Managing Chronic Pain: Free Conference Comes to Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Justin Minyard is always in pain.

The reasons for that are ones we should all be thankful.

Minyard is a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also was a first responder at the Pentagon on 9-11.

That fateful day is the first time Minyard fractured his spine. He was trying to rescue a woman after the plane hit the building. The building collapsed on both of them.

After a surgery, he deployed to Afghanistan. While there, he fell what amounts to two stories out of a Chinook helicopter. His spine was fractured again.

Another surgery followed, and then another deployment -- this time to Iraq.

After a three-day-mission he hopped out of his Humvee. His legs gave out. He didn't think he would walk again.

After yet another surgery, he was back on his feet but not back in the game of life.

Minyard says he was was taking an equivalent of opiates needed for four terminally ill cancer patients.

Today he is using an electronic implanted device that sends messages to his brain to help him manage the pain. He says it has saved his life.

"It is a life-saving alternative," Minyard told "For me, it saved my life. I honestly should not be here right now. I am very fortunate. I should have overdosed multiple times; I was not really living."

Minyard has made it his mission to speak out about the dangers of opiates and this alternative pain-relieving method he is using.

He will be speaking Thursday night in Charleston at the Embassy Suites Hotel.

The event, which is free and open to the public, goes from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Even dinner will be provided.

To find out more about Justin Minyard and his mission, you can click on the link below.

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