Patient Stories

Success Stories – There Is Hope for You

If you’ve been dealing with back pain or neck pain for any length of time, you need reassurance that life can actually be good again. The best place to get that reassurance is from people who have been where you are now and, more importantly, have come out the other side, back into the land of the living. If you’re facing a surgical (or non-surgical) treatment option, these patient testimonials are a great source of comfort and encouragement for your situation. Texas Back Institute wants to see your testimonial here one day too, giving hope to others who may have given up.

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Patients

SI Joint Fusion – Cara Strickland

After Neck Surgery – Jim Yakubovsky

Back Surgery – Felix Gonzolez, Jr.

Artificial Disc Replacement – Carlos Bido

Artificial Disc Replacement – Alex Fender

Artificial Disc Replacement – Aaron Davis

Robotic Spine Surgery – Tressa Scott

Laminectomy – Ken McGinty

Spinal Cord Stimulator – Thomas Peoples

SI Joint Fusion – Wanda

Spine Surgery – Robbin Hallford

360 Fusion – Henry Contreras

Artificial Disc Replacement – Carlos Bido

Artificial Disc Replacement – Donnie Wood

Scoliosis – Nikki Miller

Laminectomy – Laura Hughes

Discectomy – Ryan Lovelace

Spinal Cord Stimulator – Denys Kendall

CLICK ON THE CONDITION TO READ TESTIMONIES

Chronic Pain

Theresa Hesse

Testimonials – Chronic Back Pain

In May of 1992, Theresa Hesse’s life came to a painful halt when she injured her back while trying to place a piece of luggage under a passenger’s seat. Theresa was a flight attendant and the mother of a two-year-old daughter, which gave her a very active lifestyle. After her injury, she could no longer enjoy activities such as skiing, biking or riding on roller coasters with her daughter. “The pain was terrible. It radiated down my right leg, and my lower back was in extreme pain,” she said. “I could barely move.”

Before coming to Texas Back Institute, Theresa sought the advice of her employer’s doctor and began physical therapy. However, it only intensified her back pain. “I was told nothing could be done for me, and I would have to live with the pain.”

Six months later, a colleague referred Theresa to Dr. Cable at the Texas Back Institute, and began hydrotherapy and “work hardening,” which is a technique used to help an employee readjust to a job’s physical demands. “Dr. Cable was concerned for me, and he helped me fight worker’s compensation for treatment.”

Theresa underwent her first fusion and a hardwire removal in 1995 and, finally, a 360-degree fusion in 1996. “It truly helped me walk again,” she said. In 2006, Theresa went through Texas Back Institute’s CoPE program, which helps patients learn emotional control and pain-coping strategies. “The CoPE program changed me,” she said. “I still have some pain, but I have ways to fight it more effectively now.”

“My back is not healed, but I do have a great future ahead of me,” she said. “I’m active in my children’s lives, all their activities, and I started a peer support group for patients suffering from chronic back pain. Now I find joy in every day, because I know I have something to live for, not just something to live with.”

 

Terry Marek

Testimonials – Chronic Back Pain

Terry Marek injured her back in 1994 and began treatment with Texas Back Institute (TBI) in 1995. Terry was treated with various non-surgical treatments before considering different surgical options, including a 360° lumbar fusion and a spinal cord stimulator.

When her doctor at TBI referred her to CoPE (Conquering Pain Effectively), a chronic pain management program, she was less than enthusiastic about attending. Terry has neuropathy and numbness in her feet, which makes driving very difficult. “I wasn’t sure I would even be able to drive myself to and from Plano, and the thought of working out in a gym twice a day frightened me,” she said. “I didn’t know what that entailed.” Terry was concerned about the impact the exercise would have on her other medical conditions, which increased her anxiety about the CoPE program.

A good part of her days before CoPE was spent between her bed and her recliner. “I have not worked since October 2006, and have been living off of my Social Security Disability and State of Texas Disability Retirement. To me the CoPE program was frightening, since it would mean another change in my lifestyle,” she said.

After much persuasion from Dr. Andrew Block and his team, Terry agreed to attend CoPE in January 2008. She was less than thrilled to be there, since she didn’t see how “sitting around in a classroom talking to a bunch of strangers” was going to help her.

On her first day, Terry asked one of the counselors if one of them or one of the doctors had undergone back surgery and might really understand how she felt and what she was going through. The answer was yes.

By the end of the first week, Terry started coming around. “These ‘strangers’ were becoming my friends, and they knew exactly how I felt and what I was going through,” she said. In the gym, there were stretches and exercises tailored just for her and her problems. “It didn’t take me long to figure out that the staff really cared about me,” Terry said. “What I liked the most was how all the staff was on the same page; they worked together toward a common goal.”

Terry’s family and friends noticed a difference in just the first weekend she was home. Her stamina had improved dramatically, as had her frame of mind. “My pain level was down, and my other health problems had actually gone away,” she said. “I would recommend the program to anyone. Give it a chance! You get out of it what you put into it. I kept telling the staff I wanted to graduate in three weeks. Truth is, I would have stayed another two weeks!”

