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Patient Success Stories

"Nine weeks after surgery, I have hiked over 100 miles, and all of it over 8000 ft!"


Disc Herniation

1 Level Laminectomy

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I’m a physical fitness junky and an avid outdoorsman. When I say avid, I mean avid. I do about 500 miles a year in the backcountry of the Rocky Mountain West. As an adventure consultant, I scout different locations throughout the world as an occupation. Needless to say when I ruptured discs in my low back (L4/L5) and couldn’t walk over 100 yards for three months in agonizing pain, I was ready for any way to get back on my feet. I checked all the “boxes” to avoid surgery and was getting slightly better when on a business trip to Virginia my symptoms accelerated and a foot drop showed up.

After being in the emergency room of Reston Hospital, I met my guardian angel, Dr. Christopher Good, of Virginia Spine Institute. He reassured me I was in good hands and I would be having surgery in a few hours. He explained to me what was about to happen and I felt both cared about and educated after several discussions. I also have to mention that the staff at Reston Hospital was unbelievable. I don’t go to hospitals often and every time I have, the staff seems fairly burned out and disenchanted. Reston was the exact opposite — warm, friendly, curious and super helpful and caring. Also, almost everyone who came in my room mentioned how lucky I was to have Dr. Good working on me as he was “one of the best.”

On to the really good news…my rapid recovery. I woke up to zero pain! I was on extra strength Tylenol within a matter of days and didn’t use that much after the first month. Through the first 4 weeks I really had to be careful with bending over or any real “aggressive” activity. But at the 5 week point I felt good enough to start doing my summer trips into the backcountry of Idaho. My first trip was three days and only 4 or 5 miles but we did over 2000 feet in gain and I was back in my element. Second weekend (6 weeks post surgery) I did another short trip of similar length. Now mind you, I wore my back brace for stability and was very careful not to “push through” anything. I just felt good and safe. Today is exactly 9 weeks since surgery and I have done over 100 miles and all of it over 8000ft. This last trip we did 26 miles in three days with 9,000 feet in gain and I feel zero after effects.

Now, I’m still being careful, and I’m back in the gym as well, doing my physical therapy and still mending. I have a little swelling still around the incision and if I sit a lot, I still get some symptoms (very minor) but they continue to diminish and I’d say I’m 98% pain and symptom free. I have recovered all feeling in my leg and I can see I will be back to 100%. Thanks so much to you, Dr. Good. I honestly believe you saved me. Cheers! (And yes, I will continue to “take it easy” so I don’t have a set back.)

Thanks so much to you, Dr. Good. I honestly believe you saved me!

Spinal Champion Q&A

How quickly were you relieved of your symptoms after surgery?

I woke up from surgery with zero pain! After that, I was on extra-strength Tylenol for only a few days

When did you start hiking after your surgery?

About 5 weeks after surgery I took my first trip – three days with about 4-5 miles, climbing over 2000 feet.

Patient Success Story: Follow Marc’s Journey

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