‘They made me feel so comfortable that it was a breeze.’
One of Ellen’s first herniated disc pain relief goals was to stop taking opioid medications. “It makes you funky. It makes you lazy. It makes you not really want to move around,” she remembered. “It can make you nauseous because you have to take it every four to six hours for it to actually be working.”
For Ellen, the pain in her back had become constant. “It’s like having a toothache in your back,” she explained. “I couldn’t even bend down and tie my own shoe. Every shoe I had to get, you had to slip your feet in it. Bending to tie your shoe was painful.”
Like her primary care doctor, Ellen’s Heilman Center pain specialist recommended steroid injections for pain relief. Although she was nervous, she decided to follow through with the procedure.
“I was really scared. I’m telling you. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this.’ But they were so nice, and they made me feel so comfortable that it was a breeze.” The first injection didn’t provide the relief she’d hoped for, but her pain specialist had prepared her to expect a series of three injections. She decided to stick with the plan.
‘I trust them. I trust my spine in their hands.’
Constant pain had put a strain on Ellen’s relationships. Like many patients, she struggled from both the psychological and physical effects of chronic pain. “When you’re in pain like that, you’re evil. You can’t function. You’re not mad at the person; it’s just everything going on with you.”
One year after finishing her three injections, she’s back to taking walks and going fishing with her family, but she’s fully aware that her herniated disc could become more serious. If surgery becomes necessary, she’s ready, and she’s confident that Heilman Center pain specialists will know what they’re doing. “I trust them. I trust my spine in their hands.”