Degenerative Disc Disease

Harrell Glenn Alexander

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease 

When Harrell Glenn Alexander started having back pain at the age of 33, he thought it was just a product of getting older. He spent the next two years treating the pain with steroid injections, massages and physical therapy. Yet Harrell continued to experience days and nights when he could not function as a result of his pain. By the time he started living on pain pills, couldn’t tie his shoes and had trouble getting his legs into bed, Harrell decided to put his wife’s research to use and called Texas Back Institute.

Harrell was to the point where he “was willing to do anything” when he met Dr. Guyer in September 2000. Suffering from degenerative disc disease, Harrell had his first surgery, the Charité artificial disc replacement. Eight years later, another disc in Harrell’s back was failing, so in January 2008, Dr. Guyer performed the second surgery to fix his L4 disc. After a “relatively easy” recovery process for both surgeries, Harrell is a changed man. Even his wife noticed the difference – the pained look on his face was gone. Everyday chores like brushing his teeth and tying his shoes were now simple tasks.

At 33 years old, Harrell had “no life whatsoever,” yet on August 24, 2008, only seven months after his second surgery, he participated in the Hotter ‘N Hell Hundred, a 100-mile bike ride in Wichita Falls, Texas. He finished the race in seven hours, 51 minutes.

He couldn’t even ride bikes before his surgeries, but in 2008, Harrell biked more than 1,500 miles in 2008 thanks to Dr. Guyer and the team at Texas Back Institute. And not only is Harrell riding bikes, he is also riding horses, something he never could have done 10 years ago.

Harrell recommends Dr. Guyer and Texas Back Institute because they consider the least invasive treatments first, and they “listen, hear concerns and explain everything that goes on.” But more important, he says, “They changed my life and our lives.”

 

Audelia Beatty

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

For months, Audelia Beatty was living with back pain so intense that it kept her up at night. Her doctors treated her with injections and physical therapy, but that only temporarily relieved Audelia’s misery.

Despite four doctors’ efforts, Audelia’s condition worsened to the point where she had to resort to draping herself over her bed to sleep. That’s when enough was enough, and she made an appointment at the Texas Back Institute with Dr. Rey Bosita. Diagnosed with sciatic nerve compression and degenerative disc disease, Audelia knew, as did Dr. Bosita, that surgery was her only option for a full recovery.

After a successful surgery, Audelia was home recovering the next day, rarely taking pain medication. For her, being able to walk again without pain, and having the ability to take part in everyday activities, has been life-changing. “The Texas Back Institute team was wonderful. Everyone treated me as an individual, not as a patient,” Audelia says. “My advice for anyone with back pain – do injections first. But if that doesn’t work and your life is as bad as mine was, have surgery at Texas Back Institute.” Now, Audelia has her life back and is able to sleep in a regular, horizontal position.

 

Tara Best

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

Ever since Tara Best could remember, she’d always had general back pain. But as Tara grew toward adulthood, it was discovered that her pain was caused by scoliosis. Since the curvature in her spine was slight, her doctors decided to only monitor her condition and didn’t take immediate action. When Tara reached her mid-20s, her pain worsened, and she learned that two discs in her back had degenerated.

Knowing she needed immediate help, and based on her mother’s good experience at Texas Back Institute (TBI), Tara began seeing Dr. Barton Sachs. Because TBI is a conservative spine clinic, Dr. Sachs considered alternatives other than surgery to ease her pain. Tara underwent physical therapy and received three rounds of cortisone injections, but this treatment regimen did not help her condition.

Tara’s 12-hour shifts as a hospital nurse were taking a greater and greater toll on her physically. In addition, after her initial treatments at TBI, Tara got married and looked forward to someday having children. Dr. Sachs advised her that she could have a baby, but probably would have to be bedridden for much of her pregnancy. Tara also knew the pain in her back would make it difficult to deal with the physical demands of motherhood. After speaking further with Dr. Sachs and her husband, she knew surgery was the best way to establish a better quality of life.

In December 2005, Tara had surgery and was surprised by the immediate pain relief. She had been deeply afraid that the surgery would be ineffective or, worse, cause more damage – but Tara healed so quickly that she went home after only five days in the hospital. She recovered at home for eight weeks and engaged in physical therapy to strengthen her back.

Six months later, Tara found out she was pregnant. She was thrilled that she could enjoy a trouble-free pregnancy without worrying about the physical requirements of motherhood. She was very pleased with Dr. Sachs and the staff at TBI, and has even recommended the surgery and the clinic to other people she has met in her physical therapy classes.

“I’m so happy I underwent the surgery and worked with TBI,” she said. “It was the best decision I have ever made.”

 

Marney Edwards

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

After suffering from back pain for 10 years, Marney Edwards cold-called the receptionist at Texas Back Institute in hopes of finding some answers. Previously, Marney visited four to five back specialists, underwent two back surgeries, and endured physical and chiropractic therapy, acupuncture and injections to control his pain. Despite all the treatments, he still had trouble playing with his young children and even brushing his teeth. As soon as Marney read about Texas Back Institute on the Internet and heard high praise for the Institute from a doctor in Austin, Texas, he knew it was time to make the call.

