Sunshine danced through the trees as butterflies flew around the garden. Nearby, Judith Markeli crouched by a stack of brick blocks she was meticulously painting bright blue.

Markeli, the manager of the Yellow Deli in downtown Brunswick, can often be found taking care of many projects around the restaurant’s charming outdoor space. But it wasn’t too long ago that she was brought to a screeching halt.

“I had been really busy around here lately. I did all the landscaping, re-doing the flower beds. I woke up one day and I was really stiff. I just thought that I’d just take it easy and it would go away,” she said.

But it did not. In fact, it got much worse.

“The next day, I woke up and I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get myself dressed. I was very desperate,” she recalled. “I was in tears.”

That’s when Markeli reached for the card of massage therapist, Susanna Hughes, who works with Dr. Jen Heller, at Heller Healthcare in Brunswick.

The receptionist sensed the urgency of the situation and got Markeli in right away. And when she arrived, the staff realized that it was indeed dire.

“She was shaking in pain. It was a 10/10 everything for her,” Dr. Jen Heller recalled. “She was cold and pale. She was sweating.”

Markeli had x-rays taken and what they revealed was shocking, even for a highly experienced chiropractor like Heller.

“I thought holy cow. When people wake up with a ‘stiff neck’ they might have a 5 degree tilt… Judith’s was 40 degrees. It’s a big deal to have this without a trauma. This was clearly effecting her nervous system. It was hard to even get the x-ray,” Heller said. “Her cervical vertebrae were so out of alignment. In the neck, this is a really significant shift. Her discs were bulging. There was no motion. She was just locked down.”

Heller quickly formulated a plan that would utilize gentle adjustments to ease Markeli’s spine back into its proper place.

“Dr. Jen was really gentle. She would do an adjustment and then she’d wait,” Markeli said. “I really love how she would hold my head after the adjustment. It was really supportive and I appreciate her being really cautious.”

“I had to give her body time to adjust. I would wait five minutes in between adjustments. It took a long time but that’s what we had to do,” Heller said.

Slowly, Markeli started to find relief and movement. She was able to turn her head and over the course of several weeks, she started to become her active self again.

“After two weeks, I could function again,” Markeli recalled.

The experience left Markeli incredibly grateful for the art of chiropractic care, and especially Heller’s particular approach.

“I was so thankful. She really listened to me. I’ve been to many chiropractors over the years. There are a lot of people who will just crack your back and hope for the best. But Dr. Jen really was cautious, which I appreciated,” she said.

Heller is well known locally for her skills and offering this kind of personalized care. In addition to her chiropractic expertise, her office offers massage therapy as well as holistic approaches to healing. They have integrated their practice with Golden Isles Functional Medicine, who offer both functional and regenerative medicine, hormone replacement therapy, nutrition guidance and more. Together they have helped countless patients find a life free from pain.

And, regardless of the method, Markeli feels that Heller’s compassionate demeanor and sincere desire to help set the tone for healing.

“Her ability to listen and to know how to approach what is happening with each patient is really a great gift,” Markeli said with a smile.

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