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"I'm back to walking four miles a day, five days a week!" Isabel G. Active Walker

I used to walk four miles a day, five days a week and was generally a very active person. Eventually, however, I started experiencing back pain and right leg pain and weakness. It was difficult to stand for longer than 5 minutes and I would try to force myself to keep up with my walking but I ended up paying the price overnight when I couldn’t even turn over in bed. As I stopped being active I felt as if I was 80 years old instead of 45 and that really depressed me. Then I started developing bad eating habits and with that, of course, came the weight gain which only made things worse.

I had symptoms for two years before I saw a doctor for the first time. That particular doctor didn’t think it was anything serious and decided muscle relaxers would help {they didn’t}. After that I saw a back specialist who ordered tests and an MRI, and decided I needed surgery. He did not give me all of the details to why I needed surgery, so I decided to just tough it out and continue to feel miserable. I stopped even more activities and avoided standing for too long, as that was more painful than actually walking. After four years of symptoms that progressively got worse, I had my final straw. My turning point that forced me to seek treatment was when I had to step out of line at the grocery store because I couldn’t stand for more than three minutes. At this point I had already stopped cooking for my family and I just couldn’t take it anymore.

After four years, I found Virginia Spine Institute! What a difference it made! I finally understood in detail what was causing my symptoms and what the nerves were doing to my spine. Non-operative treatments were suggested first, beginning with six weeks of physical therapy and dry needling. This helped some, but by the fourth week I was only feeling better on the day I finished treatment. After that we tried a cortisone spinal injection which could offer relief for two months or two years, we would have to find out. When the injection only created numbness and tingling in my leg, it was time to talk about surgery. At this point I fully understood the reasons behind my symptoms, so I agreed and scheduled the surgery.

In July 2015 I had a minimally invasive Microdiscectomy which essentially removed the herniated portion of the disc in my spine and relieved pressure on the compressed nerve. Flash forward to almost a year post-op and I can do anything I want! I still have a few extra pounds on me but I’m back to walking four miles a day, five days a week and that alone makes me so happy! I can go shopping and stand in line, or walk in the mall if I wish to. My life is back!

My experience at Virginia Spine Institute was amazing – from the receptionists, to the physician assistants, to the physical therapists, all the way to my surgeon. They were all extremely nice, understanding, and accommodating to my needs. I was treated like a friend and spent so much time was spent explaining everything to me. I was never rushed in and out of the room.

What a difference surgery can make! Even if it is scary at times, don’t wait too long – regain your life as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid of surgery just because of the opinions you hear or the faces people make. If you have a good doctor he’ll know what to do to fix you up. I am so lucky to have found Virginia Spine Institute!