Back pain dad feels like he’s been stabbed

Worcester News: IN PAIN: Justin Willis with wife Gené  and daughter Tyler. IN PAIN: Justin Willis with wife Gené and daughter Tyler.

A DISTRAUGHT dad collapsed in agony in front of his frightened young daughter because of chronic back pain which doctors have so far been unable to cure.

The pain, which he has endured for more than a year, is so intense that Justin Willis, of Beauchamp Road, Malvern, feels like he has been “stabbed” and is forced to use a walking stick at 42 years old.

He has spoken of his distress as his five-year-old daughter bursts into tears and feels like the pain is somehow her fault.

Mr Willis’ ordeal began last October with a prolapsed disc in his lower back which may have been caused by him lifting a guitar amplifier.

Since then he has been under the care of the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Willis has had two MRI scans, in February and October, and has been subject to several treatments including acupuncture and a pain-numbing nerve root block injection in July at Spire South Bank Hospital in Bath Road, Worcester. He has been prescribed pain-killers and has also been to clinics run by Mr Grainger at St Martin’s Gate Surgery in Worcester.

But he says if anything the pain is getting worse and it has spread to his right leg, hip and buttock.

For the last six weeks he has been signed off sick from his work at Foster Care Co-operative in Malvern by his GP, at Malvern Health Centre.

He collapses, on average, four times a week.

During one particularly distressing incident he collapsed in Tewkesbury High Street in front of his five-year-old daughter, Tyler, and wife Gené.

He said: “I just dropped to the floor. People must have thought I was having a heart attack.

“I have a five-year-old dau-ghter who bursts into tears every time she sees this happening. She isn’t able to understand and when it happens in the house she thinks ‘Is it something I have done?’ “She strokes my arm to try and make it better. It feels like somebody is stabbing me. It is absolute agony. The pain is off the scale.”

Mr Willis now feels that his daily life is on hold and as he cannot drive or even perform the most simple household tasks.

While he his family has experienced positive care through the NHS in the past he says the health service is now failing him. He now has to wait until December 16 for his next appointment.

A spokesman for the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Justin Willis has been in contact with our patient advice liaison service PALS) and spoken to extensively last week.

“His symptoms don’t seem to correlate with his scans which I’m sure will be discussed with him at his next appointment which is a little over two weeks away.

“He continues to be under care and we would hope that we will be able to find suitable treatment for him to alleviate his pain.

“We do understand how debilitating pain can be for our patients, the adverse impact it has on quality of life and how it can limit family and day to day activities. This understandably can have a profound effect on overall health and wellbeing. It is usual practice for doctors and surgeons to explore what we call conservative treatments before proceeding with any surgical intervention.

“Conservative treatments include but are not limited to medication, splinting, physiotherapy and pain-killing injections for example.

“Surgery for low back pain is only undertaken when the surgeon feels the patient has exhausted all other reasonable options.”

Comments (24)

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12:19pm Sat 30 Nov 13

jb says...

I've read the article and have been left trying to see exactly how this person feels he's been failed by the health service, he's got an appointment soon and has already had treatment. I'm not an expert but the symptoms he described as similar to ones I get with sciatica, that can cause intense sudden pain and cause my legs to go from beneath me. The hospital hasn't abandoned him or caused more problems he's just like everyone else and has to wait.
I've read the article and have been left trying to see exactly how this person feels he's been failed by the health service, he's got an appointment soon and has already had treatment. I'm not an expert but the symptoms he described as similar to ones I get with sciatica, that can cause intense sudden pain and cause my legs to go from beneath me. The hospital hasn't abandoned him or caused more problems he's just like everyone else and has to wait. jb

2:09pm Sat 30 Nov 13

THE FACTS says...

This appears to be a case of "someone else is responsible".

The chap seems to have caused the proiblem himself yet implies a third party is in some way remiss.

Does he have a friend on this newspaper group?

Final point: The cost of treatemnt so far is MRI £500 x 2, nerve root block £1500, Grainger appointment x 3 £450, acupuncture x £200, physio x 3 £300 medicines £100 ?
So the taxpayer has spent about £4,000 does this chap realise this?
BTW prolapse frequently heal themselves without surgery but it usually takes 1 year.
This appears to be a case of "someone else is responsible". The chap seems to have caused the proiblem himself yet implies a third party is in some way remiss. Does he have a friend on this newspaper group? Final point: The cost of treatemnt so far is MRI £500 x 2, nerve root block £1500, Grainger appointment x 3 £450, acupuncture x £200, physio x 3 £300 medicines £100 ? So the taxpayer has spent about £4,000 does this chap realise this? BTW prolapse frequently heal themselves without surgery but it usually takes 1 year. THE FACTS

2:56pm Sat 30 Nov 13

denon says...

