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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

As a health and physical education teacher, Mark Pankau has spent his entire life encouraging his students to keep moving and be active. Yet a knee injury 10 years ago left him unable to practice what he preached. I was not able to live my life in my normal fashion. I could not do many of my own physical conditioning activities, especially any movements that required side-to-side movements, or extreme forward-and-back foot strike activities. But then a Facebook ad for National Spine & Pain Centers caught Mark’s attention and he decided it was time to see if there were new treatment options that would enable him to finally address the pain in his knee. He met with National Spine & Pain Centers’ Ben Newton, M.D., who suggested that Mark might be a good candidate for platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections. These cutting-edge treatment options enable patients to use their own blood products to speed the healing of injured areas. Given Mark’s background, he was able to establish an immediate rapport with Dr. Newton. “He and I were able to discuss a wide range of topics from exercise, sports and anatomy based on my professional teaching knowledge of the…

- Mark Pankau

Five years into her mother's pain management journey, Kelly White recalls sitting in Dr. Suneetha Budampati's exam room rubbing her mother's back as she wept in uncontrollable pain and extreme frustration, as the result of three failed neurostimulator implant surgeries. It was her hope that Dr. Budampati could undo the massive amount of damage that repeated failed surgeries, infections and endless medical examinations had caused to an already traumatized spine, nerves, vertebrae and three lumbar and thoracic herniated discs. To her surprise Dr. Budampati took on a case that any other physician would refer back to the physician responsible for the erroneous damage. Little did she know that the team at National Spine & Pain Centers office in Alexandria, Virginia would inevitably save her mother from very likely paralysis and more importantly, they would save her life. For Kelly it was very simply put, "In the ten weeks since Dr. B agreed to become my mom’s physician she has saved her life and guaranteed that the many years that she now has ahead of her will be active, happy years, free of pain and suffering; a life that seemed incredibly impossible ten short weeks ago". Dr. Budampati diagnosed Kelly's mother…

- Kelly White

Nanci Strauss is no stranger to pain. She survived a serious car accident in her teenage years that left her in ICU for two weeks and in the hospital for three months. But for the last eight years, she has struggled with chronic pain resulting from a less dramatic, yet equally debilitating injury: a fall from a ladder. Nanci was initially told that the pain in her knees was from arthritis, not her fall. The pain continued to worsen until she was no longer able to do her job. She sought a second opinion and learned that she had torn her meniscus, (the cartilage which cushions the knees) and that she needed surgery. At this time, she was also experiencing pain in her middle and lower back. She was diagnosed with five bulging discs in her lower back, but she shrugged the middle back pain off as arthritis. Eventually she had a spinal cord stimulator implant which helped relieve much of the pain, but by late 2013 severe pain had spread to her neck and shoulders, and the pain in her middle back had significantly worsened. Unfortunately, a few months later, her provider moved to California. The next six months…

- Nanci Strauss

There was a time when Helga Luest was living with so much physical pain she wondered if she would not have been better off dead. The serious neck and back injuries she suffered during a random, violent assault nearly 25 years ago were so significant that she was told that she would never be able to resume her passion for running. But Helga does not give up easily. “I was not going to listen to those doctors,” she said. “I wasn’t willing to surrender. So I kept searching until I found someone who said you might be able to run again. That was hope for me.” After three years of hard work and dedication, Helga finally put her running shoes on again and in the years since, she has even completed 13 marathons. “Running was the best way to get my back strong,” she said, adding that it was a good stress reliever. Pushing through the grueling 26 miles of a marathon is “a way for me to appreciate what my body has been through.” But the pain never completely went away. Over the years, Helga tried various treatments ranging from physical therapy to pain medications, chiropractic care, biofeedback and…

- Helga Luest

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