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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

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.…

- Patti Wilshusen

“What a remarkable concept!” That was Betty Thomas’ response when she first heard about peripheral nerve stimulation (PNS), an increasingly relied upon approach to chronic nerve pain that involves implanting a small electrical device next to a peripheral nerve in order to interrupt pain signals to the brain. “It was hard to believe that something relatively simple—involving only outpatient surgery—could so quickly erase most of the excruciating pain I was feeling,” said Thomas. But almost a year after having a PNS implant, Thomas says her life is a “world of difference” from the days when she had difficulty with everyday activities such as walking and grocery shopping. Thomas traces her debilitating back pain to a surgery several years ago that left her with two rods in the lower back. Although the surgery was initially successful, as time passed she began to experience escalating pain. Her surgeon referred her to Dr.…

- Betty Thomas

“I know what this is. I see it all the time. We can get you better,” said pain management specialist Dr. Robert Wagner in the Fairfax, VA office of National Spine & Pain Centers. For patient Thomas Ball, those words began a life-changing turnaround that took him from a point of desperation and brought him to recovery. Ball, a corporate attorney in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and former Princeton University football player, landed in Dr. Wagner’s office on the recommendation of a close friend. From the beginning, Dr. Wagner had a structured plan for my recovery,” says Ball. “He laid out a course of treatment that included muscle relaxants and injections. He had a phased approach for healing.” Debilitating neck pain caused by a pinched nerve and inflamed muscles had forced Ball, an avid athlete, to stop exercising for more than a year. “I was getting desperate for an…

- Thomas Ball

Upon returning to his coop unit one afternoon, Judge Thomas Moore suffered a tragic slip and fall injury when his bathroom had been flooded from the unit above. The fall injured his lower back. Judge Moore damaged four lumbar discs that eventually ended his prestigious career as a judge for the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. While he tried to maintain his aggressive travel and work schedule, he found himself almost “passing out” from the agonizing pain on a daily basis. Ultimately, Judge Moore chose to have the recommended back surgery. The surgery was a success in that it decompressed the pressure on his lumbar discs allowing him to walk again. However, because of subsequently diagnosed grade 4 and grade 5 (Dallas scale) radial tears in the four lower lumbar discs, his pain levels did not subside. Also, the scar tissue that formed around the discs after surgery complicated his…

- Judge Thomas Moore