Erin Hewit, R.N. vividly remembers when her debilitating back pain began. In March, 1981, while trying to prevent the fall of a heavy patient, she wrenched her back. That moment marked the beginning of her four-year search for pain relief.
After her orthopedist took x-rays and a CAT scan, he diagnosed her problem as a herniated disc. But when she refused to have a myelogram, a dye-injected x-ray of the spinal column, he announced there was nothing more he could do for her and sent her to a physical therapist. After four months of back exercises, hot packs, and traction, Hewit felt a little better, but every time she tried to return to her normal activities, she'd be laid flat with a relapse.