BISMARCK, N.D.- States across the country continue to fight against opioid abuse, the issue of how to manage pain has come to the front of the discussions.
For the last four months, Mike Fetzer has used the pool to get his life back.
"There for quite some time all I was doing was sleeping and going to the bathroom is what it seemed like. And now I'm out doing things,” said Fetzer.
Mike was hit by a semi in 2001, fracturing his back and pelvis in seven places. To help with pain, doctors prescribed him opiates. Lots of them.
"13 pills a day on an average day...and more for pain,” said Fetzer.
He was sleeping 20 hours a day and barely eating. He wanted to feel normal again, which meant he had to do treatment that was different than ones in the past. Jamie Crane, who worked with Mike, says a heated pool was best for his condition.
"He was benefiting from the warm pool, which increased his circulation, it increased his muscle relaxation, it decreased the compression on his joints which allowed him to move pain free,” said Sanford Physical Therapist Jamie Crane.
Three weeks after he started therapy, his pain started decreasing. After four months, he's doing things he hasn't been able to.
"Now I cook supper every night and I do laundry. I make the dogs go in and out, and go out and play with the dogs now,” said Fetzer.
He isn't at 100 percent, but Mike says he is well on his way. Mike says while his back is healing, he is dealing with arthritis in his hip that will need surgery. He is hopeful he can get that operation by the end of the year.