By | February 23, 2011

KISS is a military acronym that means Keep It Simple Stupid. At Schlesinger Pain Centers we always try to do the simple and noninvasive things first.

Yes, I know that Valentine’s Day is over and no, this is not a blog about amorous desires. KISS is actually a military acronym that stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. Now like all military acronyms this sounds so obvious as to be trivial, but it’s not. I am constantly amazed at how often people, myself included create complexity where it need not exist and overlook the simple solution.

As an example I would like to discuss two patients who were treated in the Burbank office yesterday for ulnar neuropathy. One patient had suffered for 20 years after a severe car accident left her with a numb, immobile and painful forearm. The chronic pain became much worse after an operation 3 years ago designed to remove scar tissue.

The second patient had suffered for ten years. She stated that at that time she was in a “minor” traffic accident during which she hit her head on the steering wheel, but did not loose consciousness or receive any medical treatment. A few weeks after the accident the patient began to experience pain in the tip of her left pinky finger. Over the subsequent years the pain became more severe and spread up the arm almost to the shoulder. Finally, the pain got so bad that the patient underwent surgical transposition of the ulnar nerve, but unfortunately without improvement.

Despite 10-20 years of suffering, visits to multiple physicians and at least one operative procedure, no one had tried a simple, cheap (about $100) and noninvasive TENS unit (Trans-Cutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator). With in seconds of applying the patches and turning on the unit both patients reported an 80-90% improvement in their pain, which continued to improve over the remainder of the visit.

The moral of the story is not that I am a genius, far from it and if at the end of this blog any of you still ascribe to me superhuman powers, I would urge you to contact my wife at and she will be more than happy to disabuse you of these misconceptions. In some seriousness I must confess that in a tertiary care, referral practice such as this, I have the advantage of playing last and knowing what hasn’t worked, but still it is best to do the simple things first, dot all of the “i’s” and cross all of the “t’s”.

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