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Finding Relief and Hope for the Future

Gritman Interventional Pain Clinic provides management options and expanding expertise

Sunni Caylor Interventional pain patient

The pain in her back was so debilitating that 71-year-old Pullman resident Sunni Caylor was nearing the point of giving up.

“I thought if this is what it means to grow old, I don’t even want it,” Sunni said. “I’d rather lie down and die.”

Less than six months later, Sunni’s outlook on life has taken a dramatic shift.

It started with a visit to Dr. Musa Modad, a physician at Gritman Medical Center’s Internal Medicine Clinic, and then a referral to the hospital’s Interventional Pain Clinic.

“They gave me enough relief to start thinking there was a future out there somewhere that I would be able to take part in,” Sunni said. “Now, I almost feel like me.”

Sunni had been living with intense back pain for more than three decades–she thought it was just the way things were. It was just part of aging, her thinking went. Then it got to the point she could barely stand.

“It was more terrible than I could deal with, and that’s when I saw Dr. Modad,” she said.

Sunni was immediately impressed with her new doctor. She never felt rushed, and it was clear he was listening to all of her concerns. Dr. Modad encouraged her to visit the pain management team.

Thanks to our partnership with Panhandle Anesthesia Associates, Gritman has Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) certified in non-surgical pain management and trained in advanced pain treatment options. Combined, our four CRNAs have more than six decades of medical experience.

Sunni started with a routine steroid shot in her lower back, and while it helped, it was not enough. The pain management team recommended cooled radiofrequency ablation. Like most people, Sunni had no clue what cooled radiofrequency ablation was.

The process involves the destruction–or ablation–of nerves to reduce chronic pain by preventing the transmission of pain signals. It can provide a year or more of pain relief and improve physical functionality–without the use of potentially addictive pain medications.

Sunni saw no reason not to give it a try, and just hours after her first ablation she was already experiencing less pain. It took a few more ablations but now Sunni is walking and standing straight–something that seemed impossible only a handful of months ago.

“Now I feel almost like me. I still have back pain, but it’s different,” Sunni said, adding she was able to stay standing and wrap all of her Christmas presents. “I couldn’t have done that six months ago. It is amazing.”

Sunni was not only impressed by the success of the procedures, but by the friendly and caring nature of the Gritman staff.

“You feel like part of the team,” she said. “It’s like hanging out with friends. I used to think that maybe I was keeping them from their work, but I wasn’t.”

Learn more about how our Interventional Pain Clinic can help you at gritman.org/interventional-pain/.