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From Nerve Damaged to Pain Free – The Power of Food in Action

February 12, 2012

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Grace Collins, a current student at Integrative Nutrition, follows a strict anti-inflammatory diet, supports a strong gut with probiotics, and eats well to support her natural immune system. Unfortunately, it took a car accident, a dangerous epidural injection gone wrong, and months of unbearable pain for her to get to this point.

Two years ago, Grace was told an epidural cortisol steroid injection would heal the pain she was suffering after her accident. When the doctor she had trusted punctured the wrong space with the injection, Depo-Medrol began to seep into her spinal fluid and spread through her central nervous system, killing the connecting nerves throughout her body. Grace is not alone in suffering unexpected complications from this procedure. In fact, the market for epidural shots is estimated at a booming $300 billion a year.

The malpractice resulted in what Grace described to LA Times Daily as “non-stop pure modern-day torture.” As she hopelessly watched her own body deteriorate, her lack of faith in her doctor’s ability to understand her pain increased. While researching her symptoms online, she discovered “arachnoiditis,” a condition caused by an epidural malpractice resulting in internal scarring, severe inflammation, and excruciating pain. 10 days after reading about it, Grace was diagnosed with the condition.

Grace tried an array of therapies, vitamins, and detoxes, but ultimately discovered her greatest medicine in food. She read books by prominent health experts and Integrative Nutrition teachers such as Andrew Weil, Joel Furhman, Neal Barnard, and Mark Hyman. She incorporated anti-inflammatory and alkaline foods into her diet to rebuild her immune system. She said the food naturally cooled her nerves and cleared the pain deep in her spinal cord region, which wasn’t possible with acupuncture or chiropractic treatment.

After learning to heal herself through food, Grace enrolled in the Health Coach Training Program, and plans to raise awareness about the unknown dangers associated with spinal cord injections and arachnoiditis. Her story is an amazing reflection of the concept that food truly changes everything. Without knowing the risks of certain procedures, many people look to their doctors for all the answers, or turn to drugs for quick pain relief. By sharing what she endured, Grace can inform others that when given the chance, our bodies can be best healed through natural means.

About the author

Bridget Shannon is a contributing writer to Wellness Today. She loves almond butter (often straight off the spoon), running in Central Park, and trying new recipes in her tiny NYC kitchen. She is a 2013 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.