While he was “scared to death” about treating his degenerative disc disease and collapsing disc with another surgery, Marney realized that it would be the best option for his health after meeting with Dr. Blumenthal at Texas Back Institute. Unlike Marney’s previous doctors, Dr. Blumenthal told Marney that fusion would not be the next step if the surgery were unsuccessful.

In December 2008, Marney underwent the operation to repair his collapsing disc. He was walking around the nurse’s station on the same day of his procedure with only some pain, and Marney now feels so fantastic that he wishes he had undergone the surgery five years earlier.

Marney says that Dr. Blumenthal and the other skilled professionals finally made sense of the rumors and misinformation about back pain, gave him the true story, and made his surgical experience the “easiest” and most “well done” he’s seen. Texas Back Institute gave Marney the “dramatic change” that has allowed him to play with his children, take up golf again and travel.

 

David Erkin

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

For seven years, David Erkin lived with back pain that disabled his life. Simple tasks that used to require almost no effort were now obstacles for David. Just bending over to lift an object became a struggle for him. David knew something needed to be done when he went from living a very active lifestyle to only being able to stand for 5-10 minutes at a time. Finally, in 1998, David traveled from McAlester, Oklahoma, to visit the Texas Back Institute.

David was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease at the age of 29 and immediately began physical therapy along with anti-inflammatory and steroid shots. Nothing eased his pain. After exploring every other alternative, David decided it was time to consider surgery.

On January 31, 2006, Dr. Blumenthal performed a Charité artificial disk replacement on David. “I was scared to have surgery and make things worse, or even become permanently disabled,” he said. His surgery was a success, and in 24 hours he was on his way back to Oklahoma.

It has been two years since David had his surgery, and he continues to grow stronger each day that passes. Incredibly, some days he forgets he ever had surgery, or even back problems for that matter. “My recovery was nothing short of a miracle, to me at least. After living essentially disabled for so many years, Dr. Blumenthal gave me my life back!” he said. “I now live completely unrestricted with a very active lifestyle — 100% pain-free.”

David has no reservations in recommending Dr. Blumenthal, Texas Back Institute or the Charité disk. As he says, “I’m living proof that it works.”

 

Christine Goff

Testimonials -Degenerative Disc Disease

In February 1996, a drunk driver hit Christine Goff while she was eight weeks pregnant. Thirty-nine-year-old Christine was traveling on Interstate 35 when the driver T-boned her at a high speed, causing her Jeep to rotate 360 degrees. While she was fortunate to survive the crash, Christine suffered from a severe lower back injury.

Before coming to Texas Back Institute, Christine had to undergo two discectomy procedures and multiple injections. Despite the procedures, she continued to have back pain. Wanting to discover alternative treatments for her injury, Christine visited Texas Back Institute. After careful diagnosis, Christine underwent surgery for a Charité artificial disc replacement. Unlike her previous treatments, Christine began to feel more like herself within four weeks.

Today, Christine is still pain-free and says she feels as though her life is finally back to normal. She can now do everyday activities, such as regular exercise, that she could not do for the past 10 years because of her back pain.

Christine says the Texas Back Institute was “a life-changing experience. I would tell everyone about Texas Back Institute – because, thanks to them, I finally have no more pain.”

 

Darla Leonard

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

Since high school, Darla Leonard could remember suffering from back pain. But after a few days of rest supplemented by medication, she was soon back to normal and able to resume her everyday activities. As she got older, however, it took longer and longer for her to recover from the pain; she realized her affliction was serious. In 1995, Darla was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, a disorder also suffered by her mother and grandmother. As her condition worsened, Darla had to analyze every movement to avoid any lingering back injuries.

Around the time of her diagnosis, Darla consulted with different doctors. They prescribed muscle relaxers and cortisone injections, but that didn’t ease her distress. One doctor recommended a procedure that would clip the nerves around her deteriorating disc. But that would only dull or eliminate the pain, not correct the underlying problem. Darla’s back trouble continued to affect her quality of life and relationships. After giving birth to her daughter in 1998, Darla found that she could not carry her child for fear of contributing to her condition. As her spinal disc continued to degenerate, her back worsened and she began to drag her right foot slightly as she walked. The pain in Darla’s back was so severe, she felt that if she waited any longer she would lose her ability to walk.

Eventually, Darla heard about Texas Back Institute from a friend, and in 2001 she began working with Dr. Richard Guyer. He suggested the Charité artificial disc procedure, which was still being evaluated for approval in the United States. Fearing that she may be ineligible for the disc in the United States, Darla considered undergoing the surgery in France or Germany, where the procedure had been performed successfully for more than a decade.

Darla did qualify for the United States clinical trial. In November 2001, she received the artificial disc and was surprised by the immediate effects of a pain-free existence. Three weeks after the surgery, Darla was able to go back to work with the help of a back brace. Five months later, she was free of the brace and able to get back to the quality of life she once knew.

Darla said she would recommend Texas Back Institute’s medical team and staff to all her friends and family. “I’m a kid again, and I live my life to its fullest.” she says. “I’m living a pain-free, happy, energetic life.”

 

Laura Maddox

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

Dealing with back pain was nothing new for Laura Maddox. Laura suffered from lower back pain since giving birth to her only child in 1985, and the pain steadily worsened over the years. Eventually, stretching exercises prescribed by her primary care physician were not enough, and Laura decided to see Dr. Craig Lankford at Texas Back Institute.

