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Pain Center - Patient Stories

Sibley Pain Center brings life-changing relief

"Every month there are new advances in the field of pain medicine," notes Mehul J. Desai, MD, Director of the Sibley Pain Center. "We pride ourselves in tailoring treatment plans specifically for each patient; using the latest cuttingedge techniques and technologies as soon as they become available." Here, less pain also takes less time. With all services under one roof, Sibley can make MRIs available on the spot and deliver physical therapy on site. After years of searching, patients are finding relief.

Pain kept me from doing everything I loved. Now my life has no restrictions.

"You know the cliché 'I feel your pain?' That’s really true of the warm, caring staff at Sibley's Pain Center. After two epidural treatments my pain is totally gone."

—Eleanor Singer, patient

Eleanor Singer thought a hip replacement would finally bring relief from years of pain. Instead, intense new pain developed. "Every moment of my daily life was affected—sleeping, walking, swimming, rehabilitation exercises, even visiting art museums." An epidural injection to deliver steroid medication was recommended, but after a negative treatment experience at a surgical center, Eleanor’s pain worsened. "When I discovered the Sibley Pain Center, my experience was completely different. The moment I walked through the door, everyone treated me so kindly."

"We used a different epidural approach," says Thomas W. Heckman, DO. "After two injections I couldn’t have asked for better results." Now pain-free since September 2009, Eleanor recalls, "Dr. Heckman was the most approachable, gentle doctor I’ve ever met. He explained absolutely everything."

From Dr. Heckman's perspective, "Everyone’s problem is different so we don’t have a cookie-cutter approach for treatments. We take time to look at each person's history, do a physical exam, study the imaging and come up with a plan that combines the right treatment options for that individual." From her physical therapy exercise routine to hopping on the metro or driving downtown, Eleanor is back to the life she loves. "I can even work as a Smithsonian docent despite lots of standing and walking on those hard, marble floors. It’s so liberating, I haven't felt better in years."
 

With less pain I have more confidence.

"Countless invasive surgeries had only made my pain worse. But now with the combination of medication and technology, I’m no longer chained to a cycle of pain." —John Reeke, patient

After a lower spine trauma at age 14 left John Reeke in constant, debilitating pain, he was ready to try anything. Yet 15 years of highly invasive surgeries did not result in relief—but even more pain. Medication made the first real difference, but it wasn’t until the Sibley Pain Center combined both drug therapy and advanced technology, that John achieved more control over pain than ever before.

"I'm only 37," says John, "so a device that delays the need to increase medication really matters." A little more than a year ago, Dr. Desai implanted a small neuro stimulator that sends electrodes up and down John’s spine to interfere with pain transmitters. With a hand-held device, he can target and control pain. Why Sibley? "I did my homework and learned that Dr. Desai understood the latest cutting edge technologies."

Dr. Desai explains, "John is a very bright guy who essentially had no real quality of life. Our goal was to lessen the intensity of his pain so he could go back to school and do more with his life."

 

As John points out, "Now pain doesn't dictate the terms of my life. I feel more in control, not just of my pain, but also my emotions and future. I’m working toward a Masters degree in social work. At Sibley's Pain Center I’m not just a number—their honest sense of compassion comes through."
 

About the Pain Center

New minimally-invasive treatments now give Sibley patients more pain management options than ever before. The latest advances in electrical stimulation, injections, physical therapy, and medication relieve pain associated with everything from arthritis, headaches and shingles to sports injuries, spine disorders, nerve conditions and cancer. Sibley’s experienced specialists, board-certified in pain medicine, provide inpatient and outpatient diagnosis and treatment.

The Pain Center, located on the first floor of Sibley in the Outpatient Procedures Suite, is open from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm,Monday through Friday.

 
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