Nimmie's story
 Nimmie's story: Osteoarthritis

Whether it was her back, her shoulder, her knee, or her neck, Nimmie knew this: it hurt. And as a retired physician, she knew there would be no easy solution for her pain. Osteoarthritis, the gradual wearing down of protective cartilage around the joints, wasn't a condition that gets better. Unfortunately, it is something that, over time, only gets worse.

But there are ways to address osteoarthritis and make life more comfortable, and over the last few years Nimmie has embraced several strategies, including pain-relieving epidural steroid injections at Mayfield Brain & Spine. Nimmie has had injections in her lumbar spine (her lower back) and in her cervical spine (her neck).

For years Nimmie was plagued by shoulder pain, the result of a biceps rupture that had been misdiagnosed. More recently, exercises to relieve her shoulder pain had triggered neck pain. She also developed pain in her lower back. After a long period of suffering, she finally called Mayfield and made an appointment. "I had known about Mayfield for a long time, since my residency," Nimmie says. "I always recommended Mayfield as the best, and I had sent a lot of patients there. They can diagnose pretty much anything."

Nimmie saw Robert Bohinski, MD, PhD, a spine specialist. Dr. Bohinski did not think surgery was needed, so he referred her to Marc Orlando, MD, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at Mayfield. For pain relief, Dr. Orlando recommended an epidural steroid injection, which involves the delivery of a corticosteroid to the epidural space in the spine. In the months since, Nimmie says, "My pain level is so good that I don't need to take ibuprofen or any other medications. I have good sleep."

The path to living with osteoarthritis includes more than pain injections, however. Nimmie is a true "spine athlete," someone who cares for her back each and every day the way athletes care for their bodies. Her exercise regimen includes Yoga, riding a stationary bike, walking, and water aerobics three times a week at a local fitness center. She schedules a regular massage with deep heat and has undergone dry needling at Mayfield Physical Therapy.

"I do stretches daily, I do meditation," she says. "I can feel my body lengthening when I take that deep breath."

In short, Nimmie is living well with osteoarthritis through self-care and periodic injections. "Change is constant," she says. "As we grow older, we need to accept these changes and embrace them. Life is short. Everything I do – reading, cooking -- makes me happy."


~Cindy Starr

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Hope Story Disclaimer -"Nimmie's Story" is about one patient's health-care experience. Please bear in mind that because every patient is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Results are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.

Learn more about epidural steroid injections.


Related links:

What is PM&R?

Anatomy of the Spine