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"I could never give my spine care team enough praise for giving me my life back." Thomas B. Retired Army Infantry Officer

I was an Army Infantry Officer who attended several Army training schools that included Airborne, Air Assault, SERE, and Ranger School. The rucksack road marches and the jumping out of planes finally caught up with me and in 2005 I had my first back operation with Virginia Spine Institute. I had degenerative disc disease and they performed a laminectomy on L5/S1 to relieve the pressure on my spinal cord placed there by the herniated disc. The team was extremely thorough in their evaluation, diagnosis, and final determination. They tried everything first in their attempt to give me relief prior to making the decision that surgery was necessary. For them, surgery is always the last resort, and they always tries the least invasive procedure first which I appreciate. 6 years later, the disc in my back ruptured and I was in excruciating pain. My surgeon immediately saw me, and even though he was booked out for over two weeks, he ensured that I was in surgery that week. He had to replace the L5/S1 disc with two cages. This is the same procedure that they use on NFL football players, and I see why...I have been pain free in my back for 7 years now and counting!

While I was going through my back issues, I was also having neck and arm pain. At first it was just a nagging uncomfortable pain in my neck with intermittent pain down my left arm to my fingers. But as time went on, the pain became more severe. In 2012, I went back to Virginia Spine Institute. Just as before, the team tried recommending everything from physical therapy to cervical injections to give me relief without resorting to surgery. The pain became unbearable for me, so I asked if he would please operate. I had three discs fused in my neck, and after surgery I was immediately pain free. The pain in my neck, down my left shoulder, my left arm, and the numbness in my fingers was gone.

At this point, nearly every disc in my neck had been remedied by Virginia Spine Institute..but one. In 2016, I began to experience neck and left arm pain again noticing weakness in my left hand that scared me. The last disc (C8) was causing the issue, and we started the process a final time. I went to physical therapy until October 2017 hoping to avoid another surgery. In early October, my therapist encouraged me to see my surgeon because my symptoms were getting worse. Again, we tried a cervical injection, but unfortunately it did not bring me relief. In November 2017, I underwent a second neck surgery to repair my disc. I now have 5 discs fused in my neck, and while that may sound like a lot to you, it brings a smile to my face because I am once again pain free and able to enjoy the outdoor activities that my family and I enjoy doing. Virginia Spine Institute is bar none the best surgical team you could ever want if you are ever in need of neck and/or back surgery.

I was so impressed with the team in 2005, that I referred my father and my wife. My father was 74 years old when they performed a laminectomy on his L5/S1, and 13 years later my father is still pain free. My wife also needed to have two discs fused in her neck from a car accident which alleviated her daily headaches and neck pain.

I could never give Virginia Spine Institute enough praise for not only giving me my life back, but also for what they have done for my father and my wife. Thank you!