By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: January 2011
Billie Hudgens wants everyone to know that there is hope for many who suffer from back pain and associated problems.
It’s reported that nearly one million Americans suffer annually from painful vertebral compression fractures (VCF). Some may see improvement in the accompanying pain, but many will not show improvement without proper treatment.
Billie Hudgens is a patient of James Webb, M.D. Dr. Webb is board certified by the American Board of Radiology and fellowship trained in interventional musculoskeletal radiology. He has provided minimally invasive spine procedures to patients in northeastern Oklahoma since 2005. His specialization includes interventional pain management and orthopedic and sports medicine imaging.
Mrs. Billie Hudgens suffered from excruciating stomach pain for two years and had gone from doctor to doctor in an effort to pinpoint the problem and find relief. “My doctors were unable to diagnose the source of the pain,” said Billie. “On January 15, 2004, my gallbladder was removed, and on April 5, my spleen was removed, but I still suffered abdominal pain. I knew it was just a matter of time before I would be confined to a wheelchair, but I was determined to remain active, exercise, and work in my yard as long as I could.”
In early August of 2004, Billie bent down to dust a piece of furniture, felt pain in her back, and was unable to get up. After an office visit, her gynecologist called and instructed her to go immediately to the hospital, where Dr. James Webb was waiting to examine her and, hopefully, recommend treatment that could reduce her pain.
“I met Dr. Webb, who took X-rays and informed me that he had determined the cause of the new pain and the source of the abdominal pains I had experienced the past two years,” said Billie. That same day, Dr. Webb treated her spine fracture with a minimally invasive spine procedure, known as vertebral augmentation, whereby bone cement is injected directly into the fractured vertebra. Once in position, the cement hardens in about 10 minutes, fixing the fragments of the fractured vertebra and providing immediate stability. Billie spent one night in the hospital and the pain was gone – from her back and from her abdomen.
Vertebral fractures are quite common. Up to a quarter of a million are diagnosed each year, according to reports from Spine-health.com. Most fractures occur in older people with fragile bones and an underlying condition of osteoporosis. Many have never been diagnosed with osteoporosis, and fractures commonly occur with normal daily activities or minor incidents. Some fractures occur silently without significant pain while others can be painful and even disabling.
Billie Hudgens was diagnosed in January 2008, with additional fractures in other vertebra along her spine. She received treatment from Dr. Webb, spent one night in the hospital, and returned home free of pain and feeling good as new. In May of 2008, she was diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spine) and received steroid lumbar epidural injections by Dr. Webb in May of 2008 and June of 2010. Again, the pain was relieved.
“I wanted to do this testimonial,” said Billie. “I want people who are suffering from osteoporosis and related spinal problems to know that in many cases something can be done to ease or totally eliminate the pain and discomfort.”
When an elderly person complains of back pain, the person, their families, and even their physicians often attribute it to common arthritis or assume it is just part of the process of growing old. Many of these patients are never checked for vertebral fractures. “Please,” says Billie, “give yourself a chance by contacting Dr. Webb. I don’t want anyone else to experience what I endured for over two years. Dr. Webb is one of the most compassionate people I have ever known, and I so appreciate what he has done for me.”
Duane Blankenship has spent his professional career in advertising and enjoyed nearly 30 years of employment with Cities Service Oil Company, Lowrance Electronics, and Zebco. He has been self-employed for nearly 20 years, producing advertising projects for clients in northeastern Oklahoma and from Washington State to Florida. His hobbies over the years have included multiple sports, hunting and fishing, boating, bicycling, horses and creating fine art pencil drawings. Duane has written nearly 800 business-related stories for Value News since 2005. He has an outgoing personality, enjoys meeting people and making new friends. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married 48 years. Both claim to be semi-retired, but enjoy remaining "plugged in" to their respective professions. They are both active in their community and church.