Back to water skiing and triathlon after minimally invasive surgery at Swift Spine Institute

“I feel great now — no more pain — wish I’d had the minimally invasive surgery at Swift Spine Institute earlier,” Greg exclaims. “I struggled off and on with the sciatica pain for nearly two years.”

Greg is an active husband, father and investment broker. He also enjoys training and competing in triathlons in his free time. “I woke up one day with this pins and needles pain in my left buttock and leg. Even had some tingling in my big toe,” Greg remembers.

Because he had a background in exercise physiology, for the first six weeks he tried stretching and special exercises to try to relieve his sciatica pain. Unfortunately, the symptoms persisted.

Concerned with what was causing his pain and not content with living with the symptoms, Greg made an appointment with a nonsurgical spine specialist. Diagnostics revealed that Greg had spinal stenosis and a lumbar herniated disc at L4-5. The doctor suggested Greg try injection therapy to help relieve the pain caused by his condition.

The goal with injection therapy is to relieve symptoms enough to allow patients to start special exercises which can help change the physiology of the back to make it stronger, more flexible and resistant to injury.

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“I went in for an epidural injection and I felt better at first, but about 10 weeks later the sciatica pain returned.” Because Greg had some temporary relief from the first injection, he returned for several other injections over a period of about a year. But his symptoms always returned and were becoming worse.

“All aspects of my life were affected by the pain, everyday activities like walking and sleeping were difficult,” he reflects. Greg attended physical therapy also but this did not provide lasting pain relief. Physical activities such as cycling and running were severely limited.

Conservative spine treatment options had failed, so Greg decided it was time to learn of other options. Understanding the importance of choosing the best spine surgeon, he sought the opinion of several surgeons.

While one surgeon suggested a traditional multi-level spine surgery, another surgeon suggested a simple spine surgery that may require another surgery in the future.

Greg’s friends ultimately referred him to Dr. James Lynch, a fellowship-trained neurosurgeon at Swift Spine Institute. “I was really impressed with the amount of time Dr. Lynch spent with me. We discussed in detail the minimally invasive spine surgery that would treat my condition. I felt most comfortable with Dr. Lynch’s surgery recommendation and chose him to be my spine surgeon,” Greg says.

Dr. Lynch performed the minimally invasive L4-5 bilateral laminotomies procedure via a one-sided approach with a custom tube retractor and Greg was able to go home the same day. His symptoms were relieved immediately after the surgery. “I felt great after, no more pain. I went to my child’s school program two days later,” Greg remembers. “Other parent’s knew I was having surgery that week and were surprised to see me!”

Greg continues to see improvements in his activity level, he has returned to swimming and looks forward to getting back on his bike this spring. Best of all, after over a year of restless nights, he can sleep through the night again.

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