Thorough, compassionate and pain free.

That’s how Robert Spaulding of Daleville describes the treatment he received 8999SpauldingRobert210x153 from Mark Willis, MD, at SAMC’s Southeast Pain Management Center.  

The 57-year-old retired Army veteran was partially disabled with a degenerative spine that he called an “occupational injury” from 25 years of climbing in and out of military vehicles.

Spaulding had unsuccessfully sought treatment elsewhere before he found relief with Dr. Willis. Spaulding immediately benefitted from the epidurals.

“Dr. Willis knew exactly where to administer the shots,” Spaulding said. “He asked a lot of questions to figure out what the pain was. He looked at contributing factors. He was very thorough.”

Spaulding is now able to lead a full and productive life, doing things he never dreamed he would be doing. He has returned to the workforce as an occupational health and safety instructor, standing for hours each week. He has also returned to college, earning a bachelor’s degree, and he is currently studying for his Master of Business Administration.

“I would not have even considered going back to school until I met Dr. Willis,” he said. “I couldn’t think about sitting at a desk. I couldn’t even have fun with my family on the weekends. It was Dr. Willis’ care and treatment that brought me back.”

Spaulding recently shared his thoughts with Dr. Willis, saying he wanted to be that patient who said “thank you.”

Dr. Willis, board certified in pain management and anesthesiology, said he appreciates Spaulding’s kind words.

“Adequately treating your pain frees you to focus on other aspects of your life” Dr. Willis said.


Charles Johnson has suffered with Lou Gehrig's disease since 1997.9634PatientTestimonials

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."