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"I was walking sideways and now I can stand up straight."
Michelle Bells was in pain. She'd been trying to relieve the severe back pain she had been experiencing for 20 years. Spinal injections, physical therapy, chiropractors ... none of it helped. After an MRI, physical and aquatic therapy was scheduled. But before she could begin, one of her discs slipped.
"My left leg went numb and I had a lot of pain," Michelle said. "But I had been dealing with so much pain for so long that I just walked it off for three days."
Finally, a trip to the Emergency Department at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital and a repeat MRI revealed that a herniated disc had enlarged considerably. J. Brett Fleming, MD, OhioHealth neurosurgeon, presented her with three options: observation followed by a repeat MRI, physical therapy or back surgery. In her particular case, the MRI revealed significant change in her spine.
"We came up with a good treatment plan for her and didn’t waste any time initiating it," said Dr. Fleming.
Two days later, she had back surgery to fuse her L4 and L5 posterior vertebrae. Immediately afterwards, Michelle's leg pain was better and her back pain lessened.
"She was a very motivated young girl," said Dr. Fleming. "She was very eager to get back to her way of life. That kind of patient will always do well in the long-run."
Although Michelle is living with additional bulging discs, her back feels better. "It's not painful like it was before the surgery," she said. "If I keep using it, I have more flexibility."