Describe yourself before your neck or back pain started.
I was a very active athlete - cycling, motocross, mountain biking, gym, tennis, etc. My career as a general building contractor was very physical and active. Combined, these activities led to stress and strain on my back, and ultimately a herniated disk in my late 20s.
What did you do to try to reduce or control the pain?
I took a variety of medications to reduce the pain and discomfort. I used a lot of ibuprofen every day, and often needed stronger medications like hydrocodone, and percocet to moderate the pain. I also used stretching and moderate exercise to manage the pain and maintain my business and quality of life.
How long did you endure symptoms before seeking treatment?
I waited over four years before seeking surgical treatment - trying cortisone shots, chiropractic, acupuncture, anything to alleviate the pain.
When and why did you decide to seek surgical treatment, and what was your diagnosis?
After a series of consultations with Dr. Paul Slosar, surgery was deemed a safe and successful solution. I had a lot of confidence in Dr. Slosar. Had I known how much better I would feel after surgery, I would have done it long before!
What did you do to prepare for surgery?
Diet and exercise as required by my doctor, and stretching and core exercises to strengthen, but not irritate the herniation more.
What surgery was performed?
Dr. Slosar performed a microscopic discectomy at L4-L5. It was outpatient and I went home the same day.
How was your recovery?
My recovery from surgery was as described and expected. The pain was minimal, although the swelling lasted a bit longer than expected.
Overall the recovery was relatively easy. I was back at work in 10-14 days. I did nothing physical, but was just able to re-enter work and run my company as required – but feeling markedly better.
In what ways has treatment changed your life?
Treatment has completely changed my life. I do not wake up every day in pain, or unable to get out of bed, as I had in the past. Surgery has allowed me to do so much more - bend, lift, exercise, not feel limited, sit more comfortably – even watch a movie without getting up 10 times! I do not take any ibuprophen or other pain meds!
What advice would you share with other who have a similar condition?
See a spine specialist as soon as possible - a specialist can make a plan for you to get healthy. Surgery was a no-brainer in hindsight!