After an auto accident in 2012, Canal Fulton resident Eric Buwala lived in pain. His attending neurosurgeon said removing a disc in his back and fusing vertebrae would bring relief, but surgery was not an option unless he lost weight – a difficult thing to do with severe back pain.
After being referred to Mercy Pain Management, Eric felt hopeless. The 39-year-old felt like he was sent to pain management to medicate his life away.
But after his first meeting with Adel Zakari, MD, anesthesiologist, he says, "Wow! Dr. Zakari was enthusiastic, encouraging and patient. I actually had to fight back the tears because I left the office so hopeful that things could get better."
Dr. Zakari put together a program of continued physical therapy combined with a TENS unit for muscle therapy and a prescription for what Eric calls "really bad days."
"The prescription works when needed, and it doesn't turn me into a zombie," notes Eric.
At Dr. Zakari's suggestion, Eric also raised his computer monitors at work approximately six inches to change his posture, and now he is working pain-free for the first time in almost a year. Prior to the adjustment, he needed to stop, stretch and ice his neck frequently.
Finally, Eric is undergoing a series of corticosteroid injections into the affected disc area. Leery of surgery or anything like it, he described himself as very nervous prior to his first injection.
"The prospect of someone putting a needle into my spine did not sit well with me," says Eric. "But everyone involved in the procedure was welcoming and worked to put me at ease. I won’t say the procedure was 'pleasant,' but I can say that every single person involved treated me like a human being. The grace and patience I experienced was inspiring and my pain level is the lowest it has been in a year. I am moving forward on all fronts."