I feel sorry for any one who is ill.
The paper and he should step back and think....has my treatment been delayed because some one else is in worse pain...a "free" service inevitably has time rationing as well as clinical rationing..It is strange to have put it in the paper
I feel sorry for any one who is ill. The paper and he should step back and think....has my treatment been delayed because some one else is in worse pain...a "free" service inevitably has time rationing as well as clinical rationing..It is strange to have put it in the paper denon

3:01pm Sat 30 Nov 13

Ronnie6704 says...

Another that thinks he is owed the moon on a stick!
Another that thinks he is owed the moon on a stick! Ronnie6704

4:59pm Sat 30 Nov 13

presterjohn says...

If he was living in America now he would be heading for medical bankruptcy and about to lose his home. Medicine is not magic and doctors are not magicians. It takes time and effort to work out what tricky illnesses are. People watch CSI and think things can be worked out in minutes with scientific equipment the reality is test results take time and many illnesses share common effects and can therefore be misleading. I just hope he has not got something like AS which it sounds a bit like.
If he was living in America now he would be heading for medical bankruptcy and about to lose his home. Medicine is not magic and doctors are not magicians. It takes time and effort to work out what tricky illnesses are. People watch CSI and think things can be worked out in minutes with scientific equipment the reality is test results take time and many illnesses share common effects and can therefore be misleading. I just hope he has not got something like AS which it sounds a bit like. presterjohn

6:54pm Sat 30 Nov 13

AngHad says...

THE FACTS wrote:
This appears to be a case of "someone else is responsible".

The chap seems to have caused the proiblem himself yet implies a third party is in some way remiss.

Does he have a friend on this newspaper group?

Final point: The cost of treatemnt so far is MRI £500 x 2, nerve root block £1500, Grainger appointment x 3 £450, acupuncture x £200, physio x 3 £300 medicines £100 ?
So the taxpayer has spent about £4,000 does this chap realise this?
BTW prolapse frequently heal themselves without surgery but it usually takes 1 year.
Your concern for the costs to the tax payer is commendable, however knowing this individual, I can verify that this gentleman has in fact been a UK tax payer for 24 years without having any other medical issues besides the odd prescription. He has paid for every physio, osteo and acupuncture appointment for his back personally, not through the NHS.
It's not about 'someone else is responsible' - having the Consultant's registrar telling you that 'you would have more luck if you won the lottery' does not help with one's belief in the system. It's not about feeling that anyone owes him anything, it's about the complete lack of communication including being told that 'your results would be available in 5 days but your apoointment is in 9 weeks', to be told at that appointment that you will need further treatment which will 'probably' be in about another 6-8 weeks.
[quote][p][bold]THE FACTS[/bold] wrote: This appears to be a case of "someone else is responsible". The chap seems to have caused the proiblem himself yet implies a third party is in some way remiss. Does he have a friend on this newspaper group? Final point: The cost of treatemnt so far is MRI £500 x 2, nerve root block £1500, Grainger appointment x 3 £450, acupuncture x £200, physio x 3 £300 medicines £100 ? So the taxpayer has spent about £4,000 does this chap realise this? BTW prolapse frequently heal themselves without surgery but it usually takes 1 year.[/p][/quote]Your concern for the costs to the tax payer is commendable, however knowing this individual, I can verify that this gentleman has in fact been a UK tax payer for 24 years without having any other medical issues besides the odd prescription. He has paid for every physio, osteo and acupuncture appointment for his back personally, not through the NHS. It's not about 'someone else is responsible' - having the Consultant's registrar telling you that 'you would have more luck if you won the lottery' does not help with one's belief in the system. It's not about feeling that anyone owes him anything, it's about the complete lack of communication including being told that 'your results would be available in 5 days but your apoointment is in 9 weeks', to be told at that appointment that you will need further treatment which will 'probably' be in about another 6-8 weeks. AngHad

7:09pm Sat 30 Nov 13

solar1 says...

I'm surprised that the ROH felt it appropriate to give out so much confidential information about their patient.

That is cause for a complaint.
I'm surprised that the ROH felt it appropriate to give out so much confidential information about their patient. That is cause for a complaint. solar1

8:22pm Sat 30 Nov 13

drowningnotwaving says...

