Tommy Ponsell has worked hard all of his life. Born and raised in Brunswick, he grew up helping his father work. It required a lot of physical labor — bending and lifting materials for their HVAC business, Ponsell Heating and Air.
All of that hard work paid off. Tommy is now the owner of the business but he paid a high price for success, as the years took their toll on his body.
“I couldn’t move. I had some back issues through the years. I’ve been in a mechanical business for 38 years and I’m the second generation. So, I’ve been doing this since I was about 12 years old,” he recalled.
“So it came from all those years of lifting stuff. And one morning I woke up in excruciating pain. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t sit. I couldn’t lay in the bed. It was all painful.”
Ponsell tried to find a doctor who could see him immediately, but came up empty handed. That’s when he reached out to Dr. Jennifer Heller, of Heller Healthcare in Brunswick, and she made a point to get him in immediately.
“I should have come in a week earlier ... but she got me right in and we did X-rays, orthopedic, neurologic, and the posture tests. We talked for a little bit and she explained how bad my back was with a herniated disc” he said.
“I’ve got arthritic conditions but I’m also one of those people who is allergic to anything inflammatory. I can’t take Aspirin or Advil. I’ll end up in the emergency room. So, it’s hard to manage the pain for me.”
Turns out he was in the perfect place. Heller Healthcare, located at 208 Scranton Connector in Brunswick, specialized in regenerative and functional medicine, and offer a wide array of programs that take a natural approach to healing and repairing the body. Their programs include chiropractic care, rehab therapy, massage therapy, bioidentical hormone optimization, as well as cutting edge stem cell therapy.
The medical practitioners at Heller Healthcare reviewed Ponsell’s conditions with him, and together they mapped out a custom plan designed specifically designed for him and his health goals. Heller’s programs were precisely what Ponsell was looking for. Due to the severity of the degeneration in his back and joints, his drive to not stop working, and his uncontrolled pain, an aggressive plan of stem cell therapy, chiropractic and massage therapy, were the best path to take.
“The stem cells seemed like a logical choice for me and thought it was worth giving it a shot,” he said. “Tommy is like many of my other non-stop patients. He wasn’t willing to take time and rest, and he wanted immediate results, so an aggressive plan was the way to go,” Heller said.
Stem cells are the “body’s building blocks.” They are the basic foundation cells that grow all of the tissue and organs in the body. When injected into a damaged tissue, joint, or organ, they support the natural healing process by regenerating and making new tissue.
Stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, uses stem cells to stimulate the body’s natural repair mechanisms. Many in the medical community including those at the National Institutes of Health and the Institute of Medicine consider it the future of medicine.
At Heller Healthcare, the cells used are Human Umbilical Cord Tissue (HUCT) cells, which are derived from the consented, donated umbilical cords from healthy mothers who birthed healthy babies. The amount of stem cells from a newborn’s umbilical cord are a million times greater and the cells and thousands of times more potent than stem cells taken from an aged body. This also makes it a less-invasive treatment with fewer steps since your own stem cells are not harvested from one’s own body.
Stem cell therapy can be used anywhere in the body where there is arthritis, or a muscle or tendon tear. The medical providers at Heller Healthcare have performed the procedure on low back, neck, hips, ankles, wrists, hands, feet, and the shoulders. Even patients with COPD and other lung diseases are getting relief by taking breathing treatments with stem cells. These treatments can help patients breathe better and regenerate lung tissue to improve their quality of life.
Ponsell received stem cell therapy in his lower back and hips. Since having the procedure done Aug. 1, his pain level has dramatically decreased and mobility increased. And he was seeing results almost immediately.
“I kept a journal because Dr. Jen told me to ... so I have a note that says by 6 p.m. that (first) night it had started working because my wife said that my attitude was back,” Ponsell said with a chuckle.
“By the end of the first day though, I was feeling better. Day two was better, and on day three I was able to drive up to Athens to move my daughter into her sorority house.”
It’s just been a few weeks since this treatment and he is already back in the gym and enjoying the outdoors. As time passes, the stem cells will continue to replicate every 28 hours over a 3-to-4 month span, so there are still more improvements to come. For Ponsell, it truly has been a lifesaver.
“I’ve told everybody I can to get in here. People have been watching how my recovery has gone and are impressed. It’s been great, I’m going fishing tomorrow,” he said with a smile.