Dr. Lankford diagnosed Laura with degenerative disc disease. She then started physical therapy, a course of oral steroids and anti-inflammatory medications, and even a round of epidural steroid injections. After exhausting non-surgical options, Laura knew that surgery was her only treatment option that could lessen her pain, and she scheduled an appointment with Texas Back Institute’s Dr. Rey Bosita.

Laura was concerned she would “still have pain after the surgery” and even worried about not being able to perform her home or work duties. But with a long life ahead of her, Laura was confident that Dr. Bosita was her best option to help her get her life back. After her spinal fusion surgery, Laura knew something was different almost immediately: her pain was gone!

“My surgery was very successful,” Laura says. “I didn’t have to take any pain meds after I left the hospital.” Laura was out of work for six weeks and was able to return to full duty as an accountant.

Laura will continue exercising to keep her back strong and pain-free. She is now able to fully enjoy her family, and she looks forward to playing with her future grandchildren—all things she wasn’t sure she would ever do before her spine surgery. Laura is very grateful and recommends Texas Back Institute because everyone was “so helpful and caring.” She suggests, “If your pain is affecting your daily life, it’s time to consider Texas Back Institute.”

 

Mary Morse

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

From exploring the jungles of Nicaragua to climbing the Andes Mountains, Mary Morse has seen many places and things throughout her 57 years. She’s always loved to be adventurous, even after she underwent a spinal fusion in 1983 to treat back pain that she had experienced for most of her life. But when that fusion caused a disc in her back to suddenly rupture in 2002, it became increasingly difficult for her to maintain an active lifestyle. She reached her breaking point when she couldn’t keep up with her travel partner and aunt, who was in her 80s.

Mary initially chose to avoid surgery and take cortisone shots instead, but four months later there was still no progress in her health. Eventually, she could not even bend over to brush her teeth or catch herself before falling – let alone go on exotic vacations – because her lower back muscles were too weak. Mary knew it was time to take more serious measures to get back to the adventurous lifestyle she once had.

Mary didn’t want another fusion, so she conducted numerous consultations with back specialists to determine alternatives. After many doctors recommended Texas Back Institute, she discussed the Charité artificial disc procedure with orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist Dr. Rey Bosita and decided it was her best option.

Mary underwent surgery in January 2006 and was surprised by the immediate effects in comparison with the fusion procedure she underwent previously, which had taken a year to heal. Just two weeks after the disc replacement, Mary was again able to conduct her everyday activities, and after four weeks, she was living her life to the fullest. As an avid thrillseeker, Mary says she’s happy to experience her quality of life once again and plans to keep going well into the future – free of back pain. Her “normal” activities still include skydiving, kayaking and mountain climbing.

“I can now enjoy my favorite activities well into my 80s; I feel like I’m 20 again.”

Mary has already recommended Dr. Bosita and the staff of Texas Back Institute to all her friends who are experiencing back pain. In fact, Mary is so pleased with her treatment and recovery that she sent Dr. Bosita a collage of photos from her many expeditions, including a trek to the top of Machu Picchu.

 

James Ramsaur

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

For a park director and serious mountain biker like James Ramsaur, back pain was not an option. Since 1989, he has been biking through the mountains and participating in races, and he was even featured in the national publication Mountain Bike. But all of it came to a screeching halt in October of 2004 when James was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease.

James first went to see a doctor close to his home in Louisiana, but the doctor was unable to solve his back problems, which were becoming increasingly more painful. James tried physical therapy, along with pain medication, in an attempt to avoid going under the knife. “I feared that surgery might not be the answer and it might not solve my problems.” Eventually, James came to Texas Back Institute and met with Dr. Blumenthal. It became apparent that the only way James was going to get relief in his back was to have an artificial disc replacement. On Thanksgiving Day, 2007, James had something to be thankful for. He had his surgery. “The surgery was an absolute success! They solved my back problems.”

James is back to biking again, and plans to get back in “racing shape.” To him, that means riding 150-200 miles per week. He also plans on entering races again. “One of my goals is to win the 40-99, an expert class for the Texas Fall Cup Series.”

James has already recommended Texas Back Institute to others with back pain, but he also encourages people to try conservative treatment options first.

 

Kyle Spooner

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

Most people don’t expect to deal with chronic back pain in their early 30s, but as a new father, Kyle Spooner found that he couldn’t even bend down to pick up his infant twins. Kyle had injured himself at age 29 while moving a garden fountain at home, and after 18 months of trying physical therapy, cortisone shots and acupuncture, he still had to use pain medication to get through his days. He had already cut back on socializing and weekend golfing, and the birth of his twins made him decide that a life in pain is no way to live.

His father was a former Texas Back Institute (TBI) patient who had a great experience with TBI, so Kyle asked his own doctor for a referral. Kyle was eligible to participate in TBI’s clinical trial of the Charité artificial disc being evaluated for approval in the United States. Kyle discussed the trial with orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Scott Blumenthal, studied the technology (already used successfully in Europe) and decided it was his best option for optimal relief.

