Revolutionizing Spine Care…Changing Lives

Patient Profile: Celeste Reynolds Gets Her Life Back

“I had lower back pain for years and finally one day I decided to do something about it,” said Celeste Reynolds. “I waited for two years after my surgery to share this information because I really wanted to make sure what I am saying is the truth about the surgeons and staff at Texas Back Institute.”

Thus begins a note from Celeste who came to Texas Back Institute because she couldn’t stand the pain any longer. Her story should be of great interest to anyone who is experiencing chronic back pain.

“As always, surgery is the last option we pursue”

Texas Back Institute surgeon, Dr. Jessica Shellock examined Celeste and she still remembers how much pain this project manager was suffering.


“Her diagnosis was multilevel degenerative disc disease, Dr. Shellock noted. “It’s not actually arthritis per se, since the discs are not joints.

“It is more an acceleration of the normal aging process of the discs that we will all experience over time – some people are more genetically predisposed to accelerated changes and earlier and/or more severe symptoms. It really is more hereditary than anything else,” she said.

“As always, surgery is the last option we pursue,” she said, “But after exhausting every other treatment regimen, on May 16, 2012, we performed the surgery.

“We try our best to do minimal fusions”

With the help of one of the founders of Texas Back Institute, Dr. Richard Guyer, Dr. Shellock performed both a fusion and artificial disc replacement procedure in hopes of eliminating the constant pain Celeste was experiencing. We asked her if this type of surgery is unusual.

“Not really unusual,” she said. “It’s difficult to get insurance carriers to approve these types of constructs (we call it a “hybrid” construct since it involves both fusion and disc replacement), so fusion alone is much more common overall. We completed one artificial disc replacement at L3/L4 and two fusions at L4/L5 and L5/S1.”

“In the setting of a multilevel problem as this, we try our best to do minimal fusion(s) if we can so that we give the patient a better chance of decreased need for future surgery. Since insurance carriers won’t approve multilevel disc replacement and this is often cost-prohibitive for patients to self-pay, we essentially do a compromise between the two options,” she said.

“I’m here to tell you that the best thing I have ever done for myself is getting my back fixed at Texas Back Institute!”

“I can’t explain how freeing this is,” Celeste said. “If I think about it too much, I’d start to cry.”

“Within six months, I was back to walking and moving with no pain,” she proudly said. “I credit the skillful hands of these two doctors for my quick recovery! Dr. Shellock and Guyer are so competent, knowledgeable and skillful and I would recommend them to anyone.”

“I went to physical therapy at Texas Back Institute,” she said. “And I followed the recommendations of the knowledgeable technicians there. The day I was released from the hospital I received one directive – to get up every half hour and walk for five minutes.”

Her lack of back pain has allowed Celeste to travel the world. Since her surgery, she’s created a spreadsheet of all the places she’s gone and it reads like an airport departure screen! Among other cities, she’s traveled to London, Barcelona, San Diego, Honolulu, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Denver and of course walked around her beloved State Fair of Texas!

“Freedom from pain is indescribable”

“Dr. Shellock is a wonderful human being,” Celeste said. “And totally amazing in her work.”

“I’m flattered and humbled by her words,” said Dr. Shellock. “I am so happy that she has done well and is back to all the activities that she hoped to be doing.”

“I think that she represents a combination of the correct surgery for the appropriate indications, a great OR team, and a motivated patient with a wonderful attitude for recovery. It really takes all of these things for this type of success, and when they are present together we can see outcomes like this that can truly give someone back the quality of their life. This is what makes my job enjoyable!”

“Freedom from pain is indescribable,” summed up Celeste. “But it’s reachable through the great doctors and physical therapists at Texas Back Institute. I thank the good Lord I found them!”

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