One day, while practicing hurdles for her high school track team, Angela Henricks landed awkwardly and felt a sharp pain in her left shin. That pain would remain, burning, searing, making life miserable for years to come.

Nothing — not injections, nor physical therapy, not even acupuncture — helped. In May 2011, the teenager from Elk Grove Village, Ill., was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome. The pain was so bad she couldn't put weight on the leg. She couldn't even stand to wear pants.

"I was crying every night. I was just so upset, so frustrated that nothing was helping," said the now-19-year-old. "I couldn't do anything. I had no life."

Her doctor recommended a spinal cord stimulator from Boston Scientific called the Precision Spectra. Relief was immediate. The day she got the stimulator, she stood on her left leg and walked out of the building — wearing pants for the first time in months. It's far from perfect, she said — her pain is now six on a scale of 10. She is preparing for college in the fall — and a lifetime implanted with a device.

"Yeah, six is not a one," Henricks said. "But it's better than nothing. It is better than always having pain. ... If it keeps taking the pain away, it's worth it to have it."

James Walsh