My name is Ken Bell. I reside in Sangerville, Maine.
In 1985, I sustained an injury to my neck from a truck that slipped and fell off a jack. This resulted in unrelenting headaches, neck pain, and numbness in 2 of my fingers, all of which had worsened over the years.
Since that time, I have seen countless Doctors, Neurologists, Pain Management Specialists, and Chiropractors. I have had MRI’s, Nerve Conduction Studies, and X-Rays. I have seen Doctors all over the State of Maine and have traveled to hospitals in Boston, searching for someone who could help me. I have been prescribed pain meds, received injections, gone to physical therapy, and most recently had a rhizotomy of the facet joints performed, as well as radio frequency lesioning, all to no avail.
It seemed that every physician I have seen, told me the same thing. They
did not seem to think there was anything they could do for me. It was as though they wanted me to give up and accept the fact that drugs and injections were going to be my way of life, although neither got rid of the pain, they only masked it, and not well.
So, rather than accept these terms, we became even more relentless in our search of finding something or someone who would be able to help.
Early this fall, my wife, who was searching the internet for any alternative forms of treatment, found Dr. Nystrom, and the University of Nebraska Medical Center on their whiplash site. We read about Dr. Nystrom, his unique procedures, as well as the testimonials from other people he had treated. I immediately filled out the online Medical History Form, emailed it, and heard back from him the same day! We then had several conversations via email and phone, he consulted with my Doctor here at home, and as a result determined I would be a good candidate for the surgery. FINALLY!! HOPE!!
Although my insurance would not cover the procedure, I went ahead and scheduled the surgery. I arrived at the Medical Center, got settled in at the hotel at the Lied Transplant Center on campus, and met with Dr. Nystrom the next day. He explained the surgery to me, how he would wake me up during the procedure, so that I could tell him where the pain was stemming from, to ensure that he had found the problem, and he would be able to correct it. The next day, he performed the surgery. He woke me up as he said he would to pinpoint the problem region, repaired the troubled area, rechecked with me to make sure that the pain was indeed gone, and stitched the incision with such precision, it was hardly noticeable.
That evening, after the surgery, for the first time in years, I was headache free!!
I awoke the next morning, still not quite knowing what to expect, and incredibly, still, I had no headache, no neck pain, and my fingers were not numb.
I actually spent the entire next day at the Zoo in Omaha, and enjoyed myself, completely pain free, for the first time in a very long time!
Dr. Nystrom called and checked in with me every morning during my stay at the Lied Transplant Center Hotel after the surgery, to see how I was feeling and to make sure I was doing well and had no concerns. He even left his pager number, so if there were any problems, I would be able to get in touch with him.
Thank You can not begin to say all that I want, to Dr. Nystrom. I believe I would have gone on suffering ceaselessly, if not for him. He is caring, compassionate and genuinely concerned for his patients and their well-being. I cannot emphasize enough to anyone who is tormented with chronic pain and feels they have exhausted all efforts, please, do not give up, get in touch with him.
After suffering so much, for so long, I believed it would take nothing short of a miracle to help me. Dr. Nystrom is indeed that miracle. He has given me a priceless gift. He has given me my life back.
Peter J. Lennarson M.D.
Assistant Professor – Dept. of Surgery / Neurological Surgery
As a Board Certified Neurological Surgeon on the academic faculty at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, I have developed a neurosurgical practice with an emphasis on spine related problems. Occasionally, patients present in my office with severe pain after whiplash trauma to the neck, where radiographic and other laboratory investigations fail to identify an injury that would explain their problems. With reference both to my personal experience from encounters with patients who have undergone “trigger point” surgery by Dr. Ake Nystrom, and to his large body of statistical outcome data which I have reviewed, I have come to appreciate the service that he offers as one of significant value to me as a referring colleague, as well as to patients who may qualify for the treatment that he offers.
Ginny Griffin, Age 38
Chula Vista, California
My accident happened on October 10, 1995. Someone ran a stop sign and the car I was in was broadsided at a 4-way intersection. I was seated on the passenger side in the back pretty close to the point of impact and was thrown across the car.
As far as treatments go, that’s a rather long story. I’ll give you the expanded version and you take what you need.
Over the course of treatment I tried it all – from braces and splints, a TENS unit, acupuncture, multiple drug trials, countless trigger point injections and satellite ganglion blocks, to physical, occupational and psychological therapy and surgery. The first procedure was an ulnar transposition, which failed. By then I was told to just learn to deal with it. Fifteen months later, I met Dr. Ake Nystrom and had the spinal accessory surgery. I had the spinal accessory surgery. That is the end of the headache part of the story. A few months later, I had a sympathectomy. Shortly after that, Dr. Nystrom removed two more trigger points which took care of the arm except for the residual complications from the transposition.