Kyle became the first Charité disc patient in the United States, undergoing surgery in March 2000. He felt immediate relief. After only three days in the hospital, he recovered at home and was back at work in two weeks. Best of all, he was able to pick up his six-month-old twins. For the past seven years – during which the Charité disc was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – Kyle has been skiing, golfing and experiencing the same quality of life he had before his injury.

Kyle credits Dr. Blumenthal and TBI, and he recommends them to anyone experiencing back pain. “I’m a 100% believer in TBI,” he said. “The surgery has done wonders for me – it was very much a life-changing event.”

 

Lisa Walker

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

Up to 80% of people in the United States are affected by back pain at some point in their lives, but what they may not know is that leg pain can be an indication of a serious back problem. Activities such as standing, sitting or lying down become painful for people as a result of their back injury.

For 43-year-old Lisa Walker, leg pain was how she discovered she had a back injury. Her pain began as a severe bilateral pain in her leg, then gradually moved up to her lower back. At that point, Lisa had enough and decided to find out what was causing her discomfort.

Lisa went to Texas Back Institute to meet Dr. Blumenthal in October 2007 and quickly began physical therapy and spinal injections. When those alternatives did not treat Lisa’s pain, her doctor recommended surgery. Lisa had no reservations about having the surgery, because she had complete faith in Texas Back Institute and their staff. Dr. Scott Blumenthal performed an artificial disc replacement and a spinal fusion. Both Lisa’s surgery and her recovery were “smooth sailing,” as she said. She was only in the hospital 24 hours following the surgery, and her recovery was quick.

To Lisa Walker, Texas Back Institute was her “one-stop-shop” for all of her back problems. She attributes her success to Dr. Blumenthal and his supportive staff who helped her every step of the way. Her advice to people hesitant to seek treatment is: “Do it. You’ll wonder why you waited.”

 

Rachel Zimmer

Testimonials – Degenerative Disc Disease

A life coach and parent consultant, Rachel Zimmer was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease as a result of a head-on collision. Rachel was 27 when she had the accident, and she began suffering from extreme lower back pain and numbness as a result. Every part of Rachel’s life was a struggle, and she can remember gritting her teeth throughout the day because her pain continued to intensify. After her cortisone injections began to fail, Rachel was told she would have to undergo a spinal fusion. It was that news that encouraged her to see Dr. Blumenthal at Texas Back Institute.

“The Texas Back Institute was so thorough – they covered every aspect of how my accident did – and would – affect me,” she said. “They were so caring and supportive.”

In December 1995, Rachel had two Charité artificial discs placed in her back. She was in the hospital for two days, and then stayed an additional five days in a nearby hotel before flying home.

After three months of physical therapy, Rachel has made a complete recovery. “My recovery was amazingly easy, and there was absolutely no back pain,” she said.

Rachel is now back to playing with her kids, holding them and being active. She is even enjoying being able to exercise again. “Living with chronic back pain is miserable, and up until recently, the options haven’t been good,” she said. “Now, with the new technology, I would encourage people not to be afraid, and tell them it can truly get better,” she said.

Rachel has already recommended Texas Back Institute to a friend who is having his surgery with Dr. Blumenthal. She told him, “It was totally worth it.”

Herniated Disc

Mary Arnold

Testimonials – Herniated Disc treated with Lumbar Disc Replacement

Chronic back pain can often leave a person feeling helpless and hopeless. After six years of living in excruciating pain, that’s just how Mary Arnold felt. A young mother, she couldn’t care for and play with her daughter the way she wanted to because of debilitating back pain and agonizing muscle spasms.

Diagnosed with a herniated disk, Mary tried to find solutions to her pain. After visiting multiple doctors and specialists over six years with unsatisfying results, Mary set up an appointment with Dr. Scott Blumenthal at Texas Back Institute. She voiced her concerns about using fusion to treat her herniated disk, which she originally was told by a referring doctor would solve her pain, and Dr. Blumenthal agreed that lumbar disc replacement would be the most effective way to treat Mary’s spinal condition.

Comforted and reassured by Dr. Blumenthal, Mary headed into surgery. Within days, she was feeling great relief, even surpassing the expectations of her physical therapist at Texas Back Institute. Since her surgery, Mary has been able to get her life back, be a mom, take care of her family, and travel – one of her favorite hobbies.

“It has greatly changed my life in just 13 months. For years I prayed to God to heal me because the pain was so intense, and now, I am thankful and grateful to Dr. Blumenthal and Texas Back Institute for their dedication to helping people with a debilitating condition,” Mary says.

 

Kelli Cough

Testimonials – Herniated Disc and Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

Walking around the neighborhood with her children, dancing, working out and sleeping without the use of pain pills are all things Kelli Cough is able to do today because of Dr. Renato Bosita and the staff at Texas Back Institute (TBI).

In February 2004, when Kelli was only 27, her life was turned upside down when she was involved in a major car accident. “I started having a lot of pain, stiffness, decreased movement of my neck and arms, and a lot of aching, which eventually led to numbness,” said Cough. Kelli received her first diagnosis in October 2004. She had cervical spondylosis without a myopathy disc at C6-C7, which was pinching the C7 spinal nerve.

