Mary Bounces Back From Back Pain
to Become a Surgery Spokeswoman
For years Mary suffered from spinal stenosis. The pain originated in four severely compressed nerves and radiated down her legs, making walking nearly impossible. Even with the assistance of a walker, every step was labored, imbalanced and rife with shooting pain.
“The pain got worse over a period of three years,” said Mary. “It was at the point where I couldn’t walk to the end of the block with my dog.”
Desperate for a way to alleviate the pain, Mary went to her primary care provider
, Dr. Oleh Terleckyj
. After evaluating her condition and hearing the extent of her symptoms, he suggested she visit Dr. Daniel Laich
at the Chicago Brain & Spine Institute
“I’m sure there are many excellent surgeons, but the way Dr. Laich took the time to explain everything in a way I could understand is what I am most thankful for,” said Mary. “He wasn’t quick to suggest surgery—which is what I had expected. Instead, he laid out a number of holistic treatments to try first
Under Dr. Laich’s guidance, Mary attended outpatient physical therapy
at Galter LifeCenter
. She also visited a pain doctor
for a series of pain-blocking injections. She spent a year trying these and other holistic options, and while they reduced her pain partially and temporarily, she felt it undoubtable that her condition was continuing to deteriorate. She returned to Dr. Laich for surgical intervention.
“The idea of having spine surgery was very scary to me,” Mary said. “I think a lot of people feel that way. We tend to think of the worst scenario and fixate on that. But the pain was getting to the point where I couldn’t function. It was time to try something new.”
Dr. Laich was soothing in his explanation of the procedure. He said that he would focus on repairing two of the worst pain-causing areas. After that, he would monitor how she was doing to determine if they should go on to do more. The surgery was a success, and in the end Dr. Laich had been able to repair all four of the major pain points in the single procedure.
Mary was ecstatic to hear that everything had gone according to plan, but there was still some work ahead. After recovering from the procedure, she moved into Swedish Hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation unit
for two weeks of intensive therapy.
“I cannot say enough good things about that unit,” said Mary. “Everyone was so kind, caring and dedicated to my rehabilitation. It was hard work, and of course there were times where I was tired and didn’t want to participate in therapy, but they always helped me push through it.”
Just two weeks after surgery, Mary was able to walk assistance free. She had ditched her walker for a simple cane to help her balance or feel more confident, but she admitted it was more of a prop than a support tool.
“Having this surgery changed my life,” Mary said. “I feel so much better than I have for the past three years. I want to tell anyone who is hesitant to have spine surgery to do your research and find the right doctor, be willing to work in recovery, and of course keep a positive mental attitude, because it’s so worth it!”
Daniel T. Laich, D.O.,
is a neurological surgeon and the Chief of Neurological Surgery with nearly twenty-five years of experience. He specializes in non-surgical, minimally invasive surgical (MIS), endoscopic and major reconstructive spine treatments. His pioneering work has helped gain approval for MIS techniques in the United States. He has ongoing interest in motion preservation technologies, including artificial disk replacement and posterior motion preserving instrumentation, and regenerative technologies. Dr. Laich continues to expand his national and international academic, instructional and surgical efforts with interest in closed head injury, nutrition and alternative therapies.
To schedule an appointment with the Chicago Brain & Spine Institute
, please call 773-271-2225
By David Modica | Published January 3, 2019