Recovering from Decades of Pain: Helen’s Story

On February 4th, 1977, Helen was driving her car. Then, a tractor trailer lost control on a steep turn and rolled over onto her.

Recovering from a serious motor vehicle accident can leave victims with thousands of dollars in medical bills from immediate care including emergency transportation, surgery, or physical therapy services. Victims can also require years of ongoing support for physical and emotional pain.

In Helen’s case, she has battled chronic pain as a result of her accident for over 40 years.

At the time of her accident, Helen was only 17 years old. She sustained a serious back injury. As time progressed, she developed Degenerative Joint Disease and Osteoarthritis. Agonized with pain and little relief from various treatments, her primary physician suggested she begin to use a wheelchair.

Helen decided she had enough. She knew she was ready to walk without pain and live her life in a way she yearned for. She came to ReclaimAbility with a mission.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without Dr. Cooper and ReclaimAbility’s staff because they listened to me. They wanted me [to have] the ability to walk just as bad as I wanted it.”

Dr. Niti Cooper listened carefully to her story and frustration with previous treatments. Helen did not want to use opioids to treat her pain; a wish she says other doctors would not listen to. Together, Helen and Dr. Cooper developed a treatment plan that included non-narcotic medications. They discussed Helen’s personal life and all of the experiences she felt she was missing. They also set goals for Helen to explore new activities she was interested in.

Within one year of treatment, Helen no longer needed a cane to walk. She joined a gym and began to ride her bicycle daily. As her pain lessened and her mobility increased, Helen lost 170 pounds.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without Dr. Cooper and ReclaimAbility’s staff because they listened to me. They wanted me [to have] the ability to walk just as bad as I wanted it.

“Dr. Cooper saved my life,” said Helen. “I have 5 grandchildren, and I love every one of them. Being able to sit on the floor knowing I can get up off the floor and play with them is… you can’t describe it.”

Helen’s pain has been present for her entire adult life. Her determination to take control of her pain and enjoy her family, get active, and live a better life is nothing short of inspirational. Her strength is exceptional. Her story is one of a kind.

“You have to want it, and then you need to find someone that’s going to listen to what you want and say, ‘Yes, we can do that.’ And that’s what I got at ReclaimAbility.”

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