Patients from all walks of life share their experience
In their own words, Nura patients talk about what caused their chronic pain, how it affected their lives — and how they found pain relief.
“I can walk for miles.”
In 2006, Michael was involved in a horrible car accident. Over the years, he has dealt with several different injuries resulting from the accident.
“I have had MCLs go bad, issues with my elbow, a torn rotator cuff, and other things.”
Michael was able to find relief in these areas by working with his current pain management clinic, but there was one area that he was struggling to get relief from – his lower back. He tried different treatments to help with his back including epidurals, prolotherapy, and PRP and nothing was working.
“Over the years, we just hadn’t been able to nail down the back issue. The pain would then radiate down my legs and it was so bad that I could barely walk from the bedroom to the bathroom.”
Trying to figure out an alternative treatment plan, a provider on his care team recommended Nura.
“I was very impressed with the attention and the detail that I was given during my first appointment.”
The team at Nura began working with Michael to develop a treatment plan and identify his goals. He was started on epidural shots and after several of those, he met with Dr. Stayner who recommended the Minuteman® Fusion Plate procedure
As an avid elk hunter, Michael has been going on annual hunts his whole life. In 2019, it was tough for him to even hike 100 yards on the trip and in 2020, he wasn’t even able to participate due to the pain in his back. So, one of his goals was to be able to go on this hunt in September of 2021.
In June of 2021, Michael had the procedure and the Minuteman® device was placed in his back to help restore the natural height between discs. Four months later, he was able to fulfill his goal of going on the annual elk hunt. For ten days, he averaged walking three to five miles each day, compared to only being able to hike 100 yards in 2019.
Michael was extremely happy with the relief he felt after the procedure and what he was able to accomplish on his trip.
“Without the Minuteman® procedure, it would have been impossible. Now I can walk for miles.”
“The pain pump has changed my life – night and day.”
On February 18, 1993, Tracy’s life was forever changed. At 16 years old, she was the passenger in a terrible car accident. The car hit a steel mailbox post that ended up going through the windshield and striking Tracy in the face.
“It was basically a domino effect. It just crushed all my bones.”
Tracy was life linked by helicopter from a hospital in Forest Lake to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. She spent two months in the ICU and was put in a medically induced coma for two weeks.
“The first major surgery was 14 hours,” said Tracy, “they basically tried to put the puzzle pieces together as best they could.”
Tracy would undergo 56 reconstruction surgeries to try and rebuild her face including the orbit of her right eye. However, she continued to have sharp, shooting pain in her head – it was constant. Tracy had 12 exploratory surgery to try and find the source of pain but that was unsuccessful. Her pain was now chronic and disrupting her daily life.
Tracy spent years going from neurologist to neurologist and doctor to doctor. No one could locate the source of pain, and each time she was just sent home with another prescription of pain medication.
“It got to the point where my body was dependent on the medication. I was tired of it.”
She spent her days at home trying to deal with the pain on her own. The medication would make her feel numb. She began to doubt herself and withdrew from day-to-day activities.
“You name it. I missed it – Christmases, Thanksgivings, funerals, birthdays, everything. I missed it all.”
Tracy needed something to change. She explored rehabilitation facilities to help with her dependency, but they recommended medication to manage pain. Seeing no other options, she took matters into her own hands and took herself off the medication and went through abrupt withdrawal.
“It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make because I knew what the repercussions would be. I was dealing with the side effects going off the medicine on top of dealing with the pain.”
Looking for a new plan to manage her pain, Tracy began to research alternatives to medication online when she came across Nura (formerly MAPS). She was drawn to Nura because of the different interventional options they offer and their expertise in complex cases. Tracy scheduled an appointment to meet with the team.
“My first appointment at Nura, I just had a feeling that this was it.”
Tracy’s medical history made her a good candidate for an intrathecal pain pump. The Nura team demonstrated how the pain pump delivers medication directly to the pain source leaving the brain free of side effects. After the pump trial, she described her pain going from an 8 to 4 – the relief she felt left her speechless. In 2019, Tracy’s life was forever changed again – she received a pain pump implant, and she hasn’t looked back. She now feels pain relief without the side effects of opioids.
