By: Carol Beck-Round | Category: Health & Fitness | Issue: April 2012
Stephen Hager, who suffered from back pain for 15 years, says it affected all areas of his life. Hager stands beside the Accu-Spina machine at Spinal Decompression of Oklahoma that helped him find relief from years of pain.
For 15 years, Stephen Hager battled back pain. Physical therapy, steroid injections, electric stimulation and painkillers didn’t relieve the pain following an accident in 1997. “I didn’t want to get hooked on medications,” says Hager, “and most treatments only gave me temporary relief, two weeks at the most.”
Back pain affects 85 percent of the U.S. population at some point in their lives. Hager’s pain began with an injury to his left thigh. While working at the Port of Catoosa, Hager was looking forward to playing basketball at an Oklahoma college that fall. His basketball dreams ended, however, when he accidentally cut into the muscle in his thigh with a concrete saw. Surgery left the injured leg 3/8 inches shorter.
Six months of physical therapy followed so that Hager could learn to walk again. Told by doctors that he would never be able to walk without a cane or a crutch, he decided at age
18 that he would rather limp. “It’s kind of hard to get a girlfriend when you’re limping around,” he says. “So I began to contort my body so it would disguise the limp.”
Because Hager was fighting the limp, his spine became crooked. “As years went by, the pain got worse,” he says. “I’d get to a point where if I had an episode, I couldn’t move. They could last anywhere from two to three days to almost two weeks.”
It was through a friend that Hager learned about Spinal Decompression of Oklahoma. “My friend talked highly of Dr. Gary Fortner, so I thought I would check out this treatment that I had never heard of,” he says.
After Dr. Fortner measured Hager, he confirmed the left leg was indeed 3/8 inches shorter. “I thought I was destined to have surgery,” says Hager. “I learned that if I had already had back surgery, I would not have been a good candidate for spinal decompression.”
Hager began his 20-treatment plan in early February. “The first two weeks, I went daily, Monday through Friday for one hour each visit,” he says. “There is no pain involved in the treatment, and I had immediate relief after the first one.”
After just two weeks of treatment, Hager had absolutely no pain. Before then, if you had asked Hager to describe his pain level on a scale of one to ten, he would have replied with a six or a seven. “You just grow to accept it,” he adds.
However, the pain had affected his ability to hold down a job. “I don’t like to miss work,” he says. “However, there were days I had to miss because I was in the hospital or at a doctor’s office undergoing treatment. I didn’t have a choice because the pain was so intense.”
The day Hager first walked into Spinal Decompression’s office, he says, “I could barely walk in because I was stooped over in pain.” His brother, Seth, affirms the shape his older brother was in before he began his spinal decompression treatments. “He couldn’t even stand up straight.”
“I am very pleased with everyone in the office,” says Hager. “They all take time to visit with you and discuss what you are going through, while some doctor’s offices run you through like you are part of a cattle herd. They don’t. They really care.”
For Hager, relief from the constant pain has had another benefit. “Before I went through spinal decompression, my pain sometimes stopped me from doing things with my children. I am now able to spend time playing ball outside with them.”
“I highly recommend spinal decompression to anyone who has been sitting there in pain,” he adds.
After 30 years in public school education, Carol Round retired and moved from Grand Lake to Claremore, Oklahoma in 2005, where she writes a weekly faith-based column which runs in 14 Oklahoma newspapers as well as several national and international publications. Three volumes of her columns have been compiled into collections: A Matter of Faith, Faith Matters and by FAITH alone. She has also written Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God and a companion workbook, The 40-Day Challenge. This past year she has written three children’s books, a series called Nana’s 3 Jars, to teach children about the value of giving, saving and spending money. All of Carol’s books are available through Amazon. In addition to writing her weekly column, authoring books and speaking to women’s groups, she writes for Value News. She also blogs regularly at www.carolaround.com. When she is not writing or speaking, she loves spending time with her three grandchildren, working in her flowerbeds, shooting photos, volunteering at her church or going on mission trips overseas, and hiking. She is also an avid reader and loves working crosswords and trying to solve Sudoku puzzles.