Home' Christchurch Mail : May 23rd 2013 Contents 5
CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, MAY 23, 2013
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Jeff & Jenny
Shock tactics get builder to work
ON THE JOB: Daryl Lovell, shown with his charger attached to the spinal stimulator, is back on his feet and working
on the rebuild.
put end to
By GARY MOODY
A MEDICAL procedure used
relatively sparingly in New Zea-
land has provided the spark to get
a Christchurch builder back on
site and part of the rebuild.
South Brighton s Darryl Lovell
calls himself the $35,000 man.
That was the price of a
lifechanging device -- a spinal
stimulator -- implanted into his
body to emit a low level electric
charge to drastically reduce the
debilitating and intense pain he
has suffered since injuring his
back in 2008.
Now he just feels a tingle and,
after being laid up for years, is
working on the Rangers Park site
in Bromley building temporary
He wants to tell others who may
be in a similar situation about his
experience, so they know there is
He was lifting on a worksite
when he damaged his back.
The result was crippling back
spasms which left him unable to
work or fulfil a normal life.
I would have to call an ambu-
lance to get some pain relief, he
I was on about 60 pills a day,
and was in and out of hospital.
Two years ago he had the spinal
stimulator installed under the
skin on his chest and electrodes
implanted adjacent to the spinal
cord by neurosurgeons at
He carries a charger around
with him wherever he goes, and
has to sit down for a couple of
hours on a Sunday to top it up.
It has taken time to get the set-
tings on the device right.
He said his employer --
Southern Construction -- took a
chance on him, but he is able to
work like any other builder on
The device was paid for by ACC,
which was initially sceptical he
would ever pick up his tools again.
I told them I would build
Now I am an ACC success
story, he said.
Mr Lovell had the device
installed through the Burwood
Hospital Pain Management
Its head, Dr Richard Acland,
said the stimulator could reduce
the pain of many other people if
the use of electricity in the pain
management field was taken on-
board more by the medical
profession in New Zealand.
He said there was scepticism
about it, though it was taken
Worldwide there were 40,000
spinal stimulators implanted last
year, 800 in Australia, 25 in New
Zealand -- with six of those in
Christchurch. Dr Acland said the
device was also effective in
controlling angina, and had been
used since the 1990s in New
Battery technology had imp-
roved since then, meaning it did
not have to be changed as often,
and it was a more responsive
He said Mr Lovell had no other
real option, as further surgery
would probably have worsened his
condition. It had worked well for
him, letting him go back to work.
It was not only pain relief -- it
was functional improvement.
While it might not work for
every pain sufferer, Dr Acland
said there could be 1000 people in
the country it could be effective for
if they were given the option.
He encouraged people with
chronic pain to do some research
themselves on the internet to find
out more, so they could see if it
could benefit them.
It can transform a life, he said.
Builders advised to check security
POLICE ARE urging builders and
contractors to be vigilant about
securing construction sites, after a
fire damaged a house under con-
struction in Vernon Tce, St Mar-
tins, last weekend.
It was not known how the offen-
ders gained access to the site.
A police spokesman said regula-
tions requiring fencing around
building sites acted as some deter-
rent, but contractors should check
fences and locks to ensure they
could not be breached.
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