After successful spine surgery, Kenneth prepares for more adventures

Kenneth is an adrenaline seeker. He has completed ultra distance marathons, 100 – mile bicycle adventures, competed in the Eco-Challenge and has a history of motorcycle and off-road professional racing. While racing motorcycles and off-road cars, Kenneth survived some very dangerous accidents. As the years and adventures went by, Kenneth began noticing numbness in his hands and arms. At first, the numbness was bearable and did not hinder his active lifestyle.

In 2008, Kenneth noticed his numbness symptoms intensifying, to the point of not being able to fully use his hands and arms. Also, a near professional bowler, Kenneth was virtually unable to hold his bowling ball. He was unable to ride his bicycle for more than 15-20 minutes, or drive a car for more than an hour without stopping to get the feeling back into his hands. Kenneth knew something was seriously wrong and sought help from his family practitioner at the University of Nevada Medical Center in January 2009. His doctor ordered x-rays and after observation, prescribed an MRI. Kenneth was soon referred to Fellowship-trained spine surgeon and neurosurgeon Dr. James Lynch of Swift Spine Institute.

While at first Kenneth was skeptical, Dr. Lynch and the Swift Spine Institute team soon put him at ease and answered his questions with knowledge and compassion. Dr. Lynch explained in detail to Kenneth the findings of his x-rays and MRI. He pointed out the damaged areas and described the best way to treat the spine condition. Kenneth’s condition was severe and would require an extensive multilevel reconstructive spine surgery. Dr. Lynch made certain that Kenneth understood the surgery needed and what to expect after surgery.

During surgery, Dr. Lynch performed a four level anterior cervical discectomy with fusion. He removed the damaged discs from C3-C7 and replaced the cavities with 4 graft cages, 1 titanium plate and 12 titanium screws. When a piece of the shock-absorbing disc is removed, the vertebrae structures may become less stable. Consequently, when a disc is removed a surgeon may fuse the vertebrae to prevent instability.

Kenneth’s surgery was performed on February 14, 2009; he spent only two days in the hospital and was then released to recover at home. He scaled back activities for about six weeks then started five weeks of physical therapy directed by the spine-specialized therapists at Swift Spine Institute. Kenneth was prescribed a customized home exercise program to help restore core strength. His routine included core exercises with resistance bands several times a day – exercises that Kenneth still includes in his fitness regimen.

About 10 weeks after his surgery, Kenneth was able to start taking long walks and bicycle rides. In May 2009, Kenneth was able to drive from Denver, CO to Reno, NV, 16 hours straight without experiencing numbness in his hands or arms. In September 2009 he was able to complete the Disneyland Half Marathon, followed by the MS 150 bike ride on the next weekend. Today, Kenneth is feeling great and continuing to improve his fitness level. In 2010, he plans to complete multiple 100 – mile bike rides and an ultra distance run. In order to improve his bowling skills and endurance levels, Kenneth incorporates regular strength training workouts into his schedule.

“Before surgery,” Kenneth notes, “I couldn’t even pick up a bowling ball without pain. Now, I’m back at the lanes, and I’m trying to qualify for the Senior Professional Bowling Association Tour.”

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Swift Institute Specialties
Hand and upper extremity treatment in Reno, Sparks, and Carson City at Swift Institute


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