September 9, 2005
For several years before treatment I had recurring lower back pain. At that
time I was a regular runner. In the summer of 2004 this became more severe
and constant, so
that I had to stop running. Suddenly, one morning in October 2004 I woke up with
excruciating pain and I noticed pain in my left leg all the way down to my
toes, which were
also becoming numb and partially paralyzed..
I decided to see my family doctor at once who requested MRIs and examined
me. He told me I would most likely need surgery. With MRIs in hand I decided
to get a second opinion with a neurologist for an expert diagnosis. The neurologist’s
diagnosis confirmed that I had a severely ruptured L4/5 disc, which would urgently
require surgery as the S1
and sciatic nerves were greatly impaired and could suffer permanent damage
if not operated. I was referred to Dr. Stanton Schiffer in Fremont, CA to perform
this neurosurgery either by standard or less invasive endoscopic procedure.
Dr. Schiffer responded extremely rapidly. He examined my back together with
the MRIs, CT Scans and X-rays and concluded that there was too much loose material
from the ruptured disc in order to perform an endoscopic procedure. Although
he was fully booked for several months, he went out of his way to schedule
and perform a endoscopic discectomy in December 2004 at the Pleasanton Surgery
Center. The procedure went very smoothly and the treatment at the surgery center
was top-notch. After a 21/2 hour operation and within 24 hours I was recuperating
at home. He also referred me to one of the best physical therapists in the
area where I had around 20
sessions. Both Dr. Schiffer and the therapist told me that the key to a quick
and total recovery would be to continue the stretching and back exercise program
prescribed to me by the therapist incl. regular walking. I have followed this
program rigorously, which is the most difficult part of the whole recuperation..
Today 9 months after the surgery I feel no pain and stiffness is gradually
going away. I would say that I am at 90+%of the flexibility I had before the
entire thing started. I have replaced running with Nordic Walking and fast
walking which will continue regularly along with my stretching/exercise regimen
probably forever to continue maintaining strong back muscles. I learned that
if I slough off, the nerves and back pain can flair up.
I would go back to Dr. Schiffer, if I had to do it all over again. I am
grateful for his professional skills and gentleness incl. his well trained
team; to the doctors, nurses and staff of the Pleasanton Surgery Center, Pleasanton,
CA and to the physical therapist, Dennis Halliday of Sportfit, San Ramon, CA.
They all helped me regain a pain free life.
The medical treatment I received was first class indeed.