Keith Peters, 46, a tall and broad-shouldered Oak Ridge, NJ man, is no stranger to pain. On a cold night in 1997, a drunk driver hit Keith’s car head-on, leaving Keith and his two passengers seriously injured. This initiated a decades-long struggle with chronic lower back pain and opioid addiction.
“It would take me until 5:00 am to find a position comfortable enough to fall asleep, but then I’d have to wake up at 6:00 for work,” he said, recalling the many side-effects of his lower back injury. “I was even afraid to pick up my kids. It might trigger the pain,” Peters said with tears in his eyes.
Then a 2nd accident in 2007 exacerbated the problem and the addiction became worse. His primary care physician addressed the pain in the only way he was trained – by prescribing a variety of opioid medications.
“I was popping pills like Pez: Vicodin, Percocet, anything that the doctor would prescribe, sometimes 120 in a week.” It was a quick escape from the pain that had defined his life.
Peters was afraid of surgery, having several friends who only got worse after going under the knife, so he felt that pain meds were his only option. “I felt like the goal of my primary care physician was to win a trip by prescribing the most pills,” he said, recalling his many visits to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions. “You trust in the doctors. You hope they have your best interest at heart and then you realize that you’re really on your own. Nobody intends to get hooked on pills,” he continued, “the opioid abuse is rampant. I lived it.”
One day in March 2017 Keith took a pull to start his chainsaw and the motion brought him to his knees.
His wife encouraged him to try Randolph Pain Relief and Wellness Center in Randolph, NJ. He was depressed and anxious when he walked in.
After a look at his X-ray, Dr. Dean Curtis, chiropractor and co-owner of the Center, which serves Morris County and Sussex County, NJ said, “We can take care of this. It’s not that bad.”
Peters started to tear up.
“This was the first place that didn’t suggest prescribing pills. All the other doctors only had dismal things to say. This was the first time that I felt some level of hope.”
Peters never thought he’d lead a normal life, but after only the 2nd session with Curtis he started to feel relief and just kept coming back. “The chiropractors give me exercises to do at home. If I do have pain I just take an aspirin and Advil and feel better.”
“I can do yard work, and I’m cautiously starting to use my legs more. And I really think about how I’m using my body so that I don’t get hurt,” Peters said.
“Education is an important part of the healing process,” said Curtis. “The patient’s willingness to exercise and to be aware of the body can make a huge difference in his or her recovery.”
“I wish I could explain how amazing I feel right now — I haven’t felt this good in 15 years,” Peters said. “There’s something about the energy at Randolph Pain Relief. Everybody remembers your name. They’re so polite. I often wonder if I could have changed the trajectory of my life if I had come here 10 years ago. If I had met a doctor who could actually help me.”
Now, when Peter’s six year old son asks for “uppie,” he can bend down (using proper form) and lift his son into his arms and give him a squeeze.