Neurolumen’s pain management technology a labor of love

OKLAHOMA CITY — When Shelly Henry first heard that her daughter might never walk again, she decided that was just not an option. After a devastating car accident left Kara with shattered vertebrae, Henry, who had no experience with medical technology, knew that she was the best hope for her daughter to walk again.

Kara was facing a life of chronic pain, perhaps confined to a wheelchair and with little chance that she would ever have children. The desire to restore Kara’s quality of life led her mother on the path that was a labor of love to help those with chronic pain to find relief without a reliance on pain medications.

Six months after the accident, Henry began experimenting with low-level lasers, which led to the discovery of Neurolumen, a multi-modal technology combining laser, light and stimulation. Henry held a degree in chemistry health science, but started from scratch on the long road to developing a viable product that would not only cure her daughter, but be effective and accepted by the medical community.

Never did Henry see herself developing a medical technology before Kara’s accident.

“This was not the direction my life was headed,” she said.

The process of making a device that worked was an arduous task. But when Henry saw Kara getting better, it made the whole effort worthwhile.

She knew it was working for other conditions when a stroke victim who was being treated with the device began to show improvements.

“I was treating her and she had lost the use of her arm. It was constricted and fixed to her chest,” Henry said. “Her hand was in a tight fist and she would have to pry her fingers apart to clean them.”

After the first of the combination Neurolumen treatments, Henry was able to manipulate the patient’s fingers. After three weeks, that same patient was able to pick up her keys off the table and relax her arm in a bent position. By the third treatment, the patient was pain free.

It also is effective for those suffering from back and neck pain, symptoms of multiple sclerosis, arthritis and other ailments.

Once perfected, Henry had to obtain approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It was a long and daunting process, but when all was said and done, the Neurolumen device was approved and ready to hit the market.

Today it’s manufactured in Texas and New York. There are two versions of the device – a single and a double wrap version – the latter which has extra pads to reach more pain sites during treatment.

To date the company has made about 4,000 of the devices. They retail for $950-$2,500 and are available at the company’s Oklahoma City office where individuals can also be treated.

“After only four Neurolumen treatments, the stabbing pain in my feet from peripheral neuropathy has subsided greatly and my neck pain is gone,” said Richard Rush, a patient.

As Neurolumen has revolutionized pain relief for other patients, the media and the medical community have both taken notice. Henry has been featured on television and in print touting the success stories about Neurolumen, Kara’s struggles and the device that gave her back her life.

And as for Kara, these days she is living a life free of pain, working at Neurolumen and, perhaps most importantly, she is a mother.

So what’s next for Neurolumen?

“We are focusing on working with veterans and at-risk groups, like the elderly,” Henry said. “We love them and they need our services badly.”

Two U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sites in Tampa, Fla., and San Antonio, Texas, include Neurolumen in treating veterans in the hope it is universally adopted nationwide.

Photo courtesy of Shelly Henry

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Kelley Chambers

Kelley Chambers is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience covering news in Oklahoma. He has worked for the The Oklahoman, was editor-in-chief of The Vista at the University of Central Oklahoma, served as writer and later editor-in-chief of okcBIZ magazine,...