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Patient Success Stories

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Active adult back to jogging after successful spine surgery

Chris enjoys an active lifestyle. In his free time he enjoys jogging, riding a bike, using the elliptical trainer and strength training. Chris began having right leg pain about ten years ago. His symptoms started out gradual at first. Unfortunately, instead of the pain going away, he noticed his symptoms worsening. Chris made an appointment to see his general practitioner.

The physician examined Chris and ordered X-rays. His physician encouraged him to try conservative care to help relieve his leg pain symptoms, and Chris did this for years.spine surgery michigan - dr jason brodkey success story

He tried using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) to help relieve pain and inflammation. Chris also visited a chiropractor for pain relief. He tried epidural steroid injections to help relieve his symptoms and physical therapy to help strengthen his core. The years went by and Chris remained active even with the leg pain. In fact, he found that walking fast was actually less painful than slower walking. All of these non-surgical treatments did offer Chris some temporary pain relief, but his symptoms would always return. He noticed his leg pain worsening and moving lower into his leg.

It was his anesthesiologist (or pain medicine physician) that referred Chris to Dr. Jason Brodkey, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon at Ann Arbor Spine Center. In January 2010, Chris made an appointment to see Dr. Brodkey, the surgeon ordered an MRI of his spine, the results showed that he had spondylolisthesis. Chris’ vertebrae was out of alignment and because of the vertebrae shifting and bone growths on the affected vertebrae, his nerve roots were compressed and causing his pain.

Spondylolisthesis is caused by joint instability in the low back. The rear part of spinal vertebrae has facet joints that act as hinges, allowing our spines to twist and bend.

Either from heredity or wear and tear, the joint weakens causing the vertebrae to slip forward out of its correct position.

Dr. Brodkey was very straightforward with Chris about his treatment options. He encouraged Chris to try non-surgical care as long as he could, but also cautioned that his condition would likely require spine surgery eventually. Dr. Brodkey encouraged him to be informed about his health care decisions and be his own advocate for his health care.

Chris did a lot of research on spondylolisthesis and his treatment options. He also sought a second opinion. “I wanted to make sure I made the best choice for my care, I was very nervous about having spine surgery,” Chris remembers. But he also knew that he couldn’t continue to live with his pain symptoms and wanted to return to his full activity level.chris successful recovery from spine surgery

Chris decided to have the spine surgery necessary to relieve the pinched nerve root and he wanted Dr. Brodkey to perform the surgery. Dr. Brodkey performed the posterior lumbar fusion surgery in September 2010. The surgery was a success and Chris felt almost immediate relief from the leg pain he had experienced for nearly ten years. “Dr. Brodkey was leaving the country the day after my surgery, he called from his vacation to talk with me and make sure I was able to get out of bed and walk around,” Chris reflects.

Recovery from his spine surgery was not easy. Chris followed the post surgery care instructions and was careful not to bend or twist or do any activity that may hinder a full recovery.

Today, Chris is back to work and his full activity level - without leg pain. He incorporates light weight training, jogging and uses a recumbent bike to stay in shape.

Click here to download a pdf of this complete story, detailing Chris' successful recovery from spine surgery at Ann Arbor Spine Center in Michigan.




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