MY PAIN STORY: A Veteran’s Story with Pain

The following My Pain Story is by our Santa Monica-based patient, Todd R. He is a retired U.S. veteran, and before seeing us, was in a physically optimal condition. Earlier in 2012, he began seeing Dr. Hersel for his chronic low back pain. Here is his story…

Before I was a PMIR patient, I served 20 years in the U.S. Army as a dental officer. I served four foreign tours of duty, one in Korea and three in Germany. I completed a residency in general dentistry at Fort Hood, Texas and attained board certification in 1982.  From the completion of my residency to the age of 40, I maxed the Army Physical Fitness Test twice a year at the level set for an 18 to 21 year old. I was even interviewed as a candidate for Delta Force.  I’m sure they didn’t need a dentist!

My pain story begins when I was installing a roof jack for an evaporative cooler in 2004 – my back went out. Since then, I’d been having three to four episodes a year of lower back pain. I was seen at the L.A. Air Force Base Clinic in 2010 and I was prescribed physical therapy. That lasted about 2 months with home exercises. I also took Naprosyn to relieve my pain, and I tried pressure point therapy, and limited my activity.  All of these helped to some extent. I would try to tough it out, but I was pretty irritable. I couldn’t do everything I needed to do, and I would avoid activities that exacerbated the problem.

My wife, Karen, and I attended a presentation by Dr. Hersel at the local integrative pharmacy. After researching other practitioners, we decided PMIR Clinic was best for us.

I currently have arthritis, collapsed discs, and worn facets in my lower back and neck. Based on my diagnosis, Dr. Hersel recommended epidural injections, Pilates-type exercises, weight reduction, and analgesic therapy as needed. Since going to PMIR, my neck pain is down to a 2-3 (based on a 10-point scale), and my lower back is a 1-2. I have been able to resume all normal activity and my disposition has improved.

My exposure to patients who underwent back surgery in the military made me averse to that form of treatment. The failure rate was too high. The PMIR approach is to provide the most conservative therapy that is deemed to be effective for the conditions that exist. If escalation is required, they are qualified to provide that treatment.


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