Lumbar Disc Herniation

Patient Stories – Marsha


First Name: Marsha
Age: 48
General Occupation: Teacher
Diagnoses: Lumbar Disc Herniation, Sciatica, Stenosis, Radiculopathy
Type of Surgery: Microdiscectomy, Lumbar Laminotomy/Discectomy
Time After Surgery: Four years

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “EXTREME PAIN in my lower back! Down my leg! It was so intense that it made me sick to my stomach.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “The pain was so bad at times that I sat and sobbed because no matter what I did it would not subside. I did not sleep, work, or function outside of a recliner most days.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Wonderful, no side effects whatsoever.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “No comparison – I have my life back.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Yes!”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “Yes”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “Nothing would be different – and yes I would (choose) surgery, the results are VERY QUICK.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating this similar surgical procedure?
A. “Trust in Dr. Nelson and his opinions of viable options.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Caring, respectful, and compassionate towards all people. He gives you the feeling of being as important to him as if you are one of his family members.”

Patient Stories – Jackie


First Name: Jackie
Age: 54
General Occupation: Office Administrator
Diagnoses: Sciatica, Lumbar Disc Herniation, Footdrop, Stenosis
Type of Surgery: Microdiscectomy, Laminectomy/Discectomy L4-5
Time After Surgery: Three-and-a-half years

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Extreme lower back pain. I could not raise the front portion of my left foot.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “Before Dr. Nelson treated me, I had several episodes, during these painful times, I would miss work. At one point, I went to a chiropractor – this was “very painful” as well as expensive. Treatments offered only temporary relief.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Before surgery, I could bend or twist wrong and it would throw my back out – I have not experienced any of that since my surgery. When I stretch and walk in the a.m. – I do not have any back pain at all.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “My back in consistently healthy now – before surgery I never knew, when I would have problems – now I can make vacation and family plans and never worry about back pain interfering.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “I returned to work within four weeks’ time. Dr. Nelson encouraged me to remember to stretch and leave my desk and walk around.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities / sports?
A. “My main physical activity is walking 50 minutes per day. I can enjoy my walking – no problems. I do not participate in any other phys. activities.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “Due to the muscle loss in my left leg – I had to make the decision pretty quickly – previous doctors diagnosed me with arthritis – so again, when finally diagnosed correctly, time was limited. I am glad I had the surgery. Shortly after my surgery, I did learn about titanium replacements. I am not sure if that would have been a viable solution in my case. If that was a possible alternative, I would like to have given it consideration.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “Trust Dr. Nelson. Most people, friends, etc, fear back surgery. Technique and technology has come a long ways – Educate yourself before you decide.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Within two-and-a-half-weeks of meeting Dr. Nelson – I had surgery. From day one, I had a great deal of confidence in Dr. Nelson. He was very concerned about the pain I was enduring and he actually got on the phone himself to make appointments for me for injections and to reduce my pain. He called me at home to check on my progress after the first injection. I am 58 years old and I have had surgeries and medical conditions and rarely does a doctor take the time to contact me to see “how I was feeling.” I wish Dr. Nelson took care of everything – I would love for him to treat for all of my medical issues. I think people need to be as calm and as positive prior to surgery. I felt that I was in excellent hands with Dr. Nelson.”

Patient Stories – Jennifer


First Name: Jennifer
Age: 56
General Occupation: Homemaker
Diagnoses: Sciatica, Lumbar Disc Herniation, Stenosis, Radiculopathy L4-5
Type of Surgery: Microdiscectomy, Laminotomy/Discectomy L4-5
Time after Surgery: Three years

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “When I went to see Dr. Nelson, I was experiencing severe pain in my lower back and left leg.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “This pain almost completely ruled my life. I could not carry on with my normal daily activities. Even trying to sleep was almost impossible. I would moan and whimper all night long.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Now, after surgery, I feel normal, pain-free. If I push certain activities, I’ll feel pain in my lower back, but I am okay with that. The pain subsides, when I stop the activity.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “The difference between now and my pre-surgery condition is totally opposite. I’m very active now, back to my old self. I do not have the constant pain that I suffered with before the surgery.”