Although she can’t get back the time she missed, Tracy can now live for today. She goes to the events that she couldn’t go to before and can enjoy the simple things in life again.
“The pain pump has changed my life – night and day.”
From the minute I walked into Nura, the staff have been so professional and have been able to turn things around so quickly.
In the early 90s, Scott was involved in an accident that left him having to have back surgery between the L4 and L5 vertebrae. Over the years, the pain has been bearable but in the last few years, it has gotten worse. Scott would see his chiropractor to get relief every six months, then it became every month and eventually was every couple of days. After an X-ray, Scott’s chiropractor told him he could no longer help – the pain in his back needed a new level of care.
It was at this point that he reached out to a pain clinic and went through all the preliminary scans and tests. His team determined that he would benefit from another back fusion surgery.
In the interim before surgery, Scott needed some sort of pain relief. Instead of taking medication, he wanted to get an epidural.
Scott wasn’t hearing back from his pain clinic to schedule the epidural and that is when he was told about Nura and heard they might be able to help.
By the next day, Scott was scheduled with Nura for an epidural in Edina.
“It was a miracle. From the minute I walked into Nura, the staff have been so professional and have been able to turn things around so quickly.”
After getting the epidural, Scott had to complete the various insurance requirements for surgery which included physical therapy.
Scott looked at this as just a checkbox for insurance and was skeptical of the benefits that physical therapy could offer.
“Every time I go in for PT, I thank them for being patient with me. Nura helped me realize the importance of physical therapy. I have improved and it has helped me take my pain down to a manageable level. I am now embracing the process and how it can help me in recovery as well as in everyday life.”
“I have this pain management toolbox with Nura. I have never had that kind of support before.”
In 2002, Dave was on a fishing trip in Canada and while bending down to help launch the boat, he slipped a disc in his back.
From then on and for the past 20 years, Dave has been searching for pain relief. He has undergone a total of five back surgeries, and it wasn’t until his last back fusion surgery in 2014, that he started seeking other pain management options – surgery wasn’t helping.
He then worked with other pain management clinics and tried spinal cord devices from TENS units to spinal cord stimulators. These also did not help. It was then decided that he strictly stick to medication management. Although the medication helped manage the pain, the stress of trying to stay on schedule and dealing with the physical effects became too much to bear.
“I was constantly chasing medication. And when you are taking strong drugs, addiction is really close all the time.”
In 2019, Dave brought his concerns to the PA he was working with and told them, “I can’t live like this. I can’t have this many drugs in me.” During that conversation is when he first heard about Nura and the pain pump device. Searching for a new approach, Dave decided to reach out to set up an appointment at Nura.
Due to his history of back surgeries, a stimulator trial, and medications, he came to Nura with the intent of getting a pain pump. During his first appointment, the team at Nura evaluated Dave to make sure that a pain pump was the right next step.
“I was really impressed with the evaluation. There were four people in the room trying to figure out what the best approach was.”
It wasn’t long after that first appointment that Dave was approved to get the trial and the relief he felt from it was amazing.
“I have this pain management toolbox with Nura. I have never had that kind of support before.”
Dave went from being in the darkest part of his life to coming to Nura and finally feeling hope. After his pain pump implant, he is back to being active – from working out multiple days a week to being able to play with his grandchildren.
“They look at the whole person and how pain affects them – giving lots of options and tools to cope with the pain.”
For 30 years, Wendy has been dealing with pain. She suffers from disc degeneration, facet joint osteoarthritis and lumbar spinal stenosis in her L4 vertebrae which has caused severe pain in her lower back and legs. The pain has increasingly become worse over the years.
To try and find pain relief, Wendy went to a pain clinic to get treatment.
“I received epidural shots in my spine every six months but was primarily trying to deal with the pain on my own.”
Still not feeling relief, Wendy spoke with her doctor and was referred to Nura. At her first visit, she was evaluated, and it was recommended she try epidural injections in the spine. After a while, this path of treatment was unsuccessful, and she was looking for a new direction. Wendy met with Nura’s, Dr. Scott Stayner and he recommended a spinal fusion surgery using the Minuteman® Fusion Plate.
