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Managing Pain Without Drugs
Counseling Can Help

I began having severe daily headaches in 2013,” says Gena Jones, 49, of Lincoln. “At first my doctors thought the headaches were migraines, but tests done in 2014 showed they were caused by a tiny, ongoing leak of cerebrospinal fluid, which surrounds the brain.

“My pain was extreme whenever I sat up, and I needed help with all activities. Thankfully, my mom and my family helped out a lot because I was in severe pain so much of the time,” she explains.

“About three years ago, I went to see pain specialist Kelly Zach, MD. He did a procedure called a ‘blood patch,’ in which a small amount of my blood was used to make a clot. The clot was then used to stop the leak of cerebrospinal fluid from around my brain.

“After the blood patch, my headache pain was about half of what it had been, although Dr. Zach said I may eventually need another blood patch procedure to maintain the relief — and he’s performed several of these for me in recent years.”

Gena adds, “Dr. Zach referred me to licensed clinical psychologist Stacy Waldron, PhD, at the Bryan Counseling Center to learn ways to cope with my
remaining pain.

“She taught me how to deal better with daily stresses, and how resting, taking breaks and doing relaxation exercises reduces pain. I also learned how to improve my sleep and eat better so I could have more energy.

“Within a year of starting my work with Dr. Waldron, I was managing the pain quite a bit better, and in 2017, I went back to college to finish my degree. I graduated from Southeast Community College in March and now work full time as a certified medical assistant and limited radiologic technician.”

Gena points out, “I still have pain, but it’s much less because of the treatment Dr. Zach provided and the pain management work I did with Dr. Waldron.”

There is Hope, There is Help

For more information about available treatment programs, see your doctor, or contact the Bryan Independence Center at 402-481-5268 or the staff at the Bryan Counseling Center at 402-481-5991.

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