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"There is no reason to live in pain and be afraid of the recovery time. " Michael L. Pain-free after 10 years!

I would like to thank the entire staff at Virginia Spine Institute!  On Sept 15th, 2016, I underwent surgery for an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion.  I had been having neck pain for over 10+ years. Prior to that I had been pretty active -- running, lifting weights and in excellent health. When the neck pain began I had difficulty lifting weights and even running made it worse. Turning my head a certain way would bring excruciating pain. My condition kept me in pain sometimes 24 hours a day and nothing I did would alleviate it.   The pain affected my sleep, my job and life in general - I was miserable!  If I sat too long working in front of my computer (which most of us do now a days), things went from bad to worse.  My left arm would go numb all the way to my thumb and fore finger, sometimes it felt like I wouldn’t be able to move my arm.  I kept thinking that if I ignored it, it would go away. At first I tried a chiropractor and he recommended an orthopedic specialist. I made an appointment with one and tried the steroid injections recommended. I received a series of shot that offered a little relief, but the pain was always there. At this point the orthopedic doctor recommended surgery and I refused. I didn’t want the surgery because I was concerned about the healing time after surgery. I travel a lot for work and just didn’t have time for recovery – I had heard it would take 6-8 weeks and who has that much leave time at work?

The last couple of years had been the worst. I was starting to think that maybe I had waited too long and surgery wouldn’t be an option anymore. I had been overseas and was researching laser spine surgery. I told myself that could be an option for my condition but then found out it wasn’t. So, finally I find myself in Virginia with a new job and absolutely no leave time. I made an appointment at Virginia Spine Institute, hoping for the best. My medical team was very informative and told me what my options were. Surgery was recommended strictly because it was too late to try anything else. I was reassured that recovery would only take a couple of weeks. I set up the appointment for surgery hoping for the best, and made sure I could work from home until I recovered.

I had my surgery on a Thursday at noon, and spent the night in the hospital. Friday morning I was released from the hospital with a 2-inch incision on my neck and prescriptions for pain medication and muscle relaxers. I definitely needed the medication through Monday the 19th but by Tuesday I felt well enough to wean myself off. On Wednesday, September 21st, I returned to work. From that day on, the pain has been less and less.

I honestly couldn’t believe how fast my recovery time was. I would have had this done sooner if I had taken the chance. When I went back for the post-operation appointment, everyone was so happy for me and thought I was doing great!! I was still in a little pain but, not like the pain I have been in for the last 10+ years. At least I know that this pain is because I had surgery and I’m healing.  I am looking forward to getting back to my life. Every day is a little better. I am starting physical therapy and hope that this will help me get back to my weight lifting and running which is a HUGE part of my life.

The staff at Virginia Spine Institute have all been GREAT. They are all very professional and explain everything so that you fully understand your condition. To anyone reading this, if you find yourself in my shoes, please wait no longer. Call VSI and make an appointment - you will be glad you did. There is no reason to live in pain and be afraid of the recovery time because of work. I just wish I had made the decision to have the surgery a LONG time ago.