“I wasn’t sure at the time if I wanted to go through with it. Dr. Stayner was really compassionate, and I decided to get it.”
The Minuteman® device was placed in Wendy’s lower back between the L4 and L5 vertebrae to help restore the natural height between the discs. After the surgery, she underwent eight weeks of post op physical therapy.
“Before the surgery, I had a hard time walking and this got rid of the pain in my legs. I was pretty much pain free.”
With the pain in her legs gone, Wendy still felt a little pain in her lower back and that is when it was recommended to join the Nura Chronic Pain Program.
The program meets every day for four weeks and it is designed to provide chronic pain patients with the tools needed to manage their pain, improve coping skills, increase physical function, and reduce the need for opioid medication.
“I learned so much from it – I learned about alternative forms of pain relief from land therapy and water therapy to meditation and healthy eating.”
After completing the program, Wendy has taken a more holistic approach to her way of life and how she manages her pain. She implemented meditation and exercise into her day-to-day life.
“The Chronic Pain Program has changed my life for the better and has given me a more positive outlook.”
“I am so grateful to the Nura staff because they have helped to increase my independence and ability to walk. They look at the whole person and how pain affects them – giving lots of options and tools to cope with the pain.”
“My quality of life went from 10% to 150%.”
Nearly 10 years ago, while she was being treated for a herniated disk, Rachel Saum’s life took a dramatic change for the worse.
The doctor who was treating her accidentally injected dye directly into Rachel’s spinal column. The dye destroyed a critical membrane and caused the onset of an extremely rare, incredibly painful condition.
Seeking relief, Rachel spent months at the Mayo Clinic, where one doctor eventually recognized her condition as arachnoiditis — an irreversible inflammation of the membrane that surrounds and protects the spinal cord nerves.
Because of the pain, Rachel could no longer work at her job in real estate. She went on disability and spent years “in nursing homes, in a wheelchair, taking pills and pills and pills.”
In the fall of 2019, her doctors at Hennepin County Medical Center referred Rachel to Nura for pain treatment, where a trial implant of a pain pump proved as dramatic as her initial injury.
“For the first time in 10 years, I remembered what it was like not to have any pain.”
Rachel soon received a permanent pain pump, as well as counseling from the team at Nura. “I did everything they said to do; I even quit smoking. And everything they promised me would happen, happened.”
Today, at the high-end luxury apartment development where Rachel is the leasing agent, “people have no idea about my history. When they find out, they can’t believe it.”
“I went from being stuck in a wheelchair to walking a mile every day. Nura took my quality of life from 10% to 150%.”
“It’s comforting to know I have someone who is there for me when I need help.”
Diane Wieland has battled severe migraine headaches for half a century. There were many trips to the Emergency Room where she was given Fentanyl for the horrible pain when she experienced a flare up that lasted 5 days. She suffers from cervical and lumbar stenosis, the cause of the migraines.
During the winter months, in desperation, Diane turned to a pain clinic in another state, and their solution was to load her up with opioids, which she did not take. Instead she went to the Emergency Room.
Back in Minnesota, Diane’s neurologist recommended she see Nura’s, Dr. David Schultz, practicing at what was then known as MAPS.
“Dr. Schultz understood what I was going through, and scheduled me immediately for a cervical epidural as well as physical therapy. The results were dramatic….I was pain free.”
“Dr. Schultz took away the debilitating pain, and knowing I am his patient, he will always be there for me when I need him. What a blessing!”
“The pain pump changed my life. Dr. Schultz worked miracles.”
On New Year’s Eve of 2006, Kim Rau sneezed. Which is not unusual, except in this case: as she sneezed, Kim blew out her L5-S1 vertebrae.
“I was at the sink and I froze. I couldn’t move because of the pain,” she recalled. Spinal surgery to fuse the vertebrae followed, but the fusion didn’t help.
It turned out the hardware the surgeon used was too short. So Kim underwent more surgery to remove the hardware, but her back never healed properly. A bad fall in 2008 led to more surgery, and seemingly endless pain for Kim.
