Carolyn Spaulding

Treatment at Greene County Medical Center Pain Clinic have brought back quality of life

Special to the Jefferson Herald

Carolyn Spaulding spent more than 13 years in extreme pain. That is until she underwent radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treatments with the Pain Clinic at Greene County Medical Center. “In 2009, I had a herniated disc in my lower back that put pressure on my sciatic nerve,” Spaulding explained. “I had surgery to remove that disc and the pressure was relieved; but other problems arose. I had other discs that collapsed and I had developed arthritis in my spine.” The high pain levels from years of overcompensating with other parts of her body as well as the disc and arthritis problems led to her referral to a West Des Moines pain clinic.

“The doctor down there was great, but West Des Moines is a long drive when your back is killing you,” said Spaulding. “And, you have to find somebody to take you and that is asking a lot.” When she learned of the Pain Clinic opening in Jefferson and that they were doing RFA treatments as well, she jumped at the chance to have her procedures at home. “Today, it takes five minutes for someone to get me to the Pain Clinic here in Jefferson. My procedure takes around an hour and then I am home again within another five minutes or less.”

Spaulding met with Dr. Keith Barnhill at her first visit and was immediately impressed. “I knew I was in the right place and in the right hands,” she said. “He really listened to me, he took what I was telling him seriously and he explained everything. If I had any concerns, he addressed them. Even during my procedure he was talking with me, checking to make sure I was comfortable and doing okay. I have been very impressed with him and all of the staff from the beginning.”

The RFA treatment was done on a Friday and by Sunday, just two days later, Spaulding said there was a very big change in her pain levels. “It was like a miracle. It had decreased the need for pain medications and my husband even noticed that I am moving better and not quite as grouchy,” said Spaulding. 

It is important for Spaulding that she share her story because she knows of so many people in and around Jefferson that are struggling with chronic pain. She wants all of them to know they don’t just have to live with it. “This community needs the hospital and the services they provide,” she added, wanting to do everything she can to support the community she loves. “I moved to Iowa from Massachusetts and then to Jefferson about 23 years ago because I wanted to raise my son in this small town atmosphere. I have never regretted that choice,” she said. “I love Jefferson, I love the people and I love how everyone helps each other. I have been blessed to work with great people, and to have found caring wonderful providers at Greene County Medical Center.”

Spaulding said because of the care she received at the Pain Clinic, her quality of life has vastly improved. “My four grandchildren now have a grandmother who is able to give them happy memories of love, play and laughter today and for long after I am gone,” she explained. “I can return to doing the things I took for granted before the pain hit, like taking my dog for a walk or exercising to help reduce my weight; which will also ease some of the remaining chronic pain.”

A tough lesson Spaulding was amazed to learn early on in this healthcare journey is that pain in one part of your body impacts your entire life. “But it also amazes me to know that people right here in Jefferson, at the Greene County Medical Center Pain Clinic, are ready to do all they can to bring quality back into our lives.”

Talk with your primary care provider about a referral.

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