Charles Johnson has suffered with Lou Gehrig's disease since 1997.
As the disease has progressed, Mr. Johnson's pain and stiffness have increased, as his mobility has declined. To improve his quality of life, his doctor recommended he get an implantable device to help manage his symptoms.
He received a Baclofen pump, in 2005, from Dr. J. Jerry Marsella at Southeast Pain Management Center. "I started talking to people and everybody recommended I come here to the Pain Management Center," he said.
Baclofen is a muscle relaxer that relieves Mr. Johnson's stiffness and helps ease spasms and muscle cramps.
"It's enabled me to keep active," said Mr. Johnson, who can regularly be found at the gym. "Otherwise, my legs would be so stiff that I could not walk." Mr. Johnson, who walks with a cane, returns to the Pain Management Center every six months for treatment. "I am treated very well by everyone. Everyone is extremely helpful and by God's grace, I am sitting here."
Marilyn Smith had suffered with back pain for years.
She was a candidate for surgery for degenerative disc disease, but was hesitant to have an operation on her back. She'd had epidurals in the past but never found much relief – until she sought treatment at Southeast Pain Management Center in Dothan. Three years ago, Mrs. Smith received a thoracic epidural injection from Dr. Jerry Marsella.
"I had relief almost immediately," she said.
Mrs. Smith lives a busy life. At 76, she works a part-time job as a registered mastectomy fitter, does her own house work, enjoys working in the yard, and is the caregiver for her husband, Al. The two celebrate 58 years of marriage this year. She also walks for exercise and finds pleasure in spending time with her large family – five children, eleven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
But, she paces herself, being careful to take care of her back.
"I don't want to go back for any more treatment, but if I do have to go back, I will go see Dr. Marsella at Southeast Pain Management Center. Everyone there was very kind and very helpful."
A year ago, Eva Grace could hardly walk upright because of pain in her lower back.
Today, she maneuvers with ease the boxes and stock in the gift shop where she is employed three days a week. I could not stand up straight," she says. "I walked around bent over like a little old lady all day. When I stood up straight, I was in pain." Eva sought treatment from Southeast Pain Management Center, where she received two lumbar epidurals after being diagnosed with lumbar radiculitis.
"Everything changed after that," Eva says. "I could walk upright again without any pain. I was so excited that it worked. I hoped for a positive outcome but I didn't know.... It turned out great." Eva now goes about her days pain free. She is not hindered while on the job and is once again enjoying cooking and home decorating, as well as spending time with her grandchildren.
"I would recommend this procedure to anybody. It was a wonderful experience. I'm so glad I did it."