Meet Julie Heher, wife and mom to two beautiful girls (age 3 and 5 (and dog mom to two cockapoos!)) and founder of Alternative Pain and Wellness Solutions,LLC (APAWS). APAWS was founded after Julie, who is a Nurse Practitioner, worked in pain management for many years and was tired with the typical pain protocols where patients often had to rely on daily medication to control their pain.
She herself also dealt with chronic pain for many years until being treated by the RST neoGEN system. This machine is a State-of-the-art technology that uses electric stimulation to help repair the root cause of pain rather than act as a “band -aid”. This technology has shown tremendous results for reducing and eliminating pain, all without the need for pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures. At APAWS, she is so happy to be able to offer this service to her patients to help them live happier, healthier lives! She is now able to run around with her girls again, and can help you too! She is currently accepting new patients and offering free consultations. If you or someone you know is struggling with pain of any kind, give her a call today!
Tell us about your Family!
We are currently a family of 4 consisting of myself, my husband Will, my daughter McKenna (5yo) and my younger daughter Bailey (3yo). We also have 3 fur babies- 2 dogs (Riley and Finn) and we were recently talked into getting a cat by our daughters so Gus the cat is the newest member of the family.
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
It’s okay to need and ask for help! I think too often women are led to believe that they have to do it all and be a superwoman. Trying to do it all by yourself is not good for you or your family. Asking for support from your friends or family should be looked at as a strength not a weakness.
Tell us about your business, and when & why you decided to create this business!
Alternative Pain and Wellness Solutions is an alternative pain management practice that treats all different types of acute and chronic pain. I started this business in 2020 for two main reasons. Firstly, I have dealt with chronic back pain since I was in high school and truly understand and sympathize with the chronic pain population. I understand both the physical and emotional toll it can take on a person and wanted to create a place where patients could not only get treatment to improve their pain conditions but also feel welcomed, heard, and understood. The second reason I created my business is that I have spent the majority of my career as an APRN working in a traditional pain management setting. I truly believe that funneling people to this setting is a disservice to people suffering from chronic pain. Pain medications and invasive procedures can have harmful side effects and should not be the only form of treatment for this population. I wanted to offer people another way to treat pain without the use of harmful medications and invasive procedures. Once I found the RST Sanexas neoGEN system I became a patient myself and it truly changed my life. I have had back surgery, medications, and spinal injections that all left me with limited functioning and continued pain. This is the only intervention that I have found in my almost 20 year journey with chronic pain that has led to a life without day to day pain and the ability to enjoy my activities again. After I learned of all the potential it had to treat so many different disorders successfully I knew this was how I was going to change the game in pain management.
Tell us more about Alternate Pain & Wellness Solutions
At Alternative Pain and Wellness Solutions I work with all different types of chronic and acute pain conditions to heal the body and reduce pain without the use of harmful medications or invasive procedures. I use state of the art technology called the RST Sanexas neoGEN system which is an electric cell signaling device. This device provides comfortable energy waves to the targeted area of treatment in order to reduce inflammation, increase circulation as well as heal and potentially sprout new nerve axons. This device can treat joint pain including arthritis, back, and neck pain. It can treat carpal tunnel, post herpetic neuralgia, and many other neuropathies including diabetic or idiopathic neuropathy. The list goes on and on so make sure you call to see if you suffer from something we can help with!
Tell us about your background:
I have been a Nurse Practitioner for 9 years and a Registered Nurse for 13 years. I graduated with my psychology degree from Arizona State and my nursing degree and my MSN from Uconn. As a nurse I worked in Greenwich Hospital and as an APRN I worked in an outpatient pain management office located in Griffin Hospital. While my main passion in medicine is pain management I also enjoy psychology so I spent a couple years working in psychiatry for nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Fairfield County.
What is your most memorable moment in this industry?
My most memorable moment in this industry was not a happy moment but a moment that put me on the path to where I am today. When I worked in traditional pain management I mostly had medications in my “treatment tool box” which often were not effective for my patients and came along with many side effects. I had one patient that I still think about often. He was a 90 year old WW2 veteran who suffered greatly from pain following a shingles infection (postherpetic neuralgia). Most people don’t understand how debilitating this type of nerve pain can be. I saw him every month for almost 2 years. Every visit he would enter the room in his wheelchair and even though I could see in his eyes how greatly he suffered from pain he was the most polite, pleasant, joyful person I may have ever met. He spoke of his family with such pride (especially his granddaughter who he helped raise). He talked of serving his country and adventures he took throughout his life. You could just tell this man was someone that changed the lives he encountered for the better. For two years my heart broke every time he left my office because we had tried so many different medications and the one that we settled on as being the best was still just not cutting it. I always wished I could do more for him. The most memorable moment in this industry for me was the day he was late to his office visit and instead of wheeling himself into the room like he always did I received a call from his granddaughter. She called to tell me he had passed away the week before and she wanted me to know how much of an impact I had on her grandfather. After hanging up the phone I cried in my office because I still felt I should have been able to do more for him. That phone call began my search through the medical device world to find a better way. I knew I had to do better for my patients, that they deserved better. I spent several years researching different pain management medical devices until finally finding the RST neoGEN system.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and raising a family?
Mom guilt is no joke! While I struggle with this daily I try to remind myself that one day my girls will understand. One day they will look at me and be proud of what I have created, what I have accomplished and the example that I have set for them. As a mom of two young girls I want them to know they can do anything they set their minds to, that hard work pays off, and that girls are a very powerful thing in this world!
Who has most influenced you to be the mom and woman that you are today?
I would have to say there are three women who have inspired the mom and woman I am today. My mom taught me to stand up for myself and also stand up for what is right. These are things I try to instill in my girls every day as well as have served me very well taking on a career in the very male dominated field of medicine. My sister taught me to be proud of the person I am and don’t let anyone make you feel otherwise. She is a true example of a strong woman who lives her life exactly how she wants, continues to grow daily, and is never afraid to take on new challenges. The third person is my grandmother. This woman was truly ahead of her time. She had two sons in the 1950s but felt it was important to not only be a mother but also have a career (even when this was not looked at so highly). She raised her two sons (one being my dad) and also worked as a librarian. She always told me you don’t have to give up anything, it’s okay to want and to have both a career as well as be a good mother.
What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?
Something I try to remind myself when I feel overwhelmed with being a mom is that I am doing the best I can in the moment. I made the best decision for my child that I could have in that moment, I gave my child the most I had in that moment. No one is perfect and no one should try to be. We are all just doing the best we can in the moment.
We love supporting local businesses – favorite places in Fairfield to…
Have Dinner with Family: We love Centro! Delicious Italian food with great service and a very family friendly atmosphere. We also love Little Pub on Black Rock Turnpike if we’re in the mood for burgers and fries!
Grab a Drink with Friends: Molto for sangria and pizza or Geronimos for their margs and guac!
Have a Date Night: Artisan in Southport. It is just a special place with a relaxed ambiance. The food is delicious and service has always been great. With two young girls, we don’t get many date nights but this place tops our list!
Spend time together as a Family: We really enjoy family hikes at the various trails in town but we also love to visit the Fairfield University Book Store. We love to read and it has a really cool atmosphere and easy to navigate! The girls love finding new books to bring home!
Outside Activities: We love spending time at Jennings beach. It’s a really great beach to walk and explore with the kids. We also love to hike! Brett Woods is easy to navigate with the kids and our dogs.
Grab coffee: Shearwater Coffee Bar in the Brick Walk. Delicious coffee, friendly and quick service and love that there is indoor and outdoor seating, great patio for warmer weather. Really cool vibe!