and back. The device sends low electrical pulses to the spinal cord that interrupt pain signals.  Two thin wires, called leads, are implanted in the spine and powered by a rechargeable battery which is implanted in the chest.

With the Spectra WaveWriter System, patients can combine both of these therapies to target one specific area of pain or use each therapy as needed to best manage multiple areas of pain. Patients provide real-time feedback using the system’s remote control. The Spectra WaveWriter System was developed with more than a decade of clinical research focused on optimizing sub-perception stimulation and delivering multiple therapies intended for more effective, long-term pain relief.

“Everyone experiences pain differently and patients can sometimes become less responsive to therapy as their pain changes over time,” said Dr. Timothy Ko, interventional pain specialist at Tri-State Pain. “The Spectra WaveWriter System is breakthrough technology that offers patients flexibility to meet their individual needs for lasting relief. Treatment options like this are important as we face the challenge of providing patients relief from pain without relying solely on opioids.”

More than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain and it is the number one cause of disability in adults in the U.S. SCS was introduced more than 40 years ago. Unlike most surgical procedures, it is reversible. Patients undergo a trial period allowing them to evaluate it before deciding to receive a permanent implant.

To learn more, contact Tri-State Pain Institute at 814-833-7246.

Tri-State Pain Institute To Re-Open Corry Office

Tri-State Pain Institute, the region’s leading pain management center, is re-opening its office in Corry at 108 West Smith Street. No referral is needed so patients can schedule appointments directly by calling 814-833-7246.

Under the direction of Dr. Joseph Thomas, the Pain Institute offers treatment and relief for acute and chronic pain. Common patient problems include back, neck, leg, joint and shoulder pain as well as pain from arthritis, headaches, fibromyalgia, post surgery and cancer complications.

“At Tri-State Pain, we help our patients understand their pain condition and develop a plan to improve their quality of life,” said Dr. Thomas. “We use a conservative approach to enable patients to avoid unnecessary surgery and prevent problems with medications.”

Dr. Thomas noted that Heather Adams Szymczak, a board-certified physician assistant with more than a decade of experience in pain management, will be the primary clinician at the Corry office.

In addition to its Corry location, Tri-State Pain Institute has offices in Erie and Jamestown, New York. The Pain Institute’s Erie office also offers on-site imaging services and physical therapy. To learn more, visit