When you’re 16, you could never imagine that a fall would have life-long implications. But in Dolores’s case, that’s exactly what happened. She was on an ice skating date, when she went down hard on her coccyx, the very end of the vertebral column commonly called the tailbone. Dolores got up, brushed herself off and went on skating all evening. After a few days in pain, she realized that the injury was serious. A doctor quickly determined that she had a fracture that required surgery. So it was determined, at the young age of 16, that Dolores would have her coccyx removed.
That was 42 years ago and since then, Dolores has led a very active life in spite of chronic back pain. There have been subsequent falls which further aggravated her injury. Her pain worsened sharply during an unexpected movement she made while climbing out of a kayak. But the final strike that took the pain to an unbearable level came from dancing. “I went with a friend to a dance class. It was a fun way to exercise but obviously more than I should have done,” Dolores explains.
Desperate for Relief
“My back pain reached a constant, agonizing level and I was in desperate need of help.” She continues, “I couldn’t sit even for a short period of time so traveling 45 minutes to our family’s farm from our suburban home was misery. I was losing sleep, tossing and turning all night, unable to get comfortable.” Dolores suffers migraine headaches and the medication prescribed to control the back pain would trigger a migraine. “I didn’t want to believe at the age of 58, my life would be so limited,” she recalls.
A friend recommended that Dolores see Dr. Pragya Gupta at the Advance Pain Treatment Center. “My pain was perplexing since it moved from one side to the other. It began to progress down my leg. Dr. Gupta listened carefully to my complaints and tried several injections that gave me moderate relief that would last approximately six weeks,” she said. But Dr. Gupta had been rigorously researching a new procedure from Europe that he believed would benefit Dolores. “We have relatives in Europe and I initially thought that I should travel there for this procedure. Ozone discolysis was very new but Dr. Gupta was studying the treatment with me in mind. He frequently emailed his research findings for me to investigate so I could be as informed as possible,” Dolores recalls. “I was initially skeptical simply because no one wants to be the first to undergo a procedure that’s never been tried before. But Dr. Gupta gave me so much reassurance and I trusted him so much that I decided to go ahead with the discolysis treatment.”
Dr. Gupta had gained Dolores’s confidence through his exhaustive research and collaborative nature. “I was ready to go forward and my blood work came back with a disappointing result that delayed the procedure,” Dolores explains. “Someone else went first. I was very reassured when I learned from that patient how effective the treatment was.” Dolores elaborates: “I felt that Dr. Gupta could help me more than anyone else. My results have proven this to be true. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I have no pain. It’s amazing to think how much my life had changed for the worse before he performed this innovative treatment.”
“Dr. Gupta and his staff were incredibly caring. You get a warm feeling from everyone in the office,” said Dolores. “He personally called me several times after the procedure to check on me and ask how I was feeling. I was completely compliant with their post operative orders. I took the time to rest and I attribute the great results I’ve had to this after care. I made sure that I didn’t overdo it.” Dolores explains, “Now I have my full life back. I had the discolysis procedure in July of 2009 and since then, I have resumed my full activity level. At my last follow up appointment, Dr. Gupta was amazed at my range of motion. I am pain free and I am hiking, boating and exercising again. The results are wonderful.”
A Walk in the Park
Dolores has always loved kids. She was a preschool director for 20 years. But her favorite little ones are her three young grandchildren. “Last weekend, my husband and I took them to the park. I asked him if he could believe that I could climb the ladder and slide down the spiral slide. I was so limited and in constant pain before the procedure. Dr. Gupta helped me regain my life. He is like a family member to me in addition to being a wonderful doctor.” Dolores adds, “I would recommend Dr. Gupta to anyone who suffers chronic back pain. It was his advice, research and expertise that gave me back the life I love.”
Julie started her advertising company 17 years ago and has built it into a very successful business. As a wife and mother of two teenage daughters, she manages a multitude of details and deadlines in her personal and professional life. The classic image of keeping eight plates simultaneously spinning on sticks, with both accuracy and poise, portrays Julie on a busy day. But that changed abruptly. “I have no idea how it started. I can’t recall any specific incident that I can attribute it to,” say Julie. She’s referring to the acute, horrific back pain that beset her more than a year ago. Sitting became misery. The severe pain forced her to lie on the floor in her office after sitting at her desk for merely an hour. She saw several specialists, including a neurologist at a leading spine center, but nothing improved. Physical therapy was time consuming and the back pain persisted. “As the owner of the company, the business relies on me. No one else is going to fill in and do the work,” Julie explains. After three months of struggling with distressing pain, all the while keeping her company moving forward, Julie found an answer.
Dr. Pragya Gupta at the Advance Pain Treatment Center offered Julie hope. “I had two herniated disks and one degenerative disk. The pain was radiating down my leg. I wanted to find an immediate solution.” Julie continues, “Dr. Gupta impressed me with his knowledge and his ability to accurately diagnose my problem. This gave me great confidence.” He suggested that Julie have ozone discolysis infusion. Ozone, an effective oxidizing agent, is injected into the spine, shrinking the volume of herniated disk responsible for the nerve compression. This relatively new treatment, originally advanced in Europe, is now being performed by Dr. Gupta. He spent years rigorously researching its effectiveness. The ozone injection which naturally resolves the swelling and diminishes the disk volume has enormous benefits over surgery.
Julie chose to proceed with the ozone discolysis treatment and reports, “I am 100% better.” She continues, “The procedure was relatively painless and went very smoothly. It was important to follow the post operative instructions that Dr. Gupta outlined. I was anxious to return to my full activity level but I took the necessary time to heal. I feel fully recovered and back to my routine with no adverse side effects.”
“Many doctors don’t give you the time it takes to discuss the full nature of your problem. Dr. Gupta understood the painful condition I was suffering because he took the time to listen. You are never simply in and out. He thoroughly examined me and explained the procedure so that I had confidence in the effectiveness of the treatment plan,” Julie said. She continues, “My husband accompanied me to appointments at the Advance Pain Treatment Center. When you’re in pain you need support hearing all the details of your treatment options. We were impressed by Dr. Gupta’s ability to include both of us in the discussion as we formulated a plan of action.”
In summers past, Julie and her family enjoyed slipping into the car every weekend and heading to Lake Cumberland. There they climbed aboard their houseboat and relaxed on the lakes vast stretches of water. “We rarely went to Cumberland the summer before I had the discolysis treatment. I was in such pain. It was too excruciating for me to sit hours in the car and once there, the pain limited my enjoyment,” Julie laments. But now she is onboard again, enjoying her favorite summer pastime with her family. “I am back to my full activity level. I am boating, weight lifting and doing my aerobic exercise routine again.” Julie reflects, “I don’t want to remember the pain I experienced in my back. It’s a little like the pain of childbirth; you definitely want to forget it.”
Julie hasn’t had to think about the pain she suffered a year ago. She is pain free and her busy life is filled again with the challenges and pleasures of work and family. “I have recommended Dr. Gupta to friends who need help solving chronic pain problems. He is a wonderful doctor who helped me get back to my life as quickly as possible.” And in Julie’s case, that’s conjures up the image of eight plates, spinning on sticks.