Q. Have you returned to work / school?
A. “I have returned to my normal activities, those of a housewife, but nine months after my surgery, I did go to work as an associate at Kohl’s. This required being on my feet, standing at the cash register, for hours and I will not try to fool anyone, it did hurt my back. Eight or nine hours of standing was too much for me.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities / sports?
A. “I’m not big into recreational activities or sports. Walking and weightlifting is where I get my workouts. But since my surgery I have gone parasailing and speed boat riding. No problems with either.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “I had tried several treatments before surgery: (1). Chiropractic visits, (2) Physical therapy treatments and that included the pool, (3) Resting, per advice from my personal physician. None of these worked. And I mean I actually got worse with the physical therapy visits. I definitely would choose surgery all over again, no doubt about it!”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “Since my surgery was so successful, I can only advise the same for someone in this predicament. Just give yourself plenty of time to recuperate, don’t push too hard or overdo. Give yourself 6 to 12 months to heal. Then enjoy life again.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Dr. Nelson is such a great person. After talking with me for a few minutes, I knew he was a caring and qualified doctor. I felt so safe in his care. My husband agreed. This was the surgeon for me!”

Patient Stories – John


First Name: John
Age: 61
General Occupation: Retail Store Manager
Diagnoses: Lumbar Disc Herniation, Stenosis, Sciatica, L4-5, L5-S1
Type of Surgery: Lumbar Laminotomy/Discectomy, L4-5, L5-S1
Time After Surgery: Five months

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Difficulty in walking, minimal strength in right leg. Pain in right leg and right hip area – difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “I was not able to continue working. I was unable to pursue any athletic activities. I was exhausted from lack of sleep and combating pain.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Immediately after the surgery, the pain was gone.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “I am back. I again enjoy the benefits of good health.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “I returned to work on October 24, 2006 – my surgery was on September 7, 2006.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “Yes, I just returned from a one-week ski vacation at Mammoth – pictures will follow.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “I would not change anything. Surgery allowed me to resume my life.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “Be as clear as possible, when describing your symptoms – ask questions – understand both the possible benefits and the possible downside.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “I felt that Dr. Nelson was concerned about me as a “person” – my MRI did not conclusively confirm a need for surgery, in my case. Dr. Nelson listened to me, and scheduled an additional nerve test, and an operating room for the same day – within three hours from the nerve test, I was in surgery, at Scripps, La Jolla.

I believe that Dr. Nelson’s concerns for my well being got me the surgery I needed. This significantly reduced the length of time I was in pain and prevented further long-term damage.
Thanks, Dr. Nelson!

Patient Stories – Jet


First Name: Jet
Age: 22
General Occupation: Student
Diagnoses: Sciatica, Lumbar Herniated Discs, Stenosis L4-5, L5-S1
Type of Surgery: Lumbar Laminectomy/Discectomy L4-5, L5-S1
Time after Surgery: 18 months

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Extreme sharp pain down the left leg and lower sharp back pain.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “Major impact on my athletic life as well as mental confidence and self esteem.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Refurbished, not quite renewed, but a lot happier and smarter about my body.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “Almost new. a lot better than before.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Yes.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “Most definitely.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “Considering my athletic goals, I would have gone straight to surgery. I would definitely choose surgery again.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “Make sure you understand the cost, time and worth of surgery and if it is important you to get back in the game, I highly recommend.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Honest, comforting, and he “keeps it real.” He truly cared about my athletic goals, told me the risks and possibilities (including negative) that may result from surgery. I preferred his honest and cautious opinion over another doctor who said everything would be “fine.” Dr. Nelson is the most truthful doctor, and I highly recommend and trust his opinions more than any other doctor.”

Patient Stories – June


First Name: June
Age: 40
General Occupation: Office, Warehouse, and Customer Service
Diagnoses: Sciatica, Lumbar Herniated Disc, and Radiculopathy L5-S1
Type of Surgery: Microdiscectomy L5-S1
Time after Surgery: Two years

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Numbness in the right foot and leg and shooting pain.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “It restricted me from doing anything.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “I feel pain-free in my back, but my leg and foot still cramp a lot. (I tried quinine tablets that got rid of the cramps, but disagreed with my system).”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “90% better.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Yes.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “I walk and swim daily and ride a bike. Yes, but very limited; if I do anything strenuous, I feel it in my back the next day (vacuuming, pulling weeds and Pilates).”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “Without knowledge of a better alternative, no and yes. (I would not recommend physical therapy before, they do more harm!).”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating a similar surgical procedure?
A. “If it is only the option to avoid serious and permanent damage, go for it.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Very affable, knowledgeable and showed a lot of patience and compassion. I was lucky to have him as my doctor.”

