500,000 back surgeries are done each year. What leads someone to having back surgery can vary greatly. Some people have localized back pain that is severe and persistent, some have numbness and tingling, some a loss of strength and some have all three severe pain, with numbness and tingling and a loss of strength.
I’ve met many people who’ve had amazing results from back surgery. Their surgeons explained that the back surgery is the start of a 6 month to one year journey that consists of resting, healing, physical therapy, and slow steady progress.
But I have seen many others like George.
George is a 45 year old husband and father. He worked as a limo driver for over a decade. He loves being a part of the major live events in people’s lives, meeting famous people not to mention supporting his family. When you talk to George you know he has a great sense of pride that comes from his work and how much he cares for his family. He suffered from low back pain for years but it didn’t stop him from working until the pain became unbearable. He finally went to an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon gave George a prescription of painkillers, scheduled him for Xray, MRI, and gave him a piece of paper with exercises. He was told to take the pain medication, rest and do the exercise on the paper. After a month the pain didn't go away in fact after he heard they found a herniated disc on the MRI his pain increased dramatically. The surgeon scheduled an injection to help George with his pain. When the injection was unsuccessful, the surgeon said the next option is surgery. By this time, George was in so much pain all the time he had to cut down on his shifts at work: he wasn’t sleeping. He felt like he wasn’t being a good father or husband. He was having to ask for help with simple things around the house so he was getting more and more frustrated. He told me that he knew he was being short with his wife and kids but he couldn’t stop even though he always felt horrible after snapping at them. So without hesitation he agreed to having the surgery.
This is where the story really gets sad. George wakes up from having his back surgery with no pain; but he can’t control his right ankle. Every time he tries to walk his foot just slaps the ground. He had to really lift his knee high to keep from tripping over his right toes.
When I met George he still had very little control of his right ankle 2 months after surgery. He desperately wants to return to driving his limo. We’ve been working together for a little while now and he has more ankle control, his balance is better so we are forever hopeful this story will have a happy ending.
I am a forever optimist. I truly believe that the human body is able to heal with a little time and guidance. However, I am seeing a scary trend. I see people toughing it out though a lot of pain until their only option is to have surgery because the pain has finally limited too many things in their lives.
If you have a recurring or persistent lower back pain and would like to find out more about how to stop it now before it takes over every aspect of your life like it did to George click here to talk to Dr. Molly. Or pick the option below that best fits your needs.
WE HELP ACTIVE ADULTS OVERCOME THEIR ACHES AND PAINS TO GET THEM BACK TO THEIR FAVORITE ACTIVITIES WITHOUT MEDICATION, INJECTIONS OR SURGERIES.
Dr. Molly McDonald