The staff of SpineNation is comprised of those who live with chronic back, neck, or spine conditions or are closely related to someone who lives with such. Our status as patients and advocates surprises many people who stop by our website or join our support community. SpineNation founder and CEO Jay Resio started SpineNation because he wanted to provide other patients with the support, education, and clarity he couldn’t find.

We thought it might be nice for our community members and readers to know more about the people behind the website. We want spine warriors to know that they are in a safe space here. Our mission is to provide education, support, and empowerment to our community members and help them achieve the best quality of life possible despite their pain.
So, who is SpineNation

There are four core staff members at SpineNation. Jay Resio (CEO,) Chris Jones (Director of Content,) Marian “Madre” Resio (Staff mom and Lead Designer,) and Kelly Mendenhall (Senior Community Specialist and content writer.) Each team member sat down to answer some questions so that you could know them better. 

Jay Resio: Founder and CEO

Jay Resio, SpineNation CEO

What’s your role with SpineNation? What do you do?

I founded SpineNation because of my own experiences in the back and spine pain world. Over six years, I had five spine surgeries; two degenerative discs (L3-4/L4-5) led to four herniations of the same disc (L4-5.)

What’s your origin story? How did you end up involved with SpineNation?

All told, I had three discectomies and two lumbar artificial disc replacements. I found it frustrating throughout my medical journey that there weren’t many reliable forums for spine patients where peers could support one another. It was difficult finding reliable information on the various spine conditions and treatment options, as well. I decided I needed to be the change I wanted to see. I created SpineNation to support, educate, and empower spine patients to put their back pain behind them.

Do you live with chronic back, neck, or spine conditions?

There is a popular misconception that surgery for the spine and back is a magic bullet. In my experience, surgery is only one piece of the puzzle. So, yes, although I’ve had multiple surgeries, I still live with chronic back and neck pain. I have to stay diligent about my physical and mental health, just like so many members of our community. Surgery, diet, exercise and activity levels, and mental health care contribute to my improved quality of life.

What’s your favorite thing about SpineNation as a consumer, not a staff member?

It means a lot to see the community interactions in our main feed and our various support groups. I love getting to see people from all over the country and worldwide supporting one another, cheering each other on, and sharing advice for pre-and post-op. These interactions are what I needed when I was going through all the rigamarole of tests, diagnostics, procedures, and surgeries. I’m proud to have created this space for other spine warriors to receive the support they need. I also receive help and support on my bad pain days.

What’s your No. 1 piece of advice for people living with chronic pain?

You have to be your own best advocate. It sometimes may feel like you have to fight too hard to receive a firm diagnosis or a treatment plan that helps. It doesn’t matter. However hard you have to fight, you are the best person to advocate for yourself. Become as educated as possible, track your symptoms and walk into appointments with specialists with as much data as possible. Fire destructive doctors, get 2-3 medical opinions, and talk to your peers. Information is your superpower as a patient.

Chris Jones: Director of Content

Chris Jones, Director of Content
Chris Jones, Director of Content

What’s your role with SpineNation? What do you do?

I’m the web content editor. I’m tasked with coming up with editorial ideas for content, writing content, and working with our contributing writers. Part of this is also editing content and making sure our content remains up to date by revising previously written content as things within health care change. 

I also do a bit of relationship cultivating and managing with our health care partners. These providers are our article sources, peer medical reviewers, and content providers themselves.

What’s your origin story? How did you end up involved with SpineNation?

I met Jay Resio, the CEO of SpineNation, online. He was seeking a writer and editor with a background in health writing. We had a couple of talks, and we’ve been working together since. It’s been over four years now. 

Do you live with chronic back, neck, or spine conditions?

I do not have a chronic back, neck, or spine condition. Still, I have endured multiple surgeries on my legs (broken bone, torn cartilage, two ACL reconstructions), so I understand the plight of people in pain. My father-in-law has a herniated disc in his lower back, as does my sister-in-law. 

What’s your favorite thing about SpineNation as a consumer, not a staff member?

Our communities. While Facebook is awash in groups, our hub is a dedicated space for people to connect with others. Consumers can learn more about their conditions, interact with our team members, find surgeons, and get their questions answered.

What’s your No. 1 piece of advice for people living with chronic pain?

In the words of Marshawn Lynch, “Take care of your mentals.” Physical pain can wear you down mentally. Know when your battery needs to be recharged, and don’t feel bad taking time for yourself. 

Marian “Madre” Resio

Marian Resio, User Experience Designer

What’s your role with SpineNation? What do you do?

I am the User Experience Designer for SpineNation. I research and test how users use the website and help to make their experience memorable. I help design the website’s user interface, blog images, and page layout and help make elements functional.

What’s your origin story? How did you end up involved with SpineNation?

