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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

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

For Kelly Redmon, a simple twist of her ankle led to a twist of fate that would impact her life for the next seven years. An ankle sprain that she suffered while hiking in the Virgin Islands set off a tragic downward cycle of pain for Kelly, pain that eventually led to a diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is often caused by an injury to the bones, joints, tissue or nerves and can result in worsening pain over time. Patients often suffer from severe burning pain and extreme sensitivity to the injured area. Other symptoms include swelling and loss of motion. For Kelly, the pain in her foot became so debilitating that she could hardly walk. It got so bad that at the age of 33, she found herself using a wheelchair. Then she met Dr. Alok Gopal at National Spine & Pain Centers's Winchester, Virginia office. Dr. Gopal immediately initiated a treatment plan designed to help Kelly overcome the pain and get her back on her feet again—literally. Following a series of lumbar injections, physical therapy and careful medication management, Dr. Gopal gave Kelly a series of ketamine infusions that ultimately provided the lasting pain relief…

- Kelly Redmon

Salwa Elbassioni thought she might never stand up again. At 77, she found herself suffering from excruciating pain in her lower back and abdomen. Over the course of six months, she saw seven different doctors, including two gastroenterologists, in her effort to resolve the pain. “I did everything you could imagine to try to get relief,” she recalled. Eventually, Salwa visited National Spine & Pain Centers’ McLean, VA office, where an MRI revealed she had a compression fracture in her back. Because she has osteoporosis, it was clear that the bone in Salwa’s back had essentially crumbled and collapsed. Salwa initially tried a back brace, then a lumbar facet joint injection and an epidural injection. But those efforts brought only minimal, short-term relief. So Dr. Daniel Kendall encouraged Salwa to consider kyphoplasty, a minimally invasive procedure that could result in permanent relief. 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 and filled the resulting cavity with a special cement that stabilized the vertebra, making it among the strongest bones in…

- Salwa Elbassioni

Deb Crocker has been plagued with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA) for years. The pain in her joints, especially her shoulders, hands and feet, has been so bad at times that she has even been hospitalized for it. As if her RA isn’t challenging enough, Deb also suffers from Graves disease. Complications from the condition cause her to have difficulty closing her eyes completely, and this can lead to excruciating headaches and serious eye infections. The complications from her RA and Graves disease eventually forced Deb to go on disability insurance because she was unable to drive or work. Without a job, she could not afford the expensive biologic medication her rheumatologist prescribed to treat her RA. “I would have lost my house trying to pay for it,” she said. Then she saw Danielle S. Cherrick M.D. at National Spine & Pain Centers’ Alexandria, Virginia office. On her first visit, Deb described her pain level as eight on a scale of 10. Dr. Cherrick listened as Deb told her how the pain was causing her to become increasingly depressed and anxious about simply leaving her house. Dr. Cherrick saw an opportunity to address Deb’s physical and emotional pain. She began by administering…

- Deb Crocker

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