Putting Pain in the Past


When Jaden Turner isn’t absorbed in his schoolwork for the eighth grade, he enjoys playing basketball with his buddies, listening to music and—like most teenagers— playing video games.

Such normal activities were anything but normal for the 13-year-old San Franciscan earlier this year when, for four months, he suffered migraine headaches so severe that being exposed to anything more than dim light or a soft voice was agonizingly painful. His head was so hypersensitive to touch that a haircut was intolerable.

But thanks to an ongoing collaboration between California Pacific Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, Jaden’s migraines are gone.

It started in January when Jaden developed what seemed to be an ordinary headache. It passed, but the headaches kept recurring and at times he would vomit when he was stricken.

Stacey Williams, Jaden’s mom, took him to CPMC. The diagnosis was migraines, but rest and ibuprofen didn’t help. So Jaden was referred to Packard Children’s neurologists at CPMC. Since early 2012, physicians from both organizations have been working together to enhance access to the highly specialized medical needs of San Francisco and North Bay children.

Jaden saw Packard Children’s pediatric neurologist Susy Jeng, MD, clinical assistant professor of neurology at the Stanford School of Medicine. Suspecting his pain was from irritated nerves and that he might benefit from receiving a nerve block, she referred Jaden to Packard Children’s Pain Management Service, where anesthesiologist Meredith Brooks, MD, evaluated him.

Brooks, a clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology at the School of Medicine, thought the occipital nerves, which rise out of the spinal column at the base of the neck and pass through the trapezius muscle onto the skull, might be getting squeezed by the trapezius muscle, causing the pain.

On May 17, Brooks gave Jaden four injections at the base of his skull and two in his forehead.

“He received the injections on a Thursday, went to school the next day and he’s been fine ever since,” said Stacey.

Reflecting on Jaden’s saga and quick turnaround, Jeng said, “It was like this kid was hit by a bus and now he’s back to normal.”

Now a month into the eighth grade, Jaden — who amazingly never dropped off the honor roll last year — is deeply thankful for the care and treatment he received.

“I understand that you need to not take life for granted,” said Jaden, who at times thought he’d never recover. “Do everything you can to be healthy and live long. Just live your life.”


One Response to “Putting Pain in the Past”

  1. Karen Green-Gray

    Dear Susy Jeng, MD
    My daughters headaches are gone much of the time after your got her started in a medical direction she felt comfortable with. I a very grateful for you assistant in getting to more good days than bad. She still struggles with CRPS every season but at least any headache she has is not taking over her life as it had been back in 2014-15. God Bless you and Brenda G too!


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