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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

Bernard J. West, Sr., looked forward to spending his retirement years on the move. Having spent his career working for Baltimore Metro, he was done sitting—on buses, at desks, in control centers, etc. He was going to the gym and enjoying his retirement life until he started to experience unbearable pain in his back and legs, especially when moving or standing. When his primary care physician was unable to resolve the pain, he referred Bernard to Mark Coleman, M.D. at National Spine & Pain Centers. Dr. Coleman determined that Bernard, like many people his age, was suffering from spinal stenosis and arthritis. A series of nerve root injections helped alleviate much of the pain in his back, but Bernard was still suffering from significant leg pain. So Dr. Coleman recommended Bernard to consider the MILD procedure (minimally invasive lumbar decompression). MILD involves only a small incision under local anesthesia and takes less than an hour. There are no stitches, no difficult recovery from general anesthesia. Using fluoroscopic (x-ray) guidance, Dr. Coleman located and removed small pieces of bone and excess ligament tissue in Bernard’s back to restore space in the spinal canal and decrease the compression on nerves that were…

- Bernard J. West, Sr.

Virginia Jenkins vividly recalls the searing pain a spinal compression fracture caused her mother. So when Virginia woke up one morning and screamed in pain as she tried to get out of bed, memories of her mother’s compression fracture came flooding back to her—and with good reason. Virginia suffers from osteoporosis, just as her mother had. The brittle bones in her back are easily susceptible to fracture. But unlike other bones in the body, broken vertebrae in the back generally crumble rather than fracture in two. Virginia believes her compression fracture was the result of sitting for more than eight straight hours on a trans-Atlantic flight. “I didn’t have any pain when I got off the plane, but the next day it was excruciating,” she recalled. An MRI confirmed Virginia’s suspicions. Within days, she was in Dr. Daniel Kendall’s McLean, Virginia office. Dr. Kendall recommended kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive interventional procedure that would correct the spinal compression fracture and relieve her pain. Using x-ray guidance, Dr. Kendall guided a needle to the fractured bone and then inserted a small, orthopedic balloon into the vertebra and inflated the balloon to raise the collapsed bone to regain height. He removed the balloon…

- Virginia Jenkins

Paul Shearin is no stranger to pain. During his 30-year career in critical care, trauma and pulmonary medicine he often had to lift and move patients and medical equipment. This led to herniated discs and other back injuries. But thanks to the care he received from the physicians at National Spine & Pain Centers, he was able to get back on his feet and back to work as clinical director and administrative director of Pulmonary and Neurology Medicine at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore. But then Paul got hit with a completely different kind of pain. Extensive abdominal surgery left him in intensive care for almost a full month and with a scar that stretches from one side of his rib cage to the other. Because the surgery required cutting through his all his abdominal muscles, Paul struggled with severe lingering pain—pain that his surgeons acknowledged would be best addressed by working with a pain specialist. Although he initially came to National Spine & Pain Centers for his back pain, Paul returned to NSPC because he knew that National Spine & Pain Centers physicians are board certified in the specialty of pain medicine and are experts at treating all forms of chronic pain.…

- Paul Shearin

For the better part of the last seven years, Tracy Reinemann has lived with excruciating pain in her right foot. “It got to the point where I couldn’t even stand for five minutes,” she recalls. Diagnosed with chronic pain syndrome and complex regional pain syndrome in her lower extremities, Tracy tried nearly every possible treatment suggested to her, including medications, physical therapy, spinal cord stimulation and nerve block injections. “I’ve had hundreds of shots in my feet,” she says, noting that for a time, she was getting injections every six weeks. “Needless to say, needles don’t bother me,” she said. Although some of these treatments provided temporary relief, the pain always returned. In a last-ditch attempt to avoid surgery to address her lower extremity pain, Dr. Daniel R. Kendall of National Spine & Pain Centers’ McLean, VA office, suggested Tracy consider participating in a ground-breaking trial for dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation. Dorsal root ganglia are the sensory nerves that regulate and send pain signals along the spinal column to the brain. Different DRG are associated with different areas of the body. DRG therapy targets the specific source of the pain and can be especially effective for patients like Tracy…

- Tracy Reinemann

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