Dr. Jen Heller, left, sits next to patient William Collins and his wife, Nancy, at Heller Healthcare in Brunswick.

William Collins is a tough fella. The Hickory Bluff resident spent years doing some pretty tough tasks from working in a steel mill to various jobs at the port.

“He also played basketball when he was younger,” his wife, Nancy, adds with a grin.

But over the years, the punishment on his body began to take a toll.

“I also had a couple of bad falls too,” William said.

Not one to wallow in self-pity, he kept on keeping on. Eventually, he retired but those days weren’t filled with the ease and relaxation the couple had hoped for. Instead they were plagued by pain.

“My low back and my neck. I’ve had a bad back for quite a few years. I’ve also had neuropathy in my legs. I also had balance problems,” he said, gesturing to the areas. “I had a hard time sleeping because my neck hurt so much.”

It also impacted his driving, Nancy said.

“He couldn’t turn his neck to the left to see if another car was coming,” she said.

But, one of the biggest concerns was William’s balance. He was no longer steady on his feet, and being a fall risk was a great concern.

They searched for answers, visiting various chiropractors, physical therapists, spine centers, pain management, orthopedist and neurologists. Nothing was proving effective in easing the agony.

“I had physical therapy and several adjustments, even had steroids and an epidural spine shot but that didn’t work either,” he said.

The couple even tried water aerobics to see if the pool would offer some relief. Unfortunately, it did not. But William remembered reading articles about a Brunswick based clinic that offered an innovative approach to treating patients. It was none other Heller Healthcare.

Dr. Jen Heller, who operates Heller Healthcare and Golden Isles Functional Medicine, a chiropractor, has built a holistic practice and team that specialize in holistic treatments that Heller herself would want to treat her own family with. The Heller Healthcare side offers chiropractic care and medical massage. While the functional medicine piece offers an anti-arthritis program, degenerative joint care treatments, holistic pain management options, hormone optimization, nutritional planning and specialized in regenerative medicine.

It was the latter that intrigued William.

“I had never heard of stem cells before Dr. Jen,” he said. “I’d read about it, but I didn’t really know much about it.”

So, one day after a water aerobics session, William told his wife that he wanted to stop in to Heller Healthcare, since it was just down the street, and see if he could get an appointment.

When he first came to the practice, the staff offered a complementary consultation, to better determine if he was a good candidate for one or more of their programs that would be a beneficial fit for him, and to his delight he was, and there was a new sense of hope.

Dr. Heller and her medical team were extremely through, from x-rays to a physical examination, she covered all bases. Heller also spent ample time with William, sharing her findings and explaining the best approach to his care.

“She took a picture of me and showed me how my shoulders were off or how I was hunched. She also showed me the x-rays. I hadn’t had doctors do that before,” he said. “It helped that I could see what was going on.”

The two settled on a care plan which features both adjustments and regenerative medicine to help rebuild the tissue damaged throughout the years. He had injections in his neck, low back and knees. And true to form, he was one tough cookie.

“He didn’t even need the numbing spray,” Nancy said with a laugh.

And the procedure started to pay big dividends right away. It’s only been a couple of weeks since William was treated but he’s already standing taller and walking easier.

“It could tell a difference almost right away,” he said. “My neck is a lot better. My low back is better. I think my balance is even better.”

Nancy agrees.

“Oh he was a lot better almost right away. He’s a lot happier, and he smiles more,” she said.

“He was very grumpy the first time we met,” Heller laughed. “He had tried so many different plans that every doctor said would help, so I completely understand. Most people in pain are grumpy, that’s why when Nancy and William came in smiling after day 4 post injections, and said how ‘smiley’ he is at home now, I about cried. We had already won! Our job here is to inspire people to change their story so they can change their life. I feel we have done that, so now he just has to put in the work. I tell any doubting patient to give me three weeks to make a difference. Our program consists of four months of rehab post injection, but give me three weeks and we will know how far we can get.”

While William will continue his treatment plan, he will likely continue to see positive change as the cells grow and multiply, producing new tissue and reinvigorating his body.

“She says that I have to keep it up for four months and maybe she’ll have me straightened out by then,” Williams said with a smile.

But the couple has no doubt that their search for answers brought the best possible results. And they recommend anyone facing a similar issue follow their lead.

“Get in here, quick,” William urged.

“We just cannot say enough good things about Dr. Jen and her team. We searched everywhere for answers and we hit the jackpot,” Nancy said with a smile.

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