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Treating Pain & Changing Lives

Nobody wants to live in pain. The patients featured in these stories suffered real pain and wanted their lives back — so they took action. And so can you.

Patient Success Story

Chronic Back Pain

30 years of serving his country all came to an end after the pain from a lingering back injury caught up with John Richardson. The pain became progressively worse. By the end of his assignment year in East Africa, he had severe pain and numbness. His physical condition forced him to retire. “I wasn't able to stand or sit for long periods of time, and pain degraded my ability to concentrate,” he said. John took action and found relief.

Read More Success Stories

Father Simon Foster is a man who loves life and his calling. He is, by his own admission, “a simple parish priest” who merely wants to tend to his flock. Imagine his heartbreak then when debilitating back pain made it nearly impossible for him to even raise the chalice while celebrating Mass. The minor act of moving a coffee table triggered his acute pain. “I couldn’t walk properly for several days afterward,” he said. Although he was eventually able to get back on his feet, the pain never went away and he soon realized that he had significant back issues that had been latent until that time. “Someone told me once, ‘I know I shouldn’t say this to a priest, but God didn’t make backs very well,’” Father Simon recalled. There were days when he was tempted to agree. “Father Si,” as he likes to be called, made numerous visits to acupuncturists, chiropractors and his primary care physician. But it was a neurosurgeon who finally referred him to Gerard DeGregoris III, M.D., at Manhattan Spine & Pain Medicine, a division of National Spine & Pain Centers. MRIs revealed Father Si suffered from degenerative discogenic back pain which originated from a…

- Father Simon Foster

For the better part of 40 years, Jack Inge lived in fear of knowing that the simple act of stepping off a curb might trigger back pain that could leave him flat on his back, nursing pain that was so severe he couldn’t even go to work. So when Inge walked out of the National Spine & Pain Centers office in Woodbridge, Virginia almost pain free shortly after Ashish G. Shanbhag, M.D., performed radiofrequency neurotomy to the nerves in his lower back (technically known as the lumbar facet medial branches), he couldn’t wait to spread the good news about his procedure. For Inge, “It was like a miracle.” The treatment has now allowed Inge to play golf three times a week without debilitating pain. “Dr. Shanbhag is a golfer himself so when I told him how my pain was really starting to interfere with my golf game, he knew where I was coming from.” Inge told Dr. Shanbhag about how years of taking pain medications, visits to chiropractors, and physical therapists had done little to bring him any long-term relief. Eventually, Inge’s physical therapist recommended he visit National Spine & Pain Centers in Woodbridge, Virginia, where he met Dr. Shanbhag.…

- Jack Inge

Armine Aharonian driver’s license may state that she is 70 years old, but in her mind, she’s really only 17. But for a woman so young at heart, debilitating back pain was significantly changing her outlook on life. “For one entire week, I could not get out of bed, the pain was so bad,” she recalled. An MRI of her back revealed she had spinal stenosis that was contributing to the intense sciatic pain she was experiencing in her legs. But having had two total knee replacements, Aharonian desperately wanted to avoid more surgery, particularly spinal surgery. So her surgeon suggested she visit Aneesh Singla, M.D., MPH, in National Spine & Pain Center’s Rockville, Maryland office. Dr. Singla suggested Aharonian try epidural nerve block injections as a non-surgical option for relieving her lower back and sciatic nerve pain. Using x-ray guidance, Dr. Singla delivered local anesthetic and corticosteroid anti-inflammatory medication into Aharonian’s epidural space to shrink the swelling around her nerve roots to relieve the pain she was experiencing. Aharonian received three epidural injections from Dr. Singla over the course of several months and the outcome has helped her regain her sunny outlook on life. “I feel so much better!” she said.…

- Armine Aharonian

Patti Wilshusen has been riding horses since she was a teenager. But what was supposed to be a relaxing ride on a beautiful summer day turned out to be a nightmare. A harrowing fall from her horse left Patti in immediate, excruciating pain. And it was all downhill from there. Desperate for relief that her pain pills and heating pad were not providing, she sought the help of Dr. Suneetha Budampati at National Spine & Pain Center’s Alexandria, VA, office. “Patti had no quality of life at that point,” Dr. Budampati said. “So I told her that she could continue to let nature take its course or we could do something that would alleviate the pain, improve her quality of life and get her exercising again.” The wife of a naval officer, Patti initially sought treatment at her local military hospital, where they diagnosed five compression fractures in her back. She was fitted for a bulky back brace that reached from her neck to her tailbone and told to let the fractures heal on their own. Patti lived in constant pain for three months, and soon became severely depressed, unable to drive, and on some days, hardly able to get…

- Patti Wilshusen