Ernie Meritt

Chronic Low Back Pain

Ernie is a 51-year-old woodworker hobbyist with chronic lower back pain due to multiple herniated discs in result of a work injury. Ernie has undergone two separate vertebral fusion surgeries and two double laminectomies and currently experiences “failed back syndrome,” lumbar instability and lumbar radiculopathy — or nerve pain radiating from the spine. Further complicating his treatment, Ernie was diagnosed with narcolepsy in 2003. Despite his chronic pain, Ernie remains active through managing the Southern Maine Chronic Pain Support Group, woodworking and visiting with his two grandchildren.

Portraits of Pain: Ernie Merritt