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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. Success Stories

Thomas Ball

“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 answer,” says Ball.

“Dr. Wagner is an athlete himself,” adds Ball. “He understood my frustration about being sidelined. He encouraged me to slowly begin returning to a more active life during my treatment.”

Over a period of several months, Dr. Wagner administered a series of injections containing a corticosteroid medication to reduce inflammation in the facet joints at the top of the spine and in the muscles in the neck area.

Ball is grateful for his recovery. “I’ve got my mobility back,” he says. “I still have arthritis in my back so I’ve taken actions to compensate. I learned in physical therapy not to sit too long during the day, to make certain modifications to my workout regimen and to practice yoga postures. But for the most part, I’ve been able to return to my former activities.”

Ball, who saw several other doctors before finding National Spine & Pain Centers, is particularly appreciative of the patient care he received. “Dr. Wagner was the first and only doctor who really took the time to dig in and understand precisely where my problems were and then attack them with a focused plan,” says Ball. “He is honest, patient, empathetic, hope-instilling, and just pleasant to see—and that’s true for his staff as well.” Since his return to good health, Ball has referred many friends to Dr. Wagner. “You can waste lots of time and money flailing around for help,” says Ball. “I was aghast at the indifference and fatalism of some medical professionals who thought that I would just have to live my life in pain. That’s not accurate. You can get better.

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