That is just the upper extremity part. About two years ago, I started experiencing right leg and lower back pain and started limping. At first, I was told it was sciatica or a disc herniation. One opinion was that the RSD had returned and was spreading. Another doctor thought I possibly had a minor stroke and yet another neurologist thought I had MS. When the MRIs turned up negative, I was referred to a pain specialist who said I had piriformis syndrome and other than physical therapy there was no treatment option. So I returned to see Dr. Nystrom. A trigger point injection on my lower abdomen lessened symptoms immediately so he felt I was a good candidate for surgery. After the operation on my stomach, I have no trace of a limp. Once again, the surgery made a recovery that I was told was impossible reality.
Martha Roth, Age 49
On the 21st of September 2003 I arrived to Omaha together with my husband, checked in to the hotel at the medical center sat down, took some deep breaths and started thinking. What had I done? Nearly twenty hours of travel across the world with excruciating pains partly controlled with painkillers. I had never met the doctor who had given me hope through phone conversations and rigorous questioning about the source and nature of my suffering, which emanated from a car accident three years earlier. At an intersection I was hit from the side by another car and thrown about 30 feet sideways which caused a twisting motion of my head.
As is frequently the case with WAD cases, the most severe suffering did not develop until later, when I overexerted myself in connection with a move to another house. At that point, I went to the university hospital close to where I live in Sweden and was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid (Bechterews decease), was put on sick leave from my professional job as a psychiatric nurse and prescribed strong sedation. After a year of suffering and rehabilitation treatments, I was told never to expect a normal life but prepare myself for an existence in continuous pain, unable to sleep and enjoy the quality of life that I once had become accustomed to.
Although I had read about the success rate of Dr. Nystrom’s trigger point surgery, I was also told that not all cases would qualify for this type of treatment and that the pre-operative evaluation would be critical in determining if the operation would be performed at all. Two days later I was shaking of nervousness and anticipation when I sat down in front of Dr Nystrom to be examined. He quickly located the trigger point that caused my suffering and injected a small amount of Novocain in the suspected nerve junction. Voila! My pain was suddenly gone and I could move both arms and head freely with absolutely no pain! I was ecstatic and felt like giving Dr. Nystrom a big hug.
A couple of days later I was rolled into the operating room, scared but full of expectations. I had been forewarned about the pains that could be severe when the patient had to be partially taken off anesthetics to point out any remaining pain spots. To me, no pain in the world, sustained for a few seconds, could be so great that I would not trade it for an improvement in my condition. But the fact is that I do not remember when I was taken off anesthetics and asked to move my arms and head. Apparently, I was OK without having to point at any residual pain. This is not the norm but in this case I was happy to be an exception.
Later that evening my husband and I had dinner with Dr Nystrom and his wife and I felt like a miracle had been performed. Following the operation, I have not taken a single pain killer and after a few months of recuperation I was able to go back to work full time and resume a perfectly normal life. The funny thing is that I was offered to work days instead of my normal night shift and when I preferred not to change I had to get a medical opinion from my original doctor assuring the hospital that I was capable of handling the much greater physical danger with psychopathic patients at night, with significantly reduced staffing. This I feel is the final proof of medical success and for me the ability to resume normal life and participate in all the physical activities that my three teenage children challenge me to, is worth more than I can express.
Mr. Kerry Kaminski Age 41
I am currently 41 years of age. My problems began in my late teens for no known reason. I mostly ignored them and passed them off as ordinary aches and pains. I began working in my early twenties as a computer programmer. By my mid-twenties, I had developed chronic severe neck pain. Over the next few years, the problems progressed into my chest, back, and forearms. By my late twenties, I was having trouble functioning in my job and was finally forced to leave by age 31 due to my chronic pain condition.
On my doctor’s advice, I left my computer-programming job to retrain in a position that required less repetitive arm activity. Unfortunately, by the end of that retraining period, my condition had considerably worsened and had spread to my legs as well. By this time, I had my chronic pain condition throughout my entire body. After a period of on and off again employment where my pain condition kept interfering with employment, I finally sought out surgical help. I had had nerve release surgeries at my wrists and elbows to mostly good effect. However, because I had had so many problems throughout my body, and negative nerve conductivity studies, the neurologists concluded that the problem was actually myofascial rather than related to major peripheral nerve problems. As a result, I was no longer able to continue down the path I was on with local surgeons.
I learned that myofascial pain was characterized by the presence of “trigger points”, which coincided with what I felt. Further, over the years, all of the therapeutic options I had tried were actually for myofascial pain. For example, I had tried “myofascial release”, “intramuscular stimulation”, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, massage, various physiotherapy techniques, and psychotherapy. Nevertheless, my problems continued to worsen. The only thing that had helped, and permanently, was the nerve release surgeries.
