Taking Control of Chronic Pain

Clinical Expertise

Sep 20, 2016

Every morning Anita Slatter would get dressed and put her smile on. No one knew that behind her beautiful smile was agonizing pain.

In 1983, Anita was in a car accident with a semi-trailer truck. She went to physical therapy on and off for years due to the pain in her back. Several years later, she began having trouble with her knee. When her doctor diagnosed her with arthritis, he also discovered bulging disks in her back. Anita was sent back to physical therapy. She was still active and never needed strong pain medication so she continued on this cycle for several more years.

Anita is an IT software consultant and spends 95% of her time traveling to other states on assignment. With a busy travel schedule and her back and knee pain, she stopped exercising. She was afraid that exercise would make her pain worse. She gained a little weight, which actually made her pain worse. Although Anita would go to work as if nothing was wrong, each day she’d come home, collapse and try to sleep the pain away.

“I didn’t have a life anymore. I couldn’t do any of the things I enjoyed. No more dancing or going to football games,” Anita said. Travel was agonizing. She couldn’t even bend to get into a car. She went back to the doctor who said she needed more therapy. This news did not come as a surprise to Anita. She knew what to expect and figured she’d be feeling better in a few weeks.

She then got a call from a case manager at Brooks Rehabilitation. Anita’s doctor had referred her to the Pain Rehabilitation program, which meets full-time for three to five weeks. “I thought something must be seriously wrong with me. All kinds of questions were going through my head: Will they hurt me? How can I take time off from work? Why can’t I return totherapy as I have for years?” she recalls.

Anita spoke with her family and her doctor and decided that she needed to do this for herself. It was time to try something new.

“After my first week in the program, my whole attitude changed. They treat the whole person, not just my back. The education is awesome! They teach you how to do things you already know but in a different way. I realized that exercise wasn’t going to hurt me.”

After three weeks in the program, Anita went to a Jaguars game. It was her first step toward getting her life back again. When she graduated from the program after five weeks, her pain level was down from an 8 to a 2 on a 10 point scale. She realizes that she will still have flare ups, but she’s learned how to get through them. She learned how to pace herself and create a regular schedule of exercise and activity.

Anita is now traveling across the country for work again and looks forward to dancing and spending time with her family. When asked what she would tell others in pain, she said “Trust and believe that you can get better. Your pain is yours, but don’t let it separate you from your life. Don’t let it control you. If you can, come to the Brooks Pain Rehabilitation program with an open mind and a desire to get better.”

“When people see my smile now, they can tell I am happy from the inside out.”

For information on how you can help control chronic pain contact the Brooks Brooks Pain Rehabilitation program at (904) 345-7221.

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