“I lived in pain for years and years. Finally, I asked a nurse who she would recommend, and she told me about Dr. Schultz.”
Ultimately, Kim had a pain pump implanted by Dr. Schultz.
“And that changed my life. Dr. Schultz worked miracles. At first I didn’t believe it, but now I can do so much more than I used to.
“At Nura, they really listen to you,” she continued. “They understand you, and I really like that they come out and refill my pain pump. The in-home service is great for people who can’t get out.”
“I would recommend Nura to anyone. I still have days where my arthritis acts up, but after being in so much pain, the feeling of being able to do what you want to do is just great.”
“Since turning on the stimulator, I’ve been virtually pain free!”
About ten years ago, Mickey was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), an inflammatory, autoimmune disease, in the lower back that often causes chronic pain. His rheumatologist started him on Humira which required Mickey to self-administer daily shots. After a while, the shots were ineffective, and the AS continued to spread up his spine. He started on Chemotherapy Remicade; however, the infusions did not give him much relief or stop the disease from progressing. The AS quickly spread to his neck — developing into stenosis and leaving Mickey in extreme pain. He was no longer able to do the things he loved like working out and horseback riding.
While trying to find an alternative solution for his pain, Mickey began going to a clinic that recommended epidural shots and radiofrequency ablations. “They were band-aids and didn’t last long if they did any good at all.” He continued with the Remicade infusions once a month, but the pain persisted. Mickey had, had enough.
After doing some research with his primary care physician, he found himself at the doors of Nura Pain Clinic. “It was a great first meeting… The doctor was highly knowledgeable and understood exactly what I was going through.”
A personalized treatment plan was created for Mickey to address the pain in his neck and back. “Dr. Schultz wrote it out – A, B, C, D and it was just spot on.” Because of his condition, he was a potential candidate for spinal cord stimulator, but conservative approaches needed to be ruled out first.
After a few weeks of conservative care, Mickey still was not experiencing adequate pain relief. It was time to consider the stimulator. He met with the Nura Implant Team to walk through the procedure and schedule a no-risk trial. The benefit of the trial is you get to see how the spinal cord stimulator works before you get the implant. Mickey underwent the trial procedure and immediately felt major pain relief.
“For four days I was pain-free,” he described, “and when you live with chronic pain as long as I have and you are even four days pain-free, it was like I was in Heaven. I went from a 9 to a 0.”
Mickey scheduled to have the spinal cord stimulator implanted. He went home the same day of the procedure and again felt immediate pain relief. A week after surgery, Mickey was feeling great.
“Since turning on the stimulator, my back has been virtually pain free. I can tell a big difference. Again, I can’t say enough good things about it!”
“They didn’t give up on me.”
Nearly 20 years ago, while dismantling a metal walkway at work, Michael Demaris fell and crushed his L4, L5 and S1 vertebrae.
Despite undergoing back and shoulder surgery, he suffered from constant, nearly unbearable pain down his back and legs.
After going from doctor to doctor, in 2004, Mike received a Medtronic stimulator at a pain clinic in Iowa City. “It helped,” he says, “It kept me alive. But I had no quality of life, and spent 4 to 5 hours a day laying in the bathtub just to ease the pain.”
Eventually, both that pain clinic and another told Mike there was nothing more they could do to help him. One doctor even told him the pain was all in his head!
Mike was despondent, but in 2012, his doctor referred him to Dr. David Schultz at MAPS, the precursor of today’s Nura.
“The first thing Dr. Schultz told me was “‘We won’t give up on you.’ I can’t tell you how that made me feel, because I was ready to give up on myself,” Mike said.
After a number of tests and trials, Mike received an implantable pain pump, and that changed his life.
“I can’t believe the difference. After years of opioids, I don’t take any medications by mouth any more.”
“You wouldn’t believe how many doctors I had been to who would only do what workers comp said to do. Nura does what’s right. They listened to me; they didn’t give up on me; and they’ve been right there for me the whole time.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that I would be in a cemetery if it wasn’t for them.”
“They gave me my life back.”
“They worked with me to find a solution.”
In 2006, Jill broke her foot while on an amusement park ride with her 4-year-old daughter.