To see the problem more closely, Kelli had X-rays taken and an MRI. She tried hot and cold compressions, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. She went to see an orthopedic surgeon, two pain management specialists and a neurologist. Then, Kelli went to Texas Back Institute, where she saw Dr. Bosita. “The individual care and attention I received at TBI was the best part of my visit,” she said. “Dr. Bosita was the first doctor to actually sit down and talk to me like an equal, listen to my story, ask questions to get to know my history and to just be a friend.”

Kelli continued her physical therapy at Texas Back Institute, along with added shoulder injections and epidural steroid injections. When her pain was still not improving enough, surgery became the only alternative. In June 2007, at the age of 30, Kelli had the artificial disc replacement surgery. “I was afraid of going under general anesthesia and scared that I would feel worse after having the surgery,” she said.

Despite her fears, Kelli’s surgery went smoothly. Immediately following the surgery, however, recovery was very difficult, and she took pain medications to help “soften the blow.” Then, after two weeks, Kelli began to rapidly recover. She experienced a large increase in her movement, less pain and feeling better overall.

“I am so grateful to the entire staff at Texas Back Institute, especially Dr. Bosita,” she said. “He had the courage to perform an amazing surgery because he knew it would help improve the quality of my life. I thank him for giving me my life back.”

 

Jill Efrussy

Testimonials – Herniated Disc and Discectomy

As a sophomore in college and lifelong soccer player, Jill Efrussy felt like she was running a marathon every day, but she wasn’t. She was suffering from a herniated disc that was pressing against her sciatic nerve. “I had always been active and was used to sore muscles, but this was a whole new level of hurting. It felt like someone had a hammer and was banging it up and down my legs and on my back.”

After trying over-the-counter pain medication and physical therapy, Jill made an appointment with Dr. Jack Zigler at the Texas Back Institute. Dr. Zigler told her that a discectomy to remove the herniated portion of her spinal disc would lessen, if not completely relieve, her pain. Tired of feeling “completely out of control” of her body, Jill scheduled her surgery date for August of 2000.

“I was showered in care at the hospital. I had to look at my incision just to make sure I really had surgery, because I was never in pain.”

Living life to the fullest and pain free for nearly nine years, Jill was back on the field doing what she loved, playing soccer. But in January 2009, Jill was kicked in the back during a soccer game. Instantly, she knew her back pain was back. “My first surgery provided relief for so long that I was actually relieved when I was diagnosed to have it a second time around. I knew surgery would work and be worth it.”

After her second discectomy, Jill is pain-free once again and encourages others to have a Texas Back Institute physician diagnose their back pain. “You don’t have to live in pain. Many people have back pain, but that’s no reason to ignore yours. There is a finish line, and that line is where your life goes from ‘pause’ back to ‘play.’”

 

Robin Viator

Testimonials – Herniated Disc and Artificial Disc Replacement

When Robin Viator was a teenager, she was active in athletics and was even a cheerleader on her high school squad in Berwick, Louisiana. But at the age of 19, she began to experience back pain. The pain continued to increase and just wouldn’t go away. At the age of 22, Robin was diagnosed with a severe herniation of her L5-S1 vertebral disc.

Sharp pains shot through her low back and radiated down her right leg, all the way down to her foot. “It felt like someone was stabbing me over and over again,” she said.

After the birth of her second child in August 2000, the pain increased greatly. Sleepless nights followed, and her job as a schoolteacher worsened the pain, since she stood most of the day. Robin’s physician tried to ease her pain through steroid injections and physical therapy, but she found no relief.

She then received a recommendation from her doctor to try a microdiscectomy to remove the bulging section of the disc. She had the surgery on June 12, 2001, and for one week enjoyed life without pain. But the pain returned quickly, and Robin began to research additional options for relief. She developed a “suck it up and move on” mentality for almost eight years. Robin limited her activities to reduce the chance of irritating her condition, and missed out on many things she wished to do with her three small children. Her pain medication caused various side effects, including fatigue, making her “tired all the time.”

In 2007, Robin moved to Texas and was referred to the Texas Back Institute, where she began treatment with Dr. Sidney Berstein. After further conservative care treatment failed to provide her with relief, she applied to the Activ-L artificial disc clinical trial with Dr. Scott Blumenthal. Robin was accepted, and at 30 years old she had surgery for an artificial disc replacement on May 16, 2008.

Robin was pleased that her recovery took less than time than she anticipated. “My recovery went far better than I expected. I was amazed at how quickly I healed and was back to normal activities. I was walking around only three hours after my surgery and released from the hospital the next morning. I was relatively pain-free after the first couple days.”

Six months after her surgery, for the first time since she was 19, she was able to do the “fun” activities that she’d only dreamed of before. She even went skydiving for the first time and is now able to ride horses without fear of pain.

“After the surgery, people kept telling me that I looked like a different person,” she said. “Before, they could see the pain and fatigue on my face. I couldn’t sleep because of the pain. Not anymore!”

Robin suggests “doing the research” and talking to your physician about your condition. “I was previously not aware of the artificial disc studies and might have missed out on the opportunity.” In fact, she’s recommended Texas Back Institute and the artificial disc replacement to a colleague and family members.

“It can be scary to make the ultimate decision to have surgery, but if you are informed and have the right expectations, you will be amazed at the relief these options can give you,” she goes on to say. “I’ve already recommended it to others.”

