How fitness icon Erika overcame her chronic pain

27 September 2023

The millions of people who follow Erika Rischko’s social media channels do so to get regular workout sessions that may include plank challenges, burpees, ab rollouts and working with 50kg weights. What sets the woman behind the channel apart from most of her fitness icon peers is that Erika is 83 years old. According to Erika, her workout videos are a fountain of youth. “I enjoy trying out new things and testing my limits,” she says with a broad smile.

But when Erika first experienced chronic pain at the end of 2017, it sent her into a downward spiral. “I often sat in my room and asked myself what I was doing wrong,” she recalls. “I could not be as active as I wanted to be, and even leisure walks were so tough I had to stop every ten meters.” Chronic pain is a very common health issue, with 1 in 5 adults in Europe affected. While acute pain typically lasts no longer than two months when treated properly and occurs immediately after an injury, chronic pain is defined as a continuous and long-term pain lasting for more than 12 weeks. Multiple doctor appointments and initial treatments with medication did not bring lasting relief. “It really was a difficult time. My quality of life was severely impacted,” she says. Following a referral to a pain clinic near Cologne, Germany, she first learned about spinal cord stimulation (SCS). Using a small device called a “stimulator” and thin, insulated wires called leads, SCS generates mild electrical pulses that interrupt pain signals before the patient feels the actual pain.

After learning the benefits and risks of the therapy, Erika had the device implanted in her spine. For Erika, the SCS treatment brought almost immediate relief from her pain. “Look at me -- I run around, do all sorts of things, and can live my life the way I like it: active, together with my family and with a lot of fitness. I am very grateful.”

Watch Erika’s inspiring story here:

If you want to learn more about chronic pain and treatment methods, visit Chronic Pain - Boston Scientific



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