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Doctor's Childhood Injury Drives Practice

Dr. Jeffrey Heftler of Greenwich’s ONS, or Orthpaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists, and a member of the active medical staff at Greenwich Hospital, knows what it means to suffer from back pain. When he was 18, Heftler suffered two herniated discs.

The pain required epidural injections and exercises but with treatment he recovered. Years later, there is still some residual management, but it hardly hampers the parts of life Heftler cares about.

“Most people can get right back to the things that mean something to them. For me, it's playing with my kids. My 8-year-old son, his favorite thing in the world is to be held upside down and tickled. That’s the stuff I can do. If I can’t play racquetball so that I can do that, then it’s no big deal,” Heftler says.

At ONS, he administers injections and management treatments for patients with injuries that are often similar to what afflicted him. His treatment relied largely on epidural injections that he found unpleasant. These days, Heftler said there is a push toward doing physical therapy and working on core strength, although the needle is still there when needed.

Heftler will discuss the methods of treatment available during a presentation at Greenwich Hospita l on June 7. The Back Pain and Treatment Options seminar will be part of the Chronic Pain Education Forum. To register for the free discussion or register, call 203-863-4277 or 888-305-925 or register online .

According to Heftler, one of the best ways to avoid severe injury is to pay attention to your body and “listen” to yourself. “People know when you’re doing something wrong, and they go ahead and try and push through it.” That’s when they get hurt.

Heftler says the joy in his profession comes when someone can return to enjoying the things in life they were missing. “Everyone loves to do the things they do; runners love to run, golfers love to golf and bowlers love to bowl.” He paused and laughed. “Those are my three most common patients.”

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