After surgery to fix the break, Jill began suffering from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, now recognized as a form of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
“It’s kind of like that feeling when your leg has been asleep and starts getting tingly, but worse. And it never stopped,” as she describes it.
Jill had twisted her foot when it broke, and every time she walked on it, the muscles were dislocated all over again. She could no longer walk on her leg without a cast or boot. After five more surgeries, Jill lost her job and had to go on disability.
“I had growths in my foot that had to be shaved off. I had pain meds. I had injection after injection after injection. I was so doped up I feel like I missed whole parts of my life.”
Making matters worse, inactivity caused her weight to increase, eventually to more than 300 pounds.
Jill’s long climb back began on June 12, 2017, when she met Dr. Robert Long and Dr. David Schultz at Nura — then known as MAPS.
“They determined that I’d be a perfect candidate for a Dorsal Root Ganglion stimulator. I had a trial implant, and the difference was so dramatic I wanted to keep the trial unit. For the first time in 11 years, my foot was no longer gray — it was pink!”
Six months later, Jill had her permanent implant. Today, she is back at work, and has already lost more than 100 pounds.
“It’s unbelievable how I can move around. I was miserable, and they worked with me to find the solution. At my previous pain clinic, it was injection-injection-injection.”
So, I would say to anyone in pain: “If there’s something wrong, don’t you want it fixed? Take the time to call Nura. There’s something they can do to help.”
“You’re part of the family.”
Linda Narine was hit by a semi truck when she was 23, sending her off on a lifetime of painful, debilitating back problems and surgeries.
By 2010, after years of pain, Linda couldn’t even get out of the hospital bed she had moved into her TV room.
At that time, Linda started working with Nura founder Dr. David Schultz. “They helped with my pain regimen, just to try and calm it down. It was way out of control.”
“They told me I would never walk again. But I did.”
In 2018, Linda’s spine, which had never fully healed, was fused from her neck to her sacrum. After trying a variety of treatments, including trigger point injections and a spinal cord stimulator, an implantable pain pump proved the best option, and Linda was soon back on her feet, raising her family.
“I think Dr. Schultz is such a wonderful man, and the Nura staff really cares about you, like you’re part of the family,’ she said.
“At one point, they would come and refill my drug pump even when my insurance didn’t cover home infusion. He is truly an angel here on earth.”
“I don’t really have pain anymore.”
John Petersen was diagnosed with leukemia in 2018. Making matters worse, John also suffered severe neuropathy in his hands as a result of his chemotherapy treatment.
His neuropathy became so bad that John had a hard time even gripping a pencil. “My hands became really weak, I had sharp pains, and I just felt like I couldn’t do anything.”
When he first heard about Nura from his oncologist, John wasn’t sure what to think. “I was hesitant. I didn’t want to go.” But ultimately, he did go — and that’s made all the difference.
After an initial evaluation, Nura tried a number of different therapies to help John with his pain. Targeted drug delivery showed the most promise, and after a trial period, John had a pain pump implanted.
“Now they’ve got my pump dialed in almost perfect. I don’t really have pain anymore. It’s been two years, and I feel great. It’s night and day.”
“Every minute matters.”
Rebecca Martin suffers from a variety of ailments, any one of which would be an immense burden to bear.
In addition to an auto-immune disorder — a hereditary condition in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the body itself — Rebecca suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, an inflammatory disease that has caused her hip joint to fuse together.
And when her migraine headaches became continuous, Rebecca was diagnosed with Fahr syndrome — the build-up of abnormal calcium deposits in her brain.
About 10 years ago, she turned to Nura founder Dr. David Schultz for help managing her pain. Ultimately, Rebecca received an implantable pain pump, and that has made all the difference for her.
“I’d been on the train of oral meds, with all of the ups and downs. I’d tried another pain clinic, but Dr. Schultz was different. He’s made an awesome, incredible difference in the quality of my life.
“I have a son and two grandkids, and I can keep up with them. And given my condition, every minute matters. I am also so grateful for the love and support I’ve received from my daughter and my husband of 20 years.”
