Jill — Nanuet, NY
I was born with a malformed vertebra. The pain started when I was about 16 or 17 years old. At that time, I was diagnosed with congenital spondylolisthesis. It was painful, but it was not until about two years ago that it progressed to the point where it was intolerable. Other than using ibuprofen and Motrin®, I knew I had to do something to take care of the pain. My L5-S1 vertebrae were touching one another. It was bone on bone.
As a teenager, I just dealt with the pain and continued to remain active and suffer. I did not have horrible pain until I got older. Throughout my life, I have always done a lot of exercise, including aerobics. I don't know if that aggravated it. I was always very active, so I wonder if that had anything to do with it.
I always took aspirin, Motrin® and ibuprofen, and in my twenties, I went to a chiropractor for an entire year. For the next twenty-five years, I tried different chiropractors and osteopaths because that was the only thing I knew to try. Once the pain became very, very great, I visited a pain management specialist who put me on painkillers, which also did not do anything to ease the pain. I had cortisone shots, and was prescribed narcotic medications as well. I even tried yoga, acupuncture, and acupressure. I tried everything before I went to the surgery. I mean I could not even keep up with all the people that I saw. I even went to many surgeons hoping to hear something that was non-surgical, but it was so bad at one point, that I just wanted someone to take care of it. I wanted to make sure I covered every base. This is when I saw Dr. Jeffrey A. Goldstein.
I asked Dr. Goldstein his opinion and he said that he could take care of my problem with a spinal fusion, and I agreed to proceed with the surgery. I am now six months postoperative, and I continue to progress. Right after the surgery, I had more pain than before the surgery. After the first month, I started recovering. It has been slow, and now I feel 80 to 90 percent better. I still have to monitor my activity. I continue to exercise. I walk and do calisthenics, stretching exercises, and ride the bike. It is very good for me. Stretching my back has helped me to continue to progress.
Since the surgery, I can sit and have a conversation without being preoccupied with the pain. I am a very social person and, before the surgery, I would entertain and go out, but I was a mess. When I was taking the narcotic medications, I would excuse myself to go to the restroom because my stomach was so irritated. I never felt good, and I was never really happy because I was in so much pain.
I hope a lot of people are being helped, because I am now definitely a believer in surgical treatments. Sometimes, I forget that I have this hardware inside me, and that is a little scary to think about. I tell my kids that I am "The Bionic Woman" now. I feel so much better and it makes such a big difference in my quality of life.
Motrin® is a registered trademark of McNeil Consumer & Specialty Pharmaceuticals, a Division of McNeil-PPC, Inc.
After reading this please keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Results may vary. Complications, such as infection, blood loss, or nerve damage are some of the potential adverse risks of spinal surgery. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information.