I have a painful corn on my toe, every time I put on my work boots it's agony. I feel so let down by my corn plaster manufacturer.
Will I make the news ?
I have a painful corn on my toe, every time I put on my work boots it's agony. I feel so let down by my corn plaster manufacturer. Will I make the news ? drowningnotwaving

10:10pm Sat 30 Nov 13

CharlieAlpha says...

Who DOESNT suffer with back pain these days? But how many complain? This article is pathetic.
Who DOESNT suffer with back pain these days? But how many complain? This article is pathetic. CharlieAlpha

10:25pm Sat 30 Nov 13

Andy-Apache says...

I've been working for 30 years. Averaging out my salary from my first to my current salary (yes, that is very approximate), that looks like roughly £90,000 in national insurance during my working life so far.

I'm guessing this chap after 24 years in work has paid in FAR more than four grand, and I too would feel aggrieved being shoved from pillar to post!

The NHS is a service (the 'S' is the clue) and it's a service some of us pay for. If you paid for a car service and they just kept turning you away shrugging their shoulders and asking for more money, how long would it be before you said 'enough'?
I've been working for 30 years. Averaging out my salary from my first to my current salary (yes, that is very approximate), that looks like roughly £90,000 in national insurance during my working life so far. I'm guessing this chap after 24 years in work has paid in FAR more than four grand, and I too would feel aggrieved being shoved from pillar to post! The NHS is a service (the 'S' is the clue) and it's a service some of us pay for. If you paid for a car service and they just kept turning you away shrugging their shoulders and asking for more money, how long would it be before you said 'enough'? Andy-Apache

9:36am Sun 1 Dec 13

moonpig says...

I genuinely feel very sympathetic to this man but seriously, I cannot see how this can possibly be 'news'. I know many people who live with chronic illness and pain but they are not in the papers.
I genuinely feel very sympathetic to this man but seriously, I cannot see how this can possibly be 'news'. I know many people who live with chronic illness and pain but they are not in the papers. moonpig

11:38am Sun 1 Dec 13

Andy-Apache says...

By the tone of some of the comments on this page, I think I'll start producing some sort of shoddy goods and selling them to you guys. When they break, I'll just shrug my shoulders and ask for more money to repair them.

Of course, there'll be no need for you to complain, as you'd just berate others for complaining in the same situation wouldn't you?
By the tone of some of the comments on this page, I think I'll start producing some sort of shoddy goods and selling them to you guys. When they break, I'll just shrug my shoulders and ask for more money to repair them. Of course, there'll be no need for you to complain, as you'd just berate others for complaining in the same situation wouldn't you? Andy-Apache

2:31pm Sun 1 Dec 13

goodygoody says...

I am wondering why this is in the newspaper. My husband suffers dreadful pain and has had all possible physio, medication, tests and so on. Finally he was admitted into hospital last week for his long awaited operation, only to have it cancelled (along with others) after spending the whole day waiting for the op. No new operation date as yet. My husband is not alone either. Yet none of these have had their 'story' in the paper. And nor would they want it to be!
I am wondering why this is in the newspaper. My husband suffers dreadful pain and has had all possible physio, medication, tests and so on. Finally he was admitted into hospital last week for his long awaited operation, only to have it cancelled (along with others) after spending the whole day waiting for the op. No new operation date as yet. My husband is not alone either. Yet none of these have had their 'story' in the paper. And nor would they want it to be! goodygoody

6:13pm Sun 1 Dec 13

presterjohn says...

This "he pays his tax" business makes me chuckle. If he paid in one hundred thousand pound into the NHS over the last 25 years that could get eaten up in no time with certain illnesses like cancer. Illness is a lottery. Some people never need to call on it for anything other than minor things others have life threatening injuries or illness. One person might cost the taxpayer tuppence another half a million. That is just the way it is. Every one knows the NHS is top heavy with management and that they have lots of waste and you might have to wait longer for treatment that you want to. The alternative is private care like they have in the states. That costs a fortune and they will not cover you for pre-existing conditions like diabetes. Socialised health care creaks and groans with financial and management issues but it is far better than the alternative. The alternative for many would be death.
This "he pays his tax" business makes me chuckle. If he paid in one hundred thousand pound into the NHS over the last 25 years that could get eaten up in no time with certain illnesses like cancer. Illness is a lottery. Some people never need to call on it for anything other than minor things others have life threatening injuries or illness. One person might cost the taxpayer tuppence another half a million. That is just the way it is. Every one knows the NHS is top heavy with management and that they have lots of waste and you might have to wait longer for treatment that you want to. The alternative is private care like they have in the states. That costs a fortune and they will not cover you for pre-existing conditions like diabetes. Socialised health care creaks and groans with financial and management issues but it is far better than the alternative. The alternative for many would be death. presterjohn

7:11pm Sun 1 Dec 13

broken6 says...