I am Jay Resio’s Mom. I love that I can go to a place to help myself and others learn more about our health issues and keep up with how we can manage the pain and discomfort we experience daily. 

Jay asked me if I would be interested in helping him with the design and development, keeping the user experience fresh and intuitive, and building the website’s interface. I’ve been assisting SpineNation for about three years now. I feel good that I am helping make a difference in other people’s lives.

Do you live with chronic back, neck, or spine conditions?

I do have spine conditions and suffer from chronic back and neck pain. I have Degenerative Disc Disease within the lateral upper spine. There are bilateral pars defects at L5 with a Grade 1 anterolistheses of L5 on S1.

What’s your favorite thing about SpineNation as a consumer, not a staff member?

The wealth of information and support available. May it be articles, blogs, and the sharing of our peers in helping others who need the help to keep going. We want people to know they are not alone. It’s a great environment where people listen, care for, and support you.

What’s your No. 1 piece of advice for people living with chronic pain?

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.” ~Bob Marley

Do not give up!! Keep yourself informed. Every day new technology is being invented. Procedures are being discovered. Medications are being formulated. Always keep in mind, there is HOPE. Keep hope strong in your life.

Kelly Mendenhall, Senior Community Leader

Kelly Mendenhall, Senior Community Leader

What’s your role with SpineNation? What do you do?

My role at SpineNation is two-fold. I contribute to the content and write articles and blogs. But I am also keeping an eye on our community feed daily, and I create our social media content and graphics each week.

We invite our social media followers to submit questions for our experts. I answer questions that come up as quickly as possible and find solutions or resources for members and non-members alike. Then I follow up and make sure they get answers. I’m also the designated “welcome wagon” when new members join the community.

What’s your origin story? How did you end up involved with SpineNation?

Buckle up; this is a long one! In June of 2017, I became suddenly medically disabled with debilitating pain in my back and left leg; additionally, I started experiencing numbness and weakness in my limbs. I could no longer work or do much of anything. I would periodically lose the ability to walk because of the pain and lack of range of motion. For ten months, I was flat on my back on the couch.

It sucked for a myriad of reasons, but the worst part was that I kept running into roadblock after roadblock and specialist after specialist. (Read also: Medical Gaslighting.) Doctors flat out didn’t believe me about the pain and symptoms I was reporting.

I’m a natural-born advocate, so that part of my brain took over quickly. I essentially went to war with my local medical community, firing doctors until I found the right ones. Along the way, I began blogging about my experience and wrote and published my memoir, which includes chapters on my medical crisis.

SpineNation launched in 2017, and one of their staff members was following my social media and blog. We regularly interacted on Instagram, and she told me to pitch an idea for an article to her coworkers. I did so successfully and kept in touch with Chris and Jay for the next two-plus years while trying to make sense of what was happening with my body. 

Between December 2018 and October 2019, I had four neurosurgeries.

I contacted Jay and Chris in January 2020 to fill them in on all surgeries and diagnoses. Jay suggested we should have a call to talk about me becoming a regular contributor with SpineNation. The rest, as they say, is history. It’s been 1.5 years, and I hope to work with SpineNation for the rest of my writing career. I’m also happy to report that I can feel all of my body parts again and use my arms and legs.

Do you live with chronic back, neck, or spine conditions?

I have Degenerative Disc DiseasePiriformis Syndrome, and chronic Sciatica. I was diagnosed with moderate Oesteoarthritis in my SI joints and my lumbar spine. A ruptured disc that had been neglected for years while I fought with doctors crushed and deformed my spinal cord (Myelopathy.) Spinal Stenosis was discovered as well, and I had two ruptured discs in different areas of my spine with vertebral instability. 

What’s your favorite thing about SpineNation as a consumer, not a staff member?

I started as a member and consumer on the site. I was one of their first beta users. Over the years, I’ve appreciated it most because it’s a safe space to talk about our diagnoses and pain with peers who actually get what we are going through. Contrary to other social media networks, on SpineNation, you don’t have to worry about getting a lot of judgment. You also won’t receive unsolicited medical advice from people who have no idea what kind of pain you’re experiencing or how it impacts your life.

What’s your No. 1 piece of advice for people living with chronic pain?

Just one?! Ok. 

Doctors know the human body, but we know our body. Do not let medical professionals gaslight you into thinking you’re crazy or that there’s nothing wrong with you. If you have to convince them, they’re the wrong doctor. Fire as many as you have to and get to the right doctor.

Nice to meet you

In closing

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know our crew a little better. We cherish the interactions we have with our community members on the site. Remember, membership to the site and access to support groups and other features are all FREE. If you aren’t a member yet, register today. We’ve got your back! 

Join the community at SpineNation.com
Join the community at SpineNation.com