Fight Pain Back. Become an Empowered Patient!
You may not control your pain, but you can control your response to it
I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, degenerative disc disease, and facet arthropathy at the age of 35. Ironically, this was the same year I became the CEO of SpineUniverse, now Vertical Health. I was drawn to this job because of my experience using online community and collaboration in education and healthcare to solve social and business problems. I have seen first-hand how the internet makes information that was once available only to experts available to patients. And in today's day and age, where more and more responsibility is being put on us the patient, access to information can be all that separates us between a healthy life or one filled endlessly battling disease like chronic pain.
But I viewed the problem from the perspective of an internet entrepreneur and marketer, not from a patient suffering every day with simple tasks like burping my baby son when I had low back pain or spending nine hours in front of a desk with an aching neck and tingling fingers. That all changed when I was told by a surgeon that I needed a multi-level fusion from L4 to S1.
Fast forward five years later (still no fusion), and I've come to believe even deeper in the concept of an empowered patient, a patient who goes to sites like SpineUniverse.com to understand their treatment options for chronic low back pain or DiabeticLifestyle.com to find health recipes for their type 2 diabetes. The more we take control of combating our diseases, the better care we will receive and the greater likelihood of overcoming our challenges.
It's not easy. I know... I still experience pain every day, but if you follow this blog, I will share with you my strategies and those of other empowered patients who are making a difference in their lives and others. What alternative do we have? I do know this: since I took control of my pain, it's grown more manageable, I've bypassed surgery (for now), and with a healthier attitude I believe I, and my family, have enjoyed life more, which is all we can ask for in the end.