Former NFLer Talks About Pain

Former NFLer Talks About Pain

By Ed Coghlan

Joe Pisarcik last played in an NFL game in 1985. He has A reminder of the wear and tear of playing football for nearly  twenty years is the pain he is in every day.

“There are guys in much worse shape that I am,” he said. “But the pain is constant.”

Two knee surgeries, three epidural steroid injections in his lower back and taking up to 1200 mg of Advil every day all used to address the pain.

“The average professional football player is worn down,” he said. “Pain, for many of us is a constant. Hands, fingers, chronically sore backs and bad knees are a part of the deal.”

Pisarcik is now president of  NFL Alumni, which advocates for players once their careers are over.

“We have a focus on wellness, encouraging our guys to keep in shape, eat right, take vitamins and practice preventive medicine,” he said.

He was interviewed by the National Pain Report recently along with Dr. Brian Pryor, who is CEO of LiteCure which makes the LightForce Laser, which the NFL Alumni Association has endorsed as a partner.

Simply put, the laser shines light deep into the tissue to inspire mitochondria in the body to produce more ATP, which promotes healing of impaired cells after an injury.

The technology has been FDA approved since 2007 and is used by physical therapists and chiropractors.

“Pain Medicine doctors aren’t using it as much,” Dr. Pryor said. “They are heavy into pharmacologic and injections for treating their patients.”

The technology is being on U.S. military bases, but not “much yet” in the VA.

Insurance doesn’t cover the treatment, which cost around $50 each time.

Pisarcik’s area of focus is chronic lower back pain. He experienced significant result for his chronic back pain in about 3 treatments, and estimates he has had 30-to-40 treatments with the laser which increases circulation and reduces swelling.

“I’d rather not have the surgeries so I use this to keep me up and running doing things I like to do,” he said.

Pisarcik played professional football in Canada and then in the NFL for the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles.

While many chronic pain patients might tell you they would live their life differently if it meant avoiding years of pain, the 63-year-old Pisarcik isn’t one of them.

“We knew what we were getting into,” he said. “If I had it to do over again, where do I sign?”

Follow on Twitter:

@natpainreport

@edcoghlan

@NFLAlumni

Subscribe to our blog via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Authored by: Ed Coghlan

There are 5 comments for this article
  1. john Meyler at 4:30 pm

    Have you looked in the fact that Fibromyalsia sounds very much like the negative affects of we suffer both pain and mental pains.
    Everyone is different but symptoms are familiar. for me….
    — level 10 pain is barb wire wrapped around whole nervous system…never lower than a 2…always feel some dulled pain in body and dulled mind
    — have diven to work and having no clue how l did it–drive over the George Washington Bridge from Jersey to NYC
    can fall asleep against a black board 2x in an hour space..my students knew l was sick called my name to wake me up
    — sleep apnea
    — have my wives hot flashes..even after a shower l still am sweating
    — extreme fatigue
    –headaches
    — needing nerve blocks in joints
    — amount of meds is overwhelming. Opiates for pain…panic attack meds…depression bc of the pains…Vicodin for break thru pain from nerves.
    — cant leave floor when there isnt anyone in house–have fallen and needed surgery to repair ripped rotator cup and detached bicept
    — and l dont know what else others are going thru but this is me for ne
    — forgetting subjects in mid sentence
    — not being the husband or father my family signed up for….a very large % of relationships break because of the added extra responsibility with no cure and no rainbow at end of it all….l know not the same as the NFL/concussions but things sound too familiar to not be looked into

  2. Kelly Peters at 12:45 pm

    Everybody pain is different and comes from different angles I have CRPS and nothing much is being done for us. More Americans have this disease than anyone else the pain is the highest on the McGill’s pain scale. Charles Mattock Bob Marley nephew just completed a film Trial by Fire for his mother who this terrible disease and for the rest of us to help us fine a cure and other treatments. Some treatments help for other but not all like myself. If it wasn’t for my pain medication l don’t know if I could survive. Other issue is to have Medicare and insurances pay for these treatments. I have to depend on others to help because I am mostly bedridden. Truth of the matter is the FDA and CDC needs to look into this further. Please help all of us with pain so we can function like human beings.

  3. Kristine (Krissy) at 12:24 pm

    Another example of a treatment I would love to try, but disability benefits barely allow me to live in four walls.

  4. Mike K at 11:14 am

    Have you ever considered a Spinal Cord Stimulator.

  5. Candice H at 8:14 am

    Cold laser has not been proven to work but if you have the money I’m sure you can try anything. My son’s doctor is an ex football player who blew out his knee. He is very tight with prescribing opioids. This ex0layer stating taking that high of mg of ibuprofen is either going to cause GI bleeds or kill his kidneys. My take on this whole deal is if diabetics can get insulin to live, if cardiac patients can get pacemakers and cardiac drugs to live, if atrial fib patients can get Coumadin to live why do pain patients with viable diagnoses have the govt step in and regulate MDS and pharmacists to control whether we pain patients love a quality of life that stinks or is good?
    As long as addicts who take drugs for mental anquish, partying, and euphoric sexual interludes then pain patients will be tortured. It’s close to denying our civil rights and discriminating against us. I’m disabled and a group in 5he govt is denying me my right to life and happiness. What is your take on this Coghlan?