November 2018 Patient Spotlight - Meet James!


Ten years ago, on Thanksgiving Day 2008, James was in a horrific car accident. He broke his neck in 3 places and suffered nerve damage.   Doctors had to use pins and a piece of his hip to help stabilize his c1 and c2 vertebrae. At the time, James installed fire protection sprinklers in buildings. He had to climb ladders while lugging long and heavy lengths of pipe. But after the accident, James was limited in how much he could lift his arms. Being an installer was too physical for him, and James suffered from a lot of pain. He couldn’t sleep very well because it was hard to get comfortable, and he was very sensitive in his back and neck. Extreme cold and hot temperatures were hard to tolerate.

The first few years after his accident, James could do very little. He did nothing but see pain specialists, trying to find some kind of relief, and some way to stay active. Unfortunately, none of them were able to help him. Then, in March 2014, James came to Boston PainCare. He lives in Dudley, Massachusetts, which is an hour away on a good day. James said, “it was a rough journey at the beginning but ever since I got here, it’s been worth the drive!”

At Boston PainCare, James has seen Dr. Silk and Dr. Bajwa for nerve blocks and epidural steroid injections which helped him tremendously, but he was still very sensitive. James said he could feel his pain, but he didn’t let it stop him from doing what he wanted to do. Then he met with Dr. DiBenedetto who suggested he would be a good candidate for a Spinal Cord Stimulator. James agreed to do the trial implant and found that it helped a great deal with his pain sensitivity. He passed the trial implant with flying colors and is now waiting for the permanent implant. James says, “It’s a drive but it’s worth the drive! I recommend Boston PainCare to everyone!”

When describing his pain today, James says, “When my body is relaxed, it hurts. When I’m up and moving around, physically doing something, I feel better. You need to keep your mind off the pain by doing something. You don’t know what you can do until you actually try it.”

Initially, pain stopped James from doing what he was doing. “No more,” he says. He’s learned how to work with his pain, and now he’s able to go back to work. Not as an installer. Now he does carpentry. James uses his skills to do interior decorating and remodeling. He’s built hardwood cabinets and recently rebuilt a bar. Now James says he is, “always busy doing something! For me. For family, as well as my clients.”

James says the best thing you can do is “stay focused. Don’t let the pain beat you. Beat the pain! Everybody has their whole life ahead of them. You can’t stay ‘in that chair’. You’ve got to live to the best of your ability: 

"It's about progress, not perfection!"