How a Utah Woman Changes Her Life and Her Outlook on Pain Treatment.

By Tim Pickett, PA-C

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Amy Has Seen Failures and She Has Struggled with Pain.

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Amy Stellar has seen plenty of friends fail in their attempts to stop taking opioid prescriptions. Over the years, some of those people turned to illicit drugs or fentanyl pain patches only to see the pain return in the absence of meaningful alternatives. Stellar herself is no stranger to disappointment and trauma. During her own 6 year struggle with pain, the Salt Lake City native tried every pill and treatment imaginable.

Stellar’s pain struggles began with an auto-accident in early 2012. Hospitalized for days, she was prescribed opioids after surgery and was unable to decrease those medications, trapping her in a difficult cycle. “The more I tried to decrease my pain pills, the more depressed I got,” she explains, “and the less active I was.” That cycle was, unfortunately, intensified by physical challenges. She was gaining weight and her body now had added joint problems that made activity even more difficult. As often is the case with chronic pain patients, depression, discouragement, and more prescriptions soon followed.

Frustrated by her struggles with a seemingly intractable pain problem, she eventually started searching online for solutions. She tried chiropractic care, physical therapy, massage, and was seeing a counselor at her church for guidance. She found some information online about reducing pain medications by using plant-based alternatives. She was surprised, however, when the attending physician refused to offer her access to the Utah medical pharmacies due to a “lack of evidence.” Frustratingly, her doctor offered no assistance or advice on how she could reduce her opioid use and Stellar continued down a dangerous path of prescription drug use.

She got a wake up call.

Eventually, she realized her prescription medication use was getting worse. Stellar was using pills for the pain, others for sleep, some for depression, and now for anxiety. She couldn’t ignore this anymore. With years of experience working in healthcare, she had seen firsthand the struggles faced by those battling prescription overuse.

she looked for options to treat her pain.

This unfortunate escalation caused Stellar to begin researching more seriously. She was encouraged by the success stories she encountered but was still very unsure about pursuing “alternative options.” That is when she discovered Tim Pickett, PA-C and Dr. Jared Lake, alternative and integrative medical professionals at Utah Therapeutic Health Center. Tim Pickett evaluated Amy and worked with her on several tactics to reduce her prescription medication use. 

As their first step together, the providers at Utah Therapeutic introduced Amy to products that would allow her to continue working throughout the day and function while reducing the pain medicine she was taking. By journaling her medication use, Stellar realized just how much medicine she was taking. She was also surprised to learn that she was able to take alternative medications and not become so “out of it.” She cut her opioid use in half in the first two months.

Although encouraged by the initial success, Stellar was still not entirely able to do away with her prescriptions and she began taking her situation more seriously. She and her husband continued to have concerns about the side effects of the new tincture medication, but decided to research and consult heavily with the providers at Utah Therapeutic Health Center.  Eventually, they decided that trying to remove one medication at a time was going to be the best approach. “It was time to move on with my life,” explained Stellar, “and start a new chapter to be more active with my kids.”

The next 6 months were very rewarding. Stellar was able to start by eliminating her anxiety medication and then her sleeping pills. By using different ratios of her new medication, she was able to keep herself from distracting side-effects. She kept a journal of how she felt in order to learn her reaction to different types of delivery methods. Mostly she was able to use a liquid form and take small amounts, but at times she had to used an inhaled medicine for quick relief. “It really wasn’t a bad transition,” she says. “It was relieving to learn that my friends and family were supportive of my decision and did not judge me.” Amy was eventually able to stop taking all of her prescriptions!

man and woman overlooking mountains on mountain bikes after battling pain

Amy Stellar now enjoys her new life without the use of prescription medications.

Life after pain pills

Following this transition, Stellar drastically changed her lifestyle. She also changed her outlook on alternative medicine. While initially skeptical, she now recommends alternative medical treatment wholeheartedly as long as patients can find the right physician. Plant based medicine is a commitment to changing lifelong stereotypes and beliefs. But, for Stellar and many people like her, it is also a way to change your life for the better.

To meet the physicians and medical providers, like Tim Pickett, and the friendly staff of the Utah Therapeutic Health Center, including members of our patient experience team like Katie, simply use the button below to get started.

Amy took her life back with natural medicine, and so can you.