Rebecca also shared some advice for anyone considering Nura:
“Go for it. You’ll be surprised by your experience. They always treat you with respect, they listen to you, and you help create your own care plan. I would be nothing without them.”
“I’m still standing.”
With bad luck that seems to defy the odds, Diane Christenson had not one, but two major accidents on the job. In 1998, the bus she was driving was rear-ended by another bus, which eventually caused bone rubbing on bone in her lower back. The other accident happened when a work partner closed large automatic folding gym doors on her as she was working.
Prescription opioids and bed rest were the only thing that helped. Over the years, Diane went to “two handfuls of pain clinics” looking for help, but other than telling her to stop taking opioids, Diane got the distinct impression she was on her own.
In 2020, she found Nura, and knew things were different there.
“Some places make you feel like you’re lying to them about your pain. They tried to take me off opioids all at once, and you just can’t handle the pain. But at Nura, they really listen. And they’ve helped me so much I have been just amazed. They even noticed that my shoulders were rolled forward from spending so much time in bed.”
After an initial trial proved beneficial, Diane had a spinal cord stimulator implanted, and “was finally able to stand up for longer than 60 seconds.
“If you have chronic pain, Nura is the place to go. They helped me get out of bed. It’s like that Elton John song says, I’m Still Standing.”
“They listen. They address every concern. They walk the walk.”
When Bob Hermann had spinal fusion after rupturing his back in 1996, his doctor told him he would have “some issues 20 to 25 years down the road” as the vertebrae on either side of the fusion deteriorated.
But Bob wasn’t that lucky.
A few years after his back surgery, he slipped and fell at work, cracking several ribs and causing more back problems. Another surgery — this one to alleviate spinal compression — followed, but over time, the pain grew worse.
Eventually, despite a regimen of prescription medications, the pain was so bad that Bob had trouble getting out of bed, dressing himself, and going down stairs to start his day.
More than once, he wound up in the emergency room needing morphine. “I lost two or three years of my life to that pain,” Bob said.
Then Bob’s ex-wife told him about Nura. And at his first visit, Bob could sense something was different.
“Everyone there, from the receptionist to the doctors, cared about me as a person. I wasn’t just a number. They stood beside me as I went through hell and high water,” fighting for workers comp coverage for his injury.
Nura approached Bob’s pain conservatively, trying different medications, steroid injections, nerve ablations, and a spinal cord stimulator. Relief was intermittent.
Eventually, in the latter part of 2020, Bob trialed a new spinal cord stimulator (Abbott Labs BurstDRTM stimulation therapy). The results were dramatic.
Two weeks after the implant, he brought dinner to his daughter’s family, telling her she “might have her old dad back,” while enjoying renewed attention from his beloved grandchildren.
“I realized one day that this is how normal people feel,” he said. “At work, they noticed I was smiling again.”
“I can never thank everyone at Nura enough for what they did, how grateful I am. They’re fighters, and they never gave up. It meant so much to know I wasn’t alone.
“I owe my life to them.”
In his early twenties, Darrius Hubbard was stricken with a severe, debilitating illness, leaving him in chronic pain — and wondering if he’d ever walk again.
“I couldn’t be the mom I wanted to be.”
In 2014, a truck pulling a boat drove onto the highway directly in front of Charity Stillman, putting her in the hospital with a fractured spine.
Two spinal-fusion surgeries left Charity in chronic pain due to nerve damage at the fracture site. “I tried a number of different pain clinics, but all I got was oral opioids. I didn’t like them. I was in a wheelchair, a single mom with two kids, and I couldn’t be the mom I wanted to be.”
According to Charity, Nura’s approach is different from other clinics. “They work on the person as a whole. The staff knows your name, and that’s a really nice feeling. They do physical therapy, pool therapy, counseling, and they even do the surgeries there. They take a very personal approach.”
Two years ago, after trialing a spinal cord stimulator, an implantable pain pump changed Charity’s life.
“I was disabled for so long, but life is totally different now. I am active with my kids, and I’m the Personal Care Assistant for my Dad. I’m not in pain anymore. No more pills, with their highs and lows. Nura gave me my life back.”