Robin now enjoys exercising, vacationing, activities with her children, adventure sports, and having a full night’s sleep. “I used to feel like I was trapped in a body twice my age; now I feel like I’m 25! I tell everyone how amazing TBI is!”

Deanie Whitley

Testimonials – Herniated Disc and Laminectomy/Discectomy Surgery

A massage can help people relax, relieve aches and pains in the body and remove the stress of everyday life. However, for licensed massage therapist Deanie Whitley, no massage could alleviate her pain.

For eight years Deanie endured chronic back pain. She continued to work, even though that meant standing for hours at a time and having to lean over people as she used her hands to heal their pain. All the while, Deanie’s pain was worsening. In her bed on January 6, 2008, her back finally snapped. Deanie had merely rolled over when she heard a loud pop. Within an hour, her pain had intensified to the point of agony. She took some pain medication, but it provided only temporary relief.

Deanie went to Texas Back Institute (TBI) and met with Dr. Michael Hisey. He decided to start with the least invasive treatment and then move to more invasive treatments only if necessary. Deanie received spinal injections and started physical therapy. As time passed, her back pain was still not improving, so she decided to have laminectomy/discectomy surgery. When she decided to have surgery, she naturally had some concerns. She worried that something could go wrong on the table or that they might discover that her problem was even worse than predicted. But Deanie’s concerns were washed away after 10 a.m. February 26. “The surgery went textbook, thanks to Dr. Hisey’s healing hands and knowledge,” she said. Deanie was up walking around one hour after her surgery, and she spent only one night in the hospital.

The healing process began and she returned home. Deanie described her recovery as “excellent, but slow.” Everything went as smoothly as could be expected, but it took time before she could fully return to normal.

She is now experiencing real sleep and more days filled with smiles rather than tears. “I feel blessed there are Dr. Hiseys and TBIs out there to care for us,” she said. “We live in a remarkable world with healing and compassion, so make sure you allow people to care for you and are always thankful for it.”

Deanie’s advice to people with back pain who are hesitating to seek help is, “Please don’t wait – there’s no need to hurt. Find a doctor you connect with and trust. Recovery can happen.”

Nerve Compression

Audelia Beatty

Testimonials – Nerve Compression – Surgical Relief

For months, Audelia Beatty was living with chronic back pain so intense that it kept her up at night. Her doctors treated her with injections and physical therapy, but that only temporarily relieved Audelia’s misery.

Despite four doctors’ efforts, Audelia’s condition worsened to the point where she had to resort to draping herself over her bed to sleep. That’s when enough was enough, and she made an appointment at the Texas Back Institute with Dr. Rey Bosita. Diagnosed with sciatic nerve compression and degenerative disc disease, Audelia knew, as did Dr. Bosita, that surgery was her only option for a full recovery.

After a successful surgery, Audelia was home recovering the next day, rarely taking pain medication. For her, being able to walk again without pain, and having the ability to take part in everyday activities, has been life-changing. “The Texas Back Institute team was wonderful. Everyone treated me as an individual, not as a patient,” Audelia says. “My advice for anyone with back pain – do injections first. But if that doesn’t work and your life is as bad as mine was, have surgery at Texas Back Institute.” Now, Audelia has her life back and is able to sleep in a regular, horizontal position.

Scoliosis

Tara Best

Testimonials – Scoliosis

Ever since Tara Best could remember, she’d always had general back pain. But as Tara grew toward adulthood, it was discovered that her pain was caused by scoliosis. Since the curvature in her spine was slight, her doctors decided to only monitor her condition and didn’t take immediate action. When Tara reached her mid-20s, her pain worsened, and she learned that two discs in her back had degenerated.

Knowing she needed immediate help, and based on her mother’s good experience at Texas Back Institute (TBI), Tara began seeing Dr. Barton Sachs. Because TBI is a conservative spine clinic, Dr. Sachs considered alternatives other than surgery to ease her pain. Tara underwent physical therapy and received three rounds of cortisone injections, but this treatment regimen did not help her condition.

Tara’s 12-hour shifts as a hospital nurse were taking a greater and greater toll on her physically. In addition, after her initial treatments at TBI, Tara got married and looked forward to someday having children. Dr. Sachs advised her that she could have a baby, but probably would have to be bedridden for much of her pregnancy. Tara also knew the pain in her back would make it difficult to deal with the physical demands of motherhood. After speaking further with Dr. Sachs and her husband, she knew surgery was the best way to establish a better quality of life.

In December 2005, Tara had surgery and was surprised by the immediate pain relief. She had been deeply afraid that the surgery would be ineffective or, worse, cause more damage – but Tara healed so quickly that she went home after only five days in the hospital. She recovered at home for eight weeks and engaged in physical therapy to strengthen her back.

Six months later, Tara found out she was pregnant. She was thrilled that she could enjoy a trouble-free pregnancy without worrying about the physical requirements of motherhood. She was very pleased with Dr. Sachs and the staff at TBI, and has even recommended the surgery and the clinic to other people she has met in her physical therapy classes.

“I’m so happy I underwent the surgery and worked with TBI,” she said. “It was the best decision I have ever made.”

