Describe yourself before your neck or back pain started.
I was thirty years old, newly married to the man of my dreams, and working at a prominent university law school. I was happy, energetic, fun loving, easy going, and preparing to buy a house and start a family. Two months after my wedding day, a motor vehicle accident crushed a disc in my spine. I lost my job because of my injury, I became deeply depressed because of the intense pain I was experiencing, and I lost my confidence. I felt like my body gave out on me.
What did you do to try to reduce or control the pain?
For months I was prescribed different pain medications, nerve medications, and physical therapy before I had an MRI of my spine.
How long did you endure symptoms before seeking treatment?
I waited 10 months.
What treatments did you undergo?
After meeting with Dr. Slosar, I had an epidural for pain, a discogram, and physical therapy before he determined that I was a candidate for spinal fusion surgery at L5-S1.
If you had surgical treatment, what did you do to prepare for surgery?
To prepare for my spinal fusion surgery, I walked two or more miles each day with my dog down at the river. Walking helped me to heal quickly after my procedure and it also helped me mentally. Chronic pain can take its toll on mental health as well as physical health, and depression had set in shortly after my injury. I stayed in physical therapy until the week of my surgery, which took place one year after I first met Dr. Slosar.
If you had surgical treatment, how was your recovery?
My recovery after my procedure was surprisingly quick. I thought I would have been in bed for months, but I was up and walking the day after surgery. After four days in the hospital, I was released to go home. I took short walks several times each day. Staying on top of my pain medication was key for managing pain, but the level of pain was nowhere near what I expected. Within one month I was off all pain medications entirely. I used a walker for about three days and then put it aside. After a month, I was back to walking about half a mile. I went from chronic pain in my lower back, buttocks, and right leg, to experiencing only mild discomfort in my lower back after strenuous exercise. I no longer have nerve pain in my buttocks or leg.
In what ways has treatment changed your life?
My injury changed my life forever – there is no doubt about that. It took its toll on my mental health, my physical health, and my marriage. I was unhappy for a long time because of constant pain. I couldn’t sleep at night because I couldn’t get comfortable. After my surgery, I instantly felt hopeful and confident again. I knew immediately I was fixed and it was all downhill from there.
Today, I feel strong and able bodied again. I attend a bootcamp-style gym three to four times a week. I started ten months after surgery and I have been going for nine months. I also take yoga.
I remain hopeful for my future. A little more than a year since my spine surgery, and I am virtually pain-free. I celebrated my recovery in Hawaii with my friends; some of my biggest supporters!
What advice would you share with other who have a similar condition?
My advice for anyone suffering with chronic pain due to a spine injury is to contact SpineCare as soon as possible. The longer you wait with an injury like this, the worse life can become. I had started to lose hope before I met Dr. Slosar. He didn’t just repair my spine, he helped repair my soul. So don’t wait. Seek treatment. Get your life back!