Patient Stories – Walker


First Name: Walker
Age: 57 years
General Occupation: High School Teacher
Diagnoses: Herniated Disc, Stenosis, Sciatica, Radiculopathy L4-5
Type of Surgery: Laminectomy/Discectomy L4-5
Time after Surgery: Two years

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “For about 10 months prior to my first visit to Dr. Nelson, I’d been experiencing pain in my left hip. Since I fell years before and abused it with poor baseball pitching form, I just thought it was arthritis. On January 7, 2005, I completed my weekly running to home. Once at home I knew something was wrong. For the next month I had very severe pain down my left thigh with aching in the ankle and tingling in the foot. By the time I saw Dr. Nelson, the pain was constant, and I could not stand straight upright.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “I did not miss any days of work, I KNOW I was not as effective or patient as I could/should have been. One weekend in late in January, I got a cold. With each sneeze or cough, it felt like my leg was going to explode.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Now, I have no symptoms. Twice in the past years, I’ve done something to “tweak” my back and have had some pain/muscle contraction in my back. If do too much strenuous physical activity, my toes tingle a bit, which indicates I should have stopped. I have learned the time limits now so that when rarely happens.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “I have to be more careful now than before, but not that much more careful.”
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Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Thanks to my vacation schedule, I missed only two weeks of work during the time of the surgery. I’ve had no problems serious enough to miss work about since.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “Most of my physical activity is on my cross-country ski machine. I can do that just as well as before. I don’t jog anymore, but do “power walks” of 30 to 60 plus minutes at least once/week in addition to the ski machine.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “Dr. Nelson was very conservative in his approach. At my first visit, he prescribed a steroid treatment, which was amazing in its pain relief. Then we tried a sciatic nerve injection. Finally, we went with surgery. I had had L5-S1 fusion as a collegian, so I knew the potential improvement surgery could offer. I was not really hesitant about surgery, and I will do it again if that becomes necessary.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating this similar surgical procedure?
A. “Try the alternatives, but don’t dismiss surgery because of someone else’s misadventures. Listen to what the recommended procedure involves, then ask questions about stuff you don’t understand. The difference in my quality of life before and after surgery can best be described as astonishing.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Dr. Nelson was concerned and honest. He did not push any one agenda. In fact, I suspect he slowed me down in my desire to have surgery. I have recommended him to my friends and will continue to recommend both he and Oasis.”

Patient Stories – Brian


First Name: Brian
Age: 39
Diagnoses: Herniated Disc, Sciatica, Radiculopathy L5-S1
Type of Surgery: Microdiscectomy L5-S1
Time after Surgery: Two and a half years

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Burning pain down left leg with numbness.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “Had to change careers, so something like this is less likely to occur in the future.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “The difference between night and day.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “Same as above.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “Yes had vocational rehab at a computer training school.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “I have started riding my mountain bike, but I am not able to run due to feeling unbalanced and somewhat apprehensive about reinjury.”

Q. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “Seemed as though time was of the essence when I had my injury. I think I made the right choice looking back on it.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating this similar surgical procedure?
A. “I’m sure noninvasive is a viable option now, however, Dr. Nelson is top notch and I needed immediate relief.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Down to earth (easy to talk to)
Concerned (genuinely)
Focused.”

Patient Stories – Mary


First Name: Mary
Age: 43
Diagnoses: Lumbar Herniated Disc, Sciatica, Stenosis, Radiculopathy L5-S1
Type of Surgery: Microdiscectomy L5-S1
Time after Surgery: 22 months

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Severe lower back pain.”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “Was not able to bend down or do anything physical.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Great. Taking things nice and slow.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your pre-surgery condition?
A. “Great and a big difference.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “No.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “Yes only to gym.”

Q. If you had to do it allover again, would you change anything about treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “Yes. I would definitely do the surgery again.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating this similar surgical procedure?
A. “To go ahead and do it, there everyday life will change.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Great and very helpful and full of knowledge.”

Patient Stories – Melissa


First Name: Melissa
Age: 39
Diagnoses: Sciatica, Lumbar Herniated Disc L5-S1
Type of Surgery: Microdiscectomy L5-S1
Time after Surgery: Six months

Q. What symptoms were you experiencing before surgery?
A. “Excruciating pain in my lower back side … leg to my foot … My right butt cheek also hurt a lot …”

Q. What impact did this have on your life?
A. “I could not do anything … I could not sit down or lean over … nothing, everything is painful.”

Q. How are you feeling now after your surgery?
A. “Very good, as if nothing had been wrong.”

Q. How would you compare your current condition with your presurgery condition?
A. “Like as if I went to sleep in pain, and woke up as good as new.”

Q. Have you returned to work/school?
A. “No.”

Q. Have you returned to recreational activities/sports?
A. “Yes.”

Q. If you had to do it allover again, would you change anything about treatment? Would you choose surgery again?
A. “I would choose surgery again.”

Q. What words of advice do you have for someone who may be contemplating this similar surgical procedure?
A. “Go for it, the recovery time is fast and there will be no surprises, because your doctor will tell you everything as it happens.”

Q. How would you describe Dr. Nelson?
A. “Very excellent and professional, he knew what I was going through and understood me … He knows what needed to be done, and did it … very recommendable.”