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Race Against Pain Coming to California

Inspirational Pain Survivor Turned Race Car Driver Promotes Educational

Initiative Devoted to People in Chronic Pain

LAGUNA SECA, Calif., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Race Against Pain is coming to the Monterey/Salinas area this weekend when Mike Roman competes in a Sports Car Club of America racing event at Laguna Seca Speedway. Roman, whose right leg was amputated 12 years ago, will race Saturday, September 29th @11:00 a.m. and Sunday, September 30th @1:35 p.m. This will be his final racing event of the 2007 season. Thus far, in 11 races around the country, Roman has won twice and finished in the top three five times.

What makes Roman different? His story is much more than a sports event. It's a testament to the human spirit, and the ability of a man, like thousands of other people, to win the race against chronic, debilitating pain.

Thirteen years ago, Roman was an energetic orthopedic surgical assistant. In 1994, he injured his knee playing basketball. He underwent a 'routine' surgery and afterward, an infection set in that physicians couldn't bring under control. A subsequent series of surgeries -- a staggering 33 in all -- could not save the leg, which was amputated in late in 1995.

"I fought very hard to save my leg. When I realized that I was going to have an amputation, I thought at least my life could get back to some semblance of order," Roman recalls. "I was wrong. My life became worse after the amputation."

After his leg was removed, Roman suffered from phantom limb pain, which is very common to amputees -- especially the new wave of Iraq War veterans. Three "revisions" (a surgical shortening of the stump) were also performed. The pain only worsened. Like many people with chronic pain, he took powerful prescription drugs to treat the pain and eventually became addicted to morphine and other pain medications.

After a decade of debilitating pain that rendered him unable to work and led to drug addiction, Roman met a St. Louis pain specialist who implanted a revolutionary spinal cord stimulator device in him. Now he is finally free of pain and pursuing his lifelong dream of becoming a winning race car driver as a way of highlighting the hope of a normal life for thousands of people in chronic pain for a variety of reasons, not just amputation.

"Now that I have my life back, I am using my new profile as a race car driver to talk with doctors and patients about the alternatives to living with chronic pain in every city where I race," Roman says enthusiastically.

Roman is encouraging people living with chronic pain, and their families, to visit an educational website that is fittingly called On the website, chronic pain sufferers and their families can locate a pain specialist near where they live and can share their experiences with other victims of chronic pain.

Pain Is a Major Healthcare Concern

An estimated 3 million people suffer from chronic pain so severe that they can't work. It is further estimated that over 50 million patients suffer from chronic pain due to back, leg and hip problems, chemotherapy, amputation, diabetes, facial nerve problems, HIV infections, multiple sclerosis, shingles and spine surgery.

Iraqi War Veterans

Many veterans returning from the Iraq War are suffering from chronic pain from various causes. These brave soldiers will often require caring pain specialists." said Kevin Coleman, M.D. who is the St. Louis pain specialist who treated Mike Roman with a spinal cord stimulator.

"There are a number of ways to treat neuropathic pain that occurs when nerves are injured, cut or damaged. Modalities used can range from oral medications to more aggressive techniques such as spinal cord stimulation. Every patient is different and requires an individual pain treatment plan," added Dr. Coleman.

The Race Against Pain website provides a number of services for pain sufferers and their families, including opportunities to interactively share their stories and information with fellow pain patients, and finding a pain specialist near where they live.

SOURCE The Race Against Pain
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