While on the job, Martin fell to the ground after slipping from a ladder and hanging from his left arm for several minutes. Following the accident, Martin noticed pain in the left side of his neck and his left arm. Not long after, he also felt numbness in his left foot.
Martin went to a doctor to be examined, the doctor told him his condition was not serious and prescribed him pain medicine for his symptoms. Martin returned to his job in the maintenance industry, but his symptoms did not go away. Next he went to a chiropractor and the treatment offered some temporary pain relief. Meanwhile, Martin continued to work, though his symptoms allowed him to work only light duty.
Over a period of several years, Martin went to many doctors for many second opinions — but found no lasting relief. He continued to have chiropractic treatment and also tried injection therapy, but neither provided lasting pain relief. Martin was told by an orthopedic surgeon that he would need spine surgery but he wasn’t ready for surgery. He knew others who had failed back surgery. Martin decided to continue with nonsurgical care with hopes that his condition would improve.
Unfortunately, his symptoms worsened; Martin started feeling shooting pain and numbness in his hands. He continued to work as much as he could to help support his family. His chiropractor learned of Dr. Gus Varnavas, a fellowship-trained spine surgeon, and suggested that Martin visit Dr. Varnavas.
Martin scheduled an appointment with Dr. Varnavas who in turn ordered an MRI of his spine. Martin was impressed when Dr. Varnavas brought him back to his office and went over the diagnostic results with him. “Other doctors had not looked at my diagnostics with me,” Martin explains. “Dr. Varnavas pointed out the problem areas in my MRI and helped me understand the surgical treatment needed for my condition.”
Martin was diagnosed with spondylosis without myelopathy and because conservative care had failed over a period of several years, surgery would likely be necessary. Spondylosis occurs when there is degeneration of the spine. Martin was eager to get back to his life without pain and decided to have the surgery performed by Dr. Varnavas.
The spine neurosurgeon performed an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at C5-C7 and the surgery was successful. Martin immediately felt better after surgery and no longer had numbness symptoms. He was walking the next day and relieved to sleep laying down again. Dr. Varnavas referred Martin to a spine specialized physical therapist to help him learn special exercises with the goal of improving muscle strength in his core and legs. Today, Martin is happy to be pain free and looks forward to returning to work soon.
Click here to download a pdf of how Dr. Varnavas helped Martin return to activity after a painful spine condition.
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