031720_Heller copy

Linda Williams, left, and Dr. Jen Heller sit in the living room space of Heller Healthcare in Brunswick. Williams has seen remarkable results after receiving stem cell treatment.

Linda Williams is full of life. And the bubbly St. Simons Island resident has always put that energy toward positive things — building a career in real estate and taking care of her body through exercise.

“I was very active. I worked out regularly since the 80s. In 2006, I got to where I couldn’t do my workout,” Williams said.

Not one to be deterred, she decided that she would simply switch up her routine.

“I floundered for about a year, then found a more upbeat style of yoga so I started doing that,” she recalled.

Over time, a thief called pain began to creep in. Williams says that pain in her hips began making her workout program unbearable. But, true to form, she continued to try to overcome her obstacles.

“At times it would just really be bad, so I started on anti-inflammatories. I lived off them and they worked ... for a while,” she said.

But within the last year, the active 67-year-old was facing that thief called pain yet once again. She actually was dealing with osteoarthritis and spinal stenosis in her low back and arthritis in her knees. She could no longer do those things that she loved, and other problems started to arise. The pain in her knees was so bad she found bending and stooping impossible.

“I was actually decorating the Christmas tree and got stuck behind it. I had to have my husband come and help me,” she said. “He had to move the tree so that I could turn around on all fours and get up.”

That’s when Williams knew she had to take action. She started speaking to friends who faced similar situations. Some of them shared their stories of surgeries, like hip and knee replacements, many of which were unsuccessful.

But Williams had also noticed a story in the News about Dr. Jennifer Heller’s practice — Heller Healthcare, which offers a regenerative medicine program, namely stem cells.

“I actually saw the article in the paper about Tommy (Ponsell). I called his wife because I knew her and asked her about the results. She said it was just miraculous,” Williams recalled.

That’s when she decided this was worth looking into.

She attended one of the Heller Healthcare’s Lunch & Learns, held at the Brunswick Country Club.

During the Lunch & Learn Seminar, Williams learned about the integrative medicine side of Heller’s practices, and how she has teamed up with Brunswick Urgent Care and Golden Isles Functional Medicine to offer a diverse range of treatment options, spanning from traditional medicine and chiropractic care to innovative regenerative medicine for her patients.

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.

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.

In Heller’s practices, 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 than 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’s regenerative medicine clinic 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 heal and regenerate lung tissue and improve their quality of life.

Williams decided to do some due diligence and take time to do more research and think it over.

“I just hate surgery, so I didn’t want to do that. I did research on stem cells and hospitals who have done the studies,” she said.

Williams decided to take the next step and schedule her complementary consultation with Heller Healthcare. During her initial consultation, it was determined that conservative care was not the best fit for her condition, and stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, would be the best approach.

“It just made all kinds of sense to me, so I decided to do it. I actually went off the anti-inflammatories two weeks before I had the (stem cell) injections.” Williams said.

On the day of her (stem cell) treatment, “I was hobbling through the door (of Heller Healthcare),” Williams recalled.

Heller’s staff injected eight points on Williams’ body, which included her mid back, low back and knees. A scenario which, at first, made her nervous to think about turned out to be a complete non-issue.

“I was a little wary about it ... needles and all. But it was really a non-event. It was just like getting any other shot. There was no burning or anything like that so that was the least of it,” she stated.

But right from the beginning, Williams knew she’d made the right decision. She was hopeful and optimistic as she left the office. Turns out, she had every right to be.

“I couldn’t believe it. Within a few weeks, I was basically pain-free. When I came to my first check up after ... I got teary-eyed,” she said with a smile.

Now, three months later, she’s back to her three day a week workout routine, as well as showcasing properties at Coastal Georgia Real Estate.

For Heller, it’s these stories that give purpose and motivate her to continue sharing these life-alternating treatments. In a world full of negative news, it’s refreshing to share an uplifting and positive story.

“I was really happy with her results. She underwent such a dramatic change from not being able to do a lot of things to getting back to her active life,” Heller said. “It was just amazing to see that light come back on.”

Williams can’t say enough about her experience at Heller’s practices, and especially about her personal results and regaining her ability to do the things she loves. It has truly been a life changing experience for her. She encourages anyone interested in learning more about the programs available at Heller’s practices to reach out to the practice and learn more, attend one of their Lunch & Learn seminars, or even contact herself or another Heller client first hand, as they are always happy to share their success story with you.

More from this section

To raise awareness for Occupational Therapy Month, in April, two Southeast Georgia Health System therapists discuss how their specialty differs from and complements physical therapy (PT) and how it improves life after an injury, illness or hospitalization.

With the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the globe, most people are understandably on edge. In the Golden Isles, the known number of cases hit double-digits Monday.

Like many, Rabbi Rachael Bregmen has had to make tough choices lately. The leader of Temple Beth Tefilloh has shelved a number of activities that were planned to take place in the coming weeks as the spread of the coronavirus is expected to grow.

The music scene in the Golden Isles is much more than a collection of individual artists trying to carve out a living. It’s a close-knit group of brothers and sisters who sincerely support one another — and the craft they all love.