Patient Success Stories

Back | Neck
Back to helping others after minimally invasive spine surgery
back to work in insurance industry after surgery to relieve a painful back in Indiana

Jodi works in the insurance industry, part of her job involves helping others plan for the future and manage risk. She has always been active, Jodi enjoys exercising in the gym and incorporates both strength and cardio training into her routine.

About five years ago, she began experiencing lower back pain and pain in her left leg. The symptoms were mild and sporadic at first and she tried some home remedies, such as non-steroidal antiinflammatory medications (NSAIDs), to help temporarily relieve the pain. As the years went by, not only did Jodi’s pain not go away but it was getting worse. She visited her general practitioner who encouraged her to continue with conservative care to help relieve the pain symptoms, which she did.

Jodi continued to stay active in her career and recreational activities, even with the pain. She knew that exercise can be effective in relieving simple back pain, as it can be like oil for joints in the spine. In addition to improving blood flow to discs, joints and muscles, exercise can make muscles more flexible, stronger and resistant to future strain. Jodi would use NSAIDs occasionally to help with her symptoms, the relief was temporary though and her pain would return.

In 2010, instead of getting better, Jodi noticed her low back and leg pain was becoming severe and constant. Her back pain was now interfering with her lifestyle, everyday activities like work and exercise were becoming unbearable.

Jodi again visited her doctor who examined her and then referred her to South Bend Spine, a specialty center that combines two fellowship-trained orthopaedic spine surgeons, non-surgical specialists, including physical medicine doctors and spine therapy, along with diagnostic capabilities. The fellowship-trained spine surgeon ordered and reviewed an MRI of Jodi’s spine and explained to her that she was suffering from degenerative disc disease. He suggested she try injection therapy to help relieve the pain symptoms and bridge her back to activity. Jodi tried the injections but they did not work and her pain soon returned.

The spine surgeon next talked with Jodi about surgical options to treat her degenerative disc disease. He explained to her she would need a discectomy to relieve her condition. In a lumbar discectomy, the surgeon typically only removes the portion of the disc that is causing a problem. This relieves the pressure on nearby nerves as they exit the spinal canal.

Jodi wanted to get back to her active life and had already tried her conservative treatment options. She decided to have the surgery and the South Bend Spine surgeon performed the discectomy using a minimally invasive approach in early 2011.

Jodi was relieved to find her low back and leg pain was gone after surgery. She was out of bed and walking within 24 hours of her surgery. Jodi was careful to follow the postsurgery instructions and wore a back brace for two months to help support her spine as it recovered. She gradually returned to walking for exercise. “I feel 100% better after surgery, my activity level isn’t limited now and the pain is gone,” Jodi says. She has returned fulltime to her career in the insurance industry and Jodi remains active by exercising several days a week using the elliptical trainer and treadmill.

Click here to download a PDF of Jodi's successful recovery from back pain at South Bend Spine.