So, all the old age pensioners who need hip sugery and are in agony, should all get a story devoted to them in the Worcester News?

Most of them have probably paid 40 plus years of NI contributions. Where is their story?
So, all the old age pensioners who need hip sugery and are in agony, should all get a story devoted to them in the Worcester News? Most of them have probably paid 40 plus years of NI contributions. Where is their story? broken6

8:17pm Sun 1 Dec 13

Bike boy says...

I think they guy is just work shy, and looking for any excuse to get some disability allowance! Why not give him a car on notability to go with it.......
I think they guy is just work shy, and looking for any excuse to get some disability allowance! Why not give him a car on notability to go with it....... Bike boy

9:02pm Sun 1 Dec 13

CharlieAlpha says...

Man up and get on with life!
Man up and get on with life! CharlieAlpha

11:38am Mon 2 Dec 13

rose49f says...

I too had exactly the same problem. Prolapse discs and had to collapse on the floor when the pain got too bad. Do what the physios say and work out yourself when the pain comes on and why. I had an epidural injection which helped and six years on I can manage my life. I still have to be careful, no heavy lifting, no sitting in low chairs (my dream of owning a sports car out the window), no bending to pick things off the floor and the list goes on. But I have to get on with my life and keep working like most people do. The NHS helped me a lot.
I too had exactly the same problem. Prolapse discs and had to collapse on the floor when the pain got too bad. Do what the physios say and work out yourself when the pain comes on and why. I had an epidural injection which helped and six years on I can manage my life. I still have to be careful, no heavy lifting, no sitting in low chairs (my dream of owning a sports car out the window), no bending to pick things off the floor and the list goes on. But I have to get on with my life and keep working like most people do. The NHS helped me a lot. rose49f

2:40pm Mon 2 Dec 13

tippo214 says...

My wife has had back problems for a few yrs now and any treatment she has had fails, ie scans that dont find nothing, she's had two spinal infusions that didn't work.
injections into her spine that didn't work.
several times addmited into different hospital aroud the midlands came home worse,
then went on residential pain management courses in a hospital in bath, this was to help her manage her pain (not cure it).
that made her worse as having to go to a gym and other things, made it worse again.
then been put on high dosege of morphine the ammount they use to give people when there dying.
plus she has to wear high dosage morphine patches which don't work.
still didn't stop her back pains, then told by specialists that there is nothing more they can do for her.
bloody NHS makes my blood boil when they tell her they can't do nothing else for her.
she even went on the internet to find a cure herself, she found one thing that a small operation in her back and to be fitted with a gaget that specialists can monitor and automatically feed her with drugs,
her GP wrote to the specialists and she has had to go to a dudley hospital for consoltations now. going again to see someone else wether they will fit this item into her back, we will see what they say next week. as it's a costly operation and the NHS only do so many per year due to cost.
she also has a pin that was broken and left in her spine many yrs back and they won't take it out now, perhaps this is the cause of her problems.?
this has been going on now since she was 15 and was told she would end up in a wheelchair in later yrs.
but not happened yet, she's now nearly 48yrs old now and still suffering every day. she worked for several years in security and had to give up work after over 12 yrs doing that job, atr that time the pain was manageable and could get a long with it, and now not been able to work since.
she is still walking with the aid of walking sticks and has a disability scooter to help her out a bit.
so people don't critercize other people who have back problems, if you had what she had believe me you would know about it.
My wife has had back problems for a few yrs now and any treatment she has had fails, ie scans that dont find nothing, she's had two spinal infusions that didn't work. injections into her spine that didn't work. several times addmited into different hospital aroud the midlands came home worse, then went on residential pain management courses in a hospital in bath, this was to help her manage her pain (not cure it). that made her worse as having to go to a gym and other things, made it worse again. then been put on high dosege of morphine the ammount they use to give people when there dying. plus she has to wear high dosage morphine patches which don't work. still didn't stop her back pains, then told by specialists that there is nothing more they can do for her. bloody NHS makes my blood boil when they tell her they can't do nothing else for her. she even went on the internet to find a cure herself, she found one thing that a small operation in her back and to be fitted with a gaget that specialists can monitor and automatically feed her with drugs, her GP wrote to the specialists and she has had to go to a dudley hospital for consoltations now. going again to see someone else wether they will fit this item into her back, we will see what they say next week. as it's a costly operation and the NHS only do so many per year due to cost. she also has a pin that was broken and left in her spine many yrs back and they won't take it out now, perhaps this is the cause of her problems.? this has been going on now since she was 15 and was told she would end up in a wheelchair in later yrs. but not happened yet, she's now nearly 48yrs old now and still suffering every day. she worked for several years in security and had to give up work after over 12 yrs doing that job, atr that time the pain was manageable and could get a long with it, and now not been able to work since. she is still walking with the aid of walking sticks and has a disability scooter to help her out a bit. so people don't critercize other people who have back problems, if you had what she had believe me you would know about it. tippo214

3:08pm Mon 2 Dec 13

broken6 says...

