Patient Success Stories

Back | Neck
Professional back to life with center of excellence approach

back to successful career in psychology after surgery to relieve a painful lumbar back in IndianaJanice does not let much slow her down. A gymnast in college, she still stays active by working out at the gym, rollerblading and snow skiing when ever possible. Janice is a successful clinical psychologist, professor and a consultant on public policy. Her career can be physically exhausting at times. As a pediatric psychologist, Janice must bend down, kneel, sit on the floor and be able to lift and hold her young patients. Her career also involves frequent commuting.

About two and a half years ago Janice began having low back pain, the symptoms were dull and sporadic at first. As time went by, the pain worsened and became more persistent. The long commutes were painful because her symptoms flared when sitting. Janice made an appointment with a local physician to help find some back pain relief. The physician suggested conservative care such as anti-inflammatories for the pain. While this did offer some temporary relief, the pain would soon return.

In June of 2010, her symptoms still remained and the car commutes were becoming more unbearable. Janice made an appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon at South Bend Orthopaedics, who specializes in general orthopaedics and sports medicine. After examining Janice, the surgeon suggested that she be seen by his colleague, a fellowshiptrained spine surgeon at South Bend Spine. Because of the center of excellence approach used at South Bend Orthopaedics and South Bend Spine, Janice was able to see the spine surgeon the same day.

The surgeon ordered an MRI of her spine and after viewing the results, he explained to Janice that she had a severe herniated disc at L5-S1, she also suffered from degenerative disc disease, lumbar stenosis and lumbar spondylolysis.

Next, the spine surgeon and Janice discussed the treatment options for her diagnosis. He suggested non-surgical treatment first, which included injection therapy. Janice tried the spine injections, but unfortunately experienced little pain relief. She knew she could not continue to live with the pain and give up the activities she loves.

In October 2010, she again visited the spine surgeon and they discussed the surgical options to correct the herniated disc and degenerative disc disease. Janice also sought a second opinion from an orthopaedic surgeon in Chicago. Because of the comfort level she had with the surgeon at South Bend Spine, she chose him to perform her spine surgery. “He explained in detail to me the surgery needed and answered all of my questions with a gentle, calming demeanor,” Janice remembers.

Later in October, Janice had the spine surgery to relieve her condition. She felt almost immediate relief from the low back pain that had become a way of life. The same day of her surgery, Janice’s surgeon visited her recovery room and helped her walk around the waiting room area. Within four days, Janice was able to walk a quarter mile and she gradually increased her distance from there. Part of her recovery took place in Maui and she was able to snow ski in Canada just months after surgery.

Today, Janice is back to her active lifestyle and fully recovered. She is free to commute and interact with her young patients - all without low back pain.

Click here or select the image above to download a PDF of Janice's successful recovery from back pain.