When I came across a description of Dr. Nystrom’s trigger point surgery on the Internet which talked about essentially doing a nerve release of small nerves from the fascia, I thought it would be worth a try since it seemed to coincide with my experience. After a cautious examination, Dr. Nystrom agreed to try the surgery on me.
The first surgery was on my forearms above and below the elbows. It lasted approximately an hour and I was awake through the whole experience. Dr. Nystrom warned me that the procedure could be very painful. The worst part of the procedure was the incisions. It was interesting, though not as bad as I expected. With the skin out of the way, the “trigger points” were more vivid when touched and I had no problem locating them during the procedure. Further, I could tell on the operating table when the “trigger point” had been removed. By the next day, normal sensation and strength had returned to the forearms. By the day after that, I did most of the driving back home to Calgary from Omaha-a 25 hour drive. It had not been that easy to drive for well over a decade.
I have since had further surgeries for trigger points on my lower legs and in the armpits. All have gone very well and resulted in complete relief of the “trigger points” operated on and unexpected benefits in areas sometimes far removed from the surgical sites. In addition, I seem to have begun to be able to sleep again. One dramatic improvement in the approximately seven months since I first saw Dr. Nystrom is my large reduction in reliance upon pain medication. When I first saw him, I was taking up to 2000 mg of Neurontin and 30 mg of amitriptyline daily. Now, I am much more active and functional and take 10 mg of amitriptyline each day. I no longer need the Neurontin. I feel like I am waking up from a long nightmare. I am currently always testing myself by cleaning up loose ends with various building projects around the house and car maintenance projects. I find that I am more than twice as active as I was before my first meeting with Dr. Nystrom. With all of the added activity and passage of time, there has been no recurrence of any problems that Dr. Nystrom operated on.
About the surgery, and perhaps I am different from others, but I did not find it as terrible a process as Dr. Nystrom led me to believe. It was very painful at times, but I have had far more difficult visits to the dentist. Only my second surgery with Dr. Nystrom was difficult and that was because they ran into a difficult area to work on which caused the procedure to go on for two hours.
I have had a large part of my life restored to me and for this I will be forever grateful to Dr. Nystrom. He has created a procedure that is an enormous benefit to us myofascial pain sufferers.
Nina Andersson, Age 36
My name is Nina Andersson. Eight years ago I hurt my neck in a car accident when I got hit from behind. I was in the middle of a wonderful time in my life. I was about to get married. I was going to London for a work-study trip for five weeks with some colleagues of mine. I had gotten my first film job as a hairdresser and makeup artist and I was appointed as the project leader. I used never to have headaches and was very seldom home from work. Right after the accident, I developed severe headaches, stiffness and pain in my neck. As time went on I keep working as usual, pretending the Pain did not exist. Yet, I had to go to the emergency room, my pain was killing me to the point where I vomited and had difficulties with vision. All kinds of tests were done including x-rays and MRI, and I was told that I had a whiplash injury. “Oh, good!” I thought, “Now, what can we do about that?” “Nothing,” the doctor told me. “Just hope that your body can handle the pain and that it will settle down.” I said “It is impossible! I can’t live like this.” The answer was: “Well we hope you are one of the lucky ones and that it will go away.”
After six years later and two long rehab programs, all kinds of therapies, studies, medications, life style changes, move to accustomed living, unemployment since the day of the accident, I was still no better -I was worse! Worst of all – my hope of a life was very small.
Then I read a newspaper story about middle aged woman in northern Sweden who after a trigger point operation by Dr. Ake Nystrom experienced relief after 18 yrs of pain. Since then, I have read and heard more and more about the same procedure and Dr Nystrom. I was lucky to get in contact with him in February of this year, through the help of a old colleague of his, Dr Carl Hagert. I arrived in Omaha, NE, on the 28th of Mars, scheduled for surgery on 1 April 2004.
Today, on 28 April back in Stockholm, Sweden, I have no headaches at all. I have not taken any medicine since I came home and I sleep with out pain medicine. Movement in my neck is so much better. I can go on and on, but I have one thing to say that summarizes it all: I have gotten my Life back and I will always be grateful that I was so lucky to get this opportunity. My pain was relieved after 8 years of headache every day. I still do not think it is true. To wake up without headaches is like living in a dream. I now enjoy a walk in the nice weather and when I close my eyes I see Omaha and Dr Nystrom, his great laughs ringing in my ears. I also se all the volunteers that helped me go thru this by myself, especially Marty and her husband Ed. Nebraska Medical Center and Omaha always has a special place in my heart.