Hearing and sharing our members’ health care stories is a distinct honor. Their personal experiences perfectly illustrate the complexities of navigating the system and the many variables that impact outcomes—whether it’s geographic location or the specific medical condition they face. And while the journey is different for everyone, there’s one thread that remains consistent: expert medical guidance makes all the difference, and at the end of the day, we all just want to feel better and live our best lives.

About eight years ago, Buddy was in a motorcycle accident that left him with a broken collarbone and terrible lower back pain that radiated down both of his legs.

“When the pain started up, I experienced this numbing and tingling/burning sensation. But, the pain didn’t only affect my body, it also affected my daily life and my home life. The pain started making me feel angry all the time to the point where our dog didn’t even like me anymore,” said Buddy.

After years of dealing with chronic pain, countless lumbar epidural injections, and numerous doctors, Buddy discovered Included Health, formerly known as Grand Rounds, a free benefit offered through his work at Comcast NBCUniversal.

Buddy reached out to Included Health, and in a matter of days, his care team sent his records over to Dr. Gregory Gebauer, an expert in orthopedics from Advanced Orthopedic Center. Dr. Gebauer reviewed Buddy’s paperwork and X-rays, and provided a diagnosis, which was different from what Buddy had been getting treated for over the past few years.

“I believed that Buddy’s pain was coming from somewhere else, specifically, the sacroiliac (SI) joints,” said Dr. Gebauer.

After the expert opinion, Buddy’s Included Health care team set up an appointment for him to see a local pain management specialist as Dr. Gebauer recommended. The specialist confirmed that the pain was stemming from his SI joints and explained that Buddy needed to get cortisone and steroid shots in his hip.

“For years, multiple doctors said the pain was in my lower back, and I was getting unnecessary shots in my lower back for God knows how long. About four days after I got my first set of shots, I started noticing some pressure relief on my right hip, and after about a week, I felt no pain at all. More than that, my demeanor changed 100%. My wife told me I was a different person. I wasn’t angry anymore, and that’s because I wasn’t in any pain,” said Buddy.

For over a year now, Buddy has been pain-free and is back to his regular exercise schedule, like he never missed a beat.

Meet Buddy and learn more about his story in the video below. Visit Included Health to learn more about Expert Medical Opinions and other solutions for your employees.