In 1999, John Fisher injured his back lifting weights. He had a disketomy but after three years had to retire from his job as a diplomat with the U.S. Embassy in Thailand because of the back pain. Returning to the States, he had two more back surgeries, another disketomy and a back fusion.
To cope with the pain Fisher tried multiple treatment options, including physical therapy, mediation, massage therapy, chiropractic care and steroidal epidural injections. "I tried almost everything, really," he says describing how the pain in his right leg was so intense he couldn’t stand for more than ten minutes. "I was screaming in pain."
The only comfortable position, says Fisher, was lying down. "I could sit for a while and then I’d have to walk."
He was considering having a neurstimulator implanted in his spine to help control pain when he met Dr. Goodman from St. Luke’s Physiatry Practice at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute and learned about Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS).
Since IMS is non-surgical, he decided to try it first, though he was cautiously optimistic because by this point his injury was ten years old. Still, he says, "each treatment helped a little bit. After the sixth treatment we found the sweet spots. It was like a light switch. It turned my pain off. It gave me my life back."
A year after treatment, Fisher says he could do almost anything. "I can ride a bike again, I can walk. I can go shopping, all kinds of things, I’m thinking if I can golf again."
"Honestly, I haven’t found anything that I really can’t do," he says, adding that before IMS he thought he’d eventually be in a wheelchair because the pain was so debilitating. Now, he says "I’m totally mobile again."
The IMS treatment, says Fisher, "went right to the root of the problem. When Dr. Goodman finds the spots where the needle starts to quiver, it is like scratching an itch that you haven’t been able to reach. It is so funny, as soon as he hits that spot, you know that is the spot."
With his pain under control and his mobility back, Fisher only goes in for an IMS treatment if it hurts, and says the time between treatments gets longer and longer. He can now go more than six months between treatments.
"The relief that I get is almost immediate. I can walk in the door in extreme pain and walk out without any pain other than that light bruised feeling," he says. "I sing Dr. Goodman’s praises wherever I can. If you are having any type of referred nerve pain, you’ve got to try it… It will give you your life back."