People with back issues are not being criticized. This story is being critized because many, many people have back problems and this gentleman is no better or worse than any of them. So why is this story a "newsworthy item"?

The NHS does an amazing job for millions of people. It's impossible for them to cure everyone. I'm sorry for those who still suffer, but in the whole scheme of things I will defend the NHS for the amazing work they do for others. Just because they can't cure me/you/someone else, doesn't make them a failure. Which is why this story is causing so much anger!
People with back issues are not being criticized. This story is being critized because many, many people have back problems and this gentleman is no better or worse than any of them. So why is this story a "newsworthy item"? The NHS does an amazing job for millions of people. It's impossible for them to cure everyone. I'm sorry for those who still suffer, but in the whole scheme of things I will defend the NHS for the amazing work they do for others. Just because they can't cure me/you/someone else, doesn't make them a failure. Which is why this story is causing so much anger! broken6

3:23pm Mon 2 Dec 13

THE FACTS says...

It's impossible for the NHS to cure all conditions. Just because they can't cure me/you/someone else, doesn't make them a failure. Stop blaming the NHS. The message on this comment stream is ... Be responsible for your own health.
It's impossible for the NHS to cure all conditions. Just because they can't cure me/you/someone else, doesn't make them a failure. Stop blaming the NHS. The message on this comment stream is ... Be responsible for your own health. THE FACTS

5:02pm Tue 3 Dec 13

Flowerhouse says...

I don't particularly think this is a news worthy story either but I do feel sorry for this man. He probably sees his treatment as shoddy because he is just focused on his back pain. As a sufferer of chronic back pain myself, I realise how utterly soul destroying it can be but I do understand that not everything can be cured just like that. Making assumptions about him being work shy are unfair ( and yes I am working). Saying he should be responsible for his own health is also unfair, I'm sure he didn't injure himself deliberately. And to the person who 'stated' a prolapsed disc takes about a year to heal; how do you know this exactly? Everybody is different, for instance you can suffer intense pain with no changes on an MRI or you can have no pain with an horrendous MRI picture.
I don't particularly think this is a news worthy story either but I do feel sorry for this man. He probably sees his treatment as shoddy because he is just focused on his back pain. As a sufferer of chronic back pain myself, I realise how utterly soul destroying it can be but I do understand that not everything can be cured just like that. Making assumptions about him being work shy are unfair ( and yes I am working). Saying he should be responsible for his own health is also unfair, I'm sure he didn't injure himself deliberately. And to the person who 'stated' a prolapsed disc takes about a year to heal; how do you know this exactly? Everybody is different, for instance you can suffer intense pain with no changes on an MRI or you can have no pain with an horrendous MRI picture. Flowerhouse

6:06pm Tue 3 Dec 13

THE FACTS says...

"And to the person who 'stated' a prolapsed disc takes about a year to heal; how do you know this exactly? "

It is a medical fact.

It is equivalent to asking me "water boils at 100c how do you know this exactly?"
"And to the person who 'stated' a prolapsed disc takes about a year to heal; how do you know this exactly? " It is a medical fact. It is equivalent to asking me "water boils at 100c how do you know this exactly?" THE FACTS

12:13am Wed 4 Dec 13

Real Facts says...

THE FACTS wrote:
"And to the person who 'stated' a prolapsed disc takes about a year to heal; how do you know this exactly? "

It is a medical fact.

It is equivalent to asking me "water boils at 100c how do you know this exactly?"
I think you'll find every case is different.

Just as you'll find that water boils at different temperatures dependent on atmospheric pressure.
[quote][p][bold]THE FACTS[/bold] wrote: "And to the person who 'stated' a prolapsed disc takes about a year to heal; how do you know this exactly? " It is a medical fact. It is equivalent to asking me "water boils at 100c how do you know this exactly?"[/p][/quote]I think you'll find every case is different. Just as you'll find that water boils at different temperatures dependent on atmospheric pressure. Real Facts

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