Peggy Greavu was just a kid when an ice skating accident landed her in the hospital with a bent spine. A lifetime later, after living for years with debilitating back pain, Greavu credits HealthEast Spine Care with getting her back on track.
“I've had back problems for much of my life,” says Greavu, 74, who lives in Oakdale. As a child growing up in St. Paul, Greavu enjoyed ice-skating with neighborhood friends. During the winter, her father would make an ice skating rink in the yard for the kids. Bales of hay provided cushion at each end of the rink.
“We’d have so much fun,” she says. “We’d start at one end and skate as fast as we could to the other and jump into the hay.”
One time, however, Greavu missed the hay and hit a large piece of ice. Unable to walk right away, Greavu and her parents went to the hospital where doctors said she was lucky she didn't fracture her spine or suffer paralysis. Instead, she bent her spine near her tailbone.
Greavu recalls spending “a very long time” in the hospital, and the accident caused one of her legs to be an inch shorter than the other. Doctors told her she would likely have trouble with her back later in life.
That forewarning proved to be true. While she’s lived with back pain for years – throughout her five pregnancies and at her job as a foreman at a large local manufacturer – Greavu says it was just in the last five years that the pain became unbearable.
“I worked for 17 years climbing ladders, jumping over and sliding under conveyor belts, lifting large rolls of paper as part of my job, and I guess it took its toll on me,” she says.
Greavu‘s primary care doctor recommended that she see a pain specialist and referred her to HealthEast Spine Care. There, a physician board-certified in pain medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, prescribed cortisone injections to treat Greavu’s intense back pain. The injection did the trick – however, that wasn't the only reason for her pain relief.
“The doctor was one of the most gentle, kind and caring doctors I have ever had, and I've had a lot,” she says. “The whole team was the same way. A week after my injection, the nurses called me to check how I was doing. You can just tell that they call because they care about you, not just because it’s their job.”
The injection usually relieves her pain for months at a time; however, this grandmother of seven and great-grandmother of three admits to sometimes overdoing it, causing the pain to flare back up.
“They give me my shot and then within two or three days, I’m doing the same things I was doing before – golfing, playing with my grandchildren and what not,” she says. “Sometimes I even go tobogganing, but only on the short hills.”