Londoners’ experiences of life-changing injuries


Age at interview: 61

Brief outline: Elcena hurt her back when she tried to lift a heavy beer barrel at work. She subsequently developed spinal arthritis.

Background: Elcena is single and has three children, aged 46, 45 and 42. She set up her foundation ' the Elcena Jeffers Foundation ' to try to make improvements for disabled people's lives. Ethnic background' Black/Caribbean.

Audio & video

Elcena injured her back at work lifting a beer barrel that was too heavy. She took a few days off to rest because of the pain for which her GP prescribed painkillers. She went back to work soon after, but then her legs began to get weak and she started to have falls when she was walking. Her doctor encouraged her to use sticks to support her and told her she might end up using a wheelchair if she did not. Later, Elcena was diagnosed with spinal arthritis and she thinks this is what was probably causing her falls. 
The pain medication she was on caused unpleasant side effects, including what she described as chest pain and heart burn. She decided to turn to alternative medicine, which helped change her attitude to managing her pain and her outlook on life. She also still takes painkillers when she needs them.  
Elcena receives Disability Living Allowance (DLA), but this is something she feels she has had to “fight for”. She has a car provided by Motability. The freedom and access the car provides is very important to her.
Elcena would like health professionals to work with patients to learn more about their conditions. She feels this would benefit both patients and health professionals. She encourages newly-injured people to do a lot of research to find out what they can do to help themselves. 



Please use the form below to tell us what you think of the site. We’d love to hear about how we’ve helped you, how we could improve or if you have found something that’s broken on the site. We are a small team but will try to reply as quickly as possible.

Please note that we are unable to accept article submissions or offer medical advice. If you are affected by any of the issues covered on this website and need to talk to someone in confidence, please contact The Samaritans or your Doctor.

Make a Donation to

Find out more about how you can help us.

Send to a friend

Simply fill out this form and we'll send them an email