Patient Success Stories

Spine Surgery - Cervical | Spine Surgery - Lumbar | Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery | Artificial Disc Replacement - Cervical

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Store manager back to work after excruciating back and leg pain

back to activity after spine surgery montana, dr gus varnavasAs a grocery store manager, Jeffrey is used to working long hours with much physical activity during his work week. He started feeling right legpain about a year ago. At first, he chalked it up to his active work day and tried taking anti-inflammatories for pain relief. As time went by, Jeffrey’s pain symptoms remained and he went to his doctor for help. His doctor suggested he try physical therapy for pain relief. The exercises did help some — but his symptoms always returned. Next he tried chiropractic care, which didn’t offer lasting relief either. Jeffrey started having back pain also.

His right leg and back pain worsened considerably near the end of 2011. His symptoms were now interfering with his lifestyle, long hours on the job were becoming more difficult. Jeffrey returned to the chiropractor for an adjustment.

The chiropractor ordered an MRI of his spine and the results showed a bulging disc. The adjustment offered only temporary relief. A week later, Jeffrey was in excruciating pain, he couldn’t stand and was unable to go to work. His chiropractor referred him to Dr. Gus Varnavas, a fellowship-trained neurosurgeon because of his spine specialty.

Jeffrey went for his appointment with Dr. Varnavas. During his appointment the surgeon examined him and viewed his diagnostics. Dr. Varnavas next talked with Jeffrey about the treatment options. A bulging disc with pinched nerve was the cause of Jeffrey’s pain symptoms.

back to activity after spine surgery montana, dr gus varnavas

The spine neurosurgeon talked with him about the minimally invasive spine procedure that could relieve his condition — called the Microscopic Lumbar Discectomy (MLD procedure). Using the MLD procedure, only the damaged portion of the disc is removed. This relieves the pressure on the nerve and results in pain relief. The healthy portion of the disc remains and serves as a vertebral cushion.

Because he had already exhausted nonsurgical care, Jeffrey decided to move forward with the MLD procedure performed by Dr. Varnavas. The neurosurgeon performed the procedure and Jeffrey felt immediate relief from his back pain. Because of the pinched nerve caused by the bulging disc, Jeffrey felt some lingering leg pain after surgery.

Dr. Varnavas referred Jeffrey to a spine specialized physical therapist and he started PT about a month following surgery. During physical therapy, Jeffrey learned special exercises designed to reduce scar tissue from the damaged nerve. Exercise can help increase the flow of blood and nutrients to the nerves. Jeffrey also learned specific exercises that he incorporates into his daily life. In addition to improving muscle strength, the exercises also help relieve stress and tension.

Jeffrey returned to work part-time two weeks after surgery. Today, he is back to normal duty at work and back to many of his normal activities.

Click here to download a pdf of Jeffrey's successful recovery from excruciating back and leg pain.



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Need an Appointment?

Gus Varnavas, MD — at Community Hospital of Anaconda — specializes in the treatment of back and neck pain and strives to help people return to activity. Request an appointment with Dr. Varnavas in his office in Anaconda, MT.