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Clay Davis, left, and Dr. Jen Heller sit in her office in Brunswick. Through treatment, including stem cell injections, has offered Davis a new lease on life.

Clay Davis has led an active life. The Brunswick resident has always challenged himself, whether it’s competing in athletics in college or participating in triathlons or 5K’s as an adult. That extends to his professional life as well — he works as a builder, climbing up and down ladders all day long.

But, over time, his body started to show signs of wear, especially his lower back.

“About five years ago ... I have two daughters and they were 4 and 6 at the time. I couldn’t pick them up,” he said, shaking his head. “And every morning when I would wake up, I would put my feet on the floor and my feet would hurt. It was a painful experience just walking to the bathroom every morning.”

Davis, who’s a pretty tough cookie, resigned himself to the fact that this was his new normal, chalking it up to aging.

“I was just a regular guy. I was healthy. I ate a healthy diet. I just figured ‘well I’m 40 now.’ But then I started worrying what it would be like when I was 60,’” he said.

His wife saw how much he struggled daily and encouraged him to seek help. She was being treated by Dr. Jennifer Heller, at Heller Healthcare in Brunswick. Begrudgingly, he decided to give it a try.

“I wasn’t a good patient,” he said. “I would come in and she would treat me. Then I’d feel better and not come back for a while until I couldn’t stand it anymore.”

But Heller doesn’t offer patchwork solutions. Heller Healthcare offers a holistic approach to care, which encompasses all areas — from chiropractic, to hormone optimization, anti-arthritis program, degenerative joint care, holistic pain management options, as well as regenerative and functional medicine. Dropping in for a “quick fix” is not how they operate.

“She actually asked me if I wanted her to refer me to someone else. I said, ‘why?’ She said, ‘because you’re wasting your money and my reputation by not doing this right,” he recalled with a laugh.

After that frank discussion, he decided to try Dr. Jen’s way. In addition to the chiropractic care, they explored his diet.

“I thought my diet was great — I ate almonds, yogurt, bananas. I thought I was super healthy,” he said with a chuckle. “Well, we did the food allergy testing and it turns out I had an allergy for all of that and green beans. I had no idea.”

Once he started eliminating the food culprits, the inflammation in his body began to calm down quickly, but there was still room for improvement. He was dealing with disc degeneration and spinal stenosis. That’s when Davis and Heller started to discuss stem cell therapy.

“Clay is really a ‘go-big-or-go-home’ kind of guy. We were able to get his inflammation under control but we felt like we could do more. He’s young and has another five to six decades to go and doesn’t want surgery in the future. Although we were getting somewhere with his arthritis, it was too slow for him. It was time to protect what he has left of those discs and joints,” Heller said.

Davis learned about Heller’s approach to treating chronic pain, disc and joint degeneration and more using stem cell therapy. Once reserved for top athletes, but has become more mainstreamed and offered at Heller Healthcare.

Stem cells are the body’s main cells for repairing damaged tissue and reducing inflammation. They can replenish cells damaged by disease, injury or normal wear.

At Heller Healthcare, Umbilical Cord Tissue (HUCT) stem cells are used, which are derived from the consented, donated umbilical cords from healthy mothers who birthed healthy babies. HUCT stem cells are a million times greater in quantity and are 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 one’s own stem cells are not harvested.

Davis decided it was the path for him and had his mid and low back treated a year ago. Today, he’s a walking example of their power and effectiveness.

“He’s really doing well. He maintains his joints with activity, exercise, and maintenance. He limits his inflammation by avoiding foods he’s sensitive to. And when life does hit him, it’s easy to clear-up his low back. What would take me 2 months to help, now takes two chiro treatments. He is taking great care of his stem cells and himself finally!” said Heller.

“Over the course of this time, I am now doing everything that I was doing 10 years ago. I’m now back running and lifting. My daughters are 5 years older than they were, but now we’re at the pool playing ... I can be physically active and doing the things that I just had given up on doing again,” he said. “To me, that’s PRICELESS. You can’t put a price on what that’s added back to my life.”

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