I have a genetic condition called Degenerative Disc Disease. I have had issues with back pain off and on for over 25 years, but it was not until 2009 that my condition reached a point that required action. After a few incorrect diagnoses , I came to Virginia Spine Institute in August 2010 and received the correct diagnosis. Following several months under the care of Dr. Good the attempts at a non-surgical solution to my condition were exhausted and I had surgery in January 2011. I underwent a discectomy with interbody fusion on levels L4-5 and L5-S1. My spinal health and quality of life improved greatly for awhile until the progressive nature of my condition required another surgery in July 2014. This time a discectomy with interbody fusion on level L1-2. Today my back is structurally sound and greatly improved, however I suffer from nerve pain in my hips and lower extremities.
The pain in my hips and legs began affecting my ability to work as an airline pilot. Sitting in the cockpit, in a static position, became increasing difficult and my level of pain began increasing after each trip. I began missing work frequently and started to question the viability of continuing my career as an airline captain. A life long dream and passion of mine appeared to be seriously threatened.
I began seeing Dr. Nguyen in early 2015 for pain management in addition to regular sessions of physical therapy at Virginia Therapy and Fitness Center. Immediately after talking with Dr. Nguyen I felt optimistic about my future. I began acupuncture in January 2015 with an open, yet skeptical mind. I had several treatments and began to notice improvement in my quality of life and a reduction in my overall pain level. After a few months of treatment my son was born and I took a break from acupuncture for a few weeks. This hiatus turned out to be a huge mistake for me. I quickly began to notice a deterioration in my condition, quality of life, and overall pain level. I hadn't realized what a profound improvement the acupuncture had made in my condition until I stopped the treatments for a short period. Now I try to keep a weekly or biweekly (depends on my schedule) regimen of acupuncture treatments. I know that these appointments are crucial not only to my recovery, but also to the continuation of my job.
Thankfully I found Virginia Spine Institute and Virginia Therapy and Fitness Center. Everyone, from my surgeon Dr. Good, to my excellent physical therapist, to Dr. Nguyen and his staff has been incredible! I can say without hyperbole that surgery, physical therapy, and acupuncture have saved my career. You can ask my wife -- there is nothing more bitter than a grounded pilot. Both of us thank everyone for keeping me flying.