How Veteran, Chester Jones, Achieved Life-Changing Pain Relief with APC
By Chester Jones, APC Patient Ambassador
I want to help you achieve lasting pain relief and the ability to stop using painkillers. Those are my goals for you. Those were my own goals and Advanced Pain Care got me there.
But as a veteran, it was a long journey for me. I spent years trying so many things that didn’t work — I felt like a pincushion.
APC gave me the right kind of pain care and now I am basically painkiller free.
Regardless of whether you’re a veteran or not, I want to help you find lasting relief as soon as possible.
Why Pain Relief is So Important
Many of you are in pain out there, and the facts prove it:
As of 2018, the National Institute of Health found that “chronic pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease, and cancer combined.”
According to the VA, “as many as 40 percent of Veterans over 65 years old have chronic back pain.” And for younger veterans, “joint and back pain and other musculoskeletal ailments are the most common diagnoses among Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
If you’re active-duty military, “musculoskeletal injuries result in over one million medical encounters and almost 10 million limited duty days each year for over 70 percent of the medically non-deployable population,” according to the Army’s 2017 Health of the Force report.
Getting the word out to the active military and Veterans Affairs (VA) about the latest pain treatment options is one of my focuses. But again, even if you’re not from a military background, I want to help you find relief.
My Pain Treatment Journey
I joined the U.S. Army in 1989 as an infantry soldier. I attained my rank of E-7/Sergeant First Class after 24 years of service that included eight combat deployments.
It was an honor to serve my country. But, my service had a profound impact on my body in the form of chronic pain, which started in the mid-90s.
My Army doctors initially attributed my pain to back spasms.
For years, I got steroid injections. At one point they injected me with a radioactive element. But the relief was only ever temporary, lasting from a couple of weeks to a month.
I had a lot of patience because I was hoping that one of the injections might work — but it never did.
My pain management doctors were continuously trying different things, saying, “This injection didn’t work at this level, so let’s try a different level, or change the dosage.”
It wasn’t until 2007 that the military officially diagnosed me with degenerative disk disease, lumbar herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis.
I had tried nerve blockers, monthly epidurals, even a spinal decompression procedure — with no relief.
I got tired of feeling like a pincushion. And, I was missing out on life with my family.
I have a daughter and two very active boys. I tried being active with them, but the pain was too great. My wife is very social, but I couldn’t go with her to go visit people or run errands.
I’d say, “Babe, I’m coming with you.” And she’d say, “No, you just sit right there, we know better.”
So I told the VA that we needed to try something different. They let me look for an outside provider for pain management.
Why I Chose Advanced Pain Care
I found Advanced Pain Care on my own. I searched online for the best pain management centers in my surrounding area.
Advanced Pain Care had the best reviews. And when I came in for my first visit, I understood why.
Dr. Malone and the whole crew were awesome. They actually cared.
They’ve seen a lot of failed back surgeries and chronic pain.
I had a lot of questions, and they answered all of them without hesitation.
They gave me, as they say in the old days, the “good, warm, and fuzzy feelings.”
Related: Our Pain Care Expertise
The Game-Changer: Spinal Cord Stimulator
My pain doctor explained two or three different options for pain relief, but the one that stuck out to me was the spinal cord stimulator.
First, you’re able to try it out in a temporary, non-invasive, and reversible procedure.
It’s just a pinprick in your lower back, where they thread tiny leads through. A little controller device sits outside your body that lets you adjust the strength of the pain blocking. It basically blocks the pain signals in your spine.
Second, it reduces your reliance on painkillers, which really piqued my interest.
The more they explained, the more comfortable I felt, and the more comfortable my wife felt.
The decision was up to me. I chose the stimulator and I’m glad I did.
After the trial implant procedure — which is an outpatient procedure — I was still waking up from the anesthesia, but according to my wife, I felt just fine — and I was continuously asking for IHOP and Waffle House!
Once the sedatives wore off, they used the controller to adjust the pain-blocking signals until my pain went away.
Once they did that — I felt miraculous.
During the trial implant, you’re supposed to try to do the things that you couldn’t before.
The basic word for how I felt? Overjoyed.
After my trial period, I got the official stimulator procedure in June of 2016, which is pretty similar to the trial procedure, except that the controller sits in a small pocket created underneath the skin.
They offer a rechargeable battery version of the stimulator that lasts seven or eight years or a non-rechargeable version that lasts about four years.
I got the rechargeable version, which is very low maintenance.
Your device will tell you when you need to recharge. To recharge, there’s a little recharging device that sits in a little pouch that you place around your waist, like the old-school fanny packs.
After about two hours you’re fully recharged. I recharge mine probably every 10 days or so.
Why I Love Being a Patient Ambassador
After my success with the spinal cord stimulator, I began talking to other APC patients in an unofficial capacity for a while, to help them understand the procedure and its benefits.
Then APC asked if I wanted to do it full-time as a patient ambassador, which was an easy “yes.”
I want to help educate people like you about this technology because it is wonderful.
Usually, I’ll join Dr. Malone and some staff for a face-to-face or video conference discussion.
I’ll tell you about my personal experience and answer your questions. Or I’ll talk to you privately one-on-one.
The primary question I get a lot is, “How well does it work?”
I’ll just be honest with you. For me, it has been amazing. It’s been a life-changer.
Related: APC Patient Testimonials
Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain
I want you to know that to be nervous about something that’s unknown is normal.
Take small steps to get educated. Don’t let fear keep you from pain relief.
Talk to me on the phone, or in person, about your pain and your concerns.
If the doctors think you’re an appropriate candidate for the spinal cord stimulator, we can chat about what the trial experience is like. There’s just a small pinprick and then the device is taped on the outside of your body.
See how your life changes with the trial.
If you’re frightened about getting something implanted, just remember that this procedure is completely reversible.
As the old saying goes, there’s absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain — especially when it comes to lasting pain relief.