 

Jaime Prewitt

Testimonials – Scoliosis

Growing up, Jaime Prewitt never even guessed she had a serious back disorder until she underwent a routine physical in junior high. She was then diagnosed with scoliosis, a condition that causes the abnormal curvature of the spine, and in many cases results in rib deformity, respiratory and digestive difficulties, pain and other debilitating problems. After a more thorough exam, her family physician told Jaime that the disorder was not severe enough to take immediate action. As she got older, however, she began to notice the effects of her affliction when reaching up or lifting heavy objects – a visit to the chiropractor for an adjustment would always follow. As an active college student, Jaime began to experience pain in her day-to-day life.

After college, Jaime’s back worsened to the point that she could no longer work in her garden or lift more than 10 pounds. She did everything she could to ease her pain, including hiring a personal trainer to strengthen her body, but the results were minor. Jaime reached her breaking point when she had to cut back on running, swimming and other activities that had been part of her life since childhood. Around 2002, Jaime began consulting with Dr. Barton Sachs, who ran extensive tests and worked with her throughout her chiropractic sessions. She also received regular injections and pain management therapy. He also supported her choice to seek a second opinion. Finally, after Jaime’s many attempts to get relief, Dr. Sachs suggested she undergo a procedure known as the “Mini 360.”

Having been through many unsuccessful treatments already, Jaime didn’t expect much from the Mini 360. In fact, she was afraid that something could go wrong and leave her worse off than before. But she eventually overcame her fears and underwent the procedure in May 2007 at the age of 28. Three weeks after the surgery, Jaime had her first post-op visit and was told that she was healing successfully. One month later, she had recovered well enough to stop taking her pain medication. Although she was still fragile, Jaime was surprised at how quickly she regained her mobility.

Jaime is very happy about the success of the surgery and recommends that any patients considering the Mini 360 procedure ask questions for a good understanding of the recovery process. She would recommend Texas Back Institute to her friends and family, and is pleased with the compassion shown and service provided by Dr. Sachs and Texas Back Institute’s staff and medical team.

 

Tressa Scott

Testimonials – Scoliosis

Tressa Scott, a teenager in Allen, Texas, couldn’t stand up straight for more than a year — until the summer of 2010 following a complex spinal surgery performed by Dr. Isador Lieberman.

Before her surgery, Tressa had a 60 degree curve in her lower back and a 35 degree curve in her upper back. Now, the curves are balanced at just over 12 degrees each. “It’s remarkable how much difference there is just a day after surgery,” said Tressa’s mother, Norma Scott. “Her back is so nice and flush.”

Scott said she first noticed that her daughter’s scoliosis had worsened in the summer of 2009 after Tressa hit a growth spurt. “She was standing up in the kitchen and I said, ‘Tress, why can’t you stand up straight?’ And she said, ‘I am standing up straight,’” Scott said. “I went over to her, and even though her legs were straight, her shoulders were off and her shoulder blade was protruding. It didn’t look right.”

Scott took Tressa to a Plano physician who referred her to Dr. Lieberman at the Scoliosis & Spine Tumor Center, a practice established by Texas Back Institute and Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano. The center provides the most appropriate and least invasive treatment, support and coping strategies for adolescents and adults suffering from spinal deformities and tumors.

Dr. Lieberman performed surgery on Tressa using the SpineAssist® surgical robot, a technology he innovated. At the time, the robot used for Tressa’s surgery was one of only three robots in the United States and the only one in Texas. Accurate to less than half a millimeter, the surgical robot enables surgeons to plan the optimal surgery ahead of time using a computed tomography (CT)-based 3D simulation of the patient’s spine.

“Like a pilot in a flight simulator, I can map out the patient’s spinal anatomy and perform the entire procedure before the patient even arrives for surgery,” said Dr. Lieberman. “The robot doesn’t do the surgery, but it allows me to be more efficient and more precise, and to anticipate potential complications before they occur.”

Now, Tressa is able to be a normal teen again. She gained a dramatically straighter spine – and also her self-confidence.

“It’s amazing to see how much straighter my back is now,” said Tressa. “I’m standing up straighter, not leaning over to the side. The surgery gave me a new kind of confidence.”

Spinal Stenosis

Cheryl Anglin

Testimonials – Spinal Stenosis

At the age of 48, Cheryl Anglin was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis after she started feeling pain radiate down her right leg. She was diagnosed by her doctor in Jackson, Mississippi, and underwent her first operation on September 17, 2003. Her doctor removed the disk between her L4 and L5 successfully, but told Cheryl she needed to follow up the surgery with a spinal fusion.

Cheryl developed a blood clot in her right leg, which made her high risk for another surgery. Cheryl’s leg pain did subside, but her lower back pain increased as time went on. After suffering for three years, Cheryl’s doctor sent her to see the head of spinal orthopedics to get a second opinion on whether she could be operated on. Likewise, he thought she was too high-risk to operate on.

Cheryl finally went to Texas Back Institute and met with Dr. Hochschuler about what could be done to ease her pain and get her life back to normal. On January 7, 2008, Dr. Hochschuler performed a spinal fusion on Cheryl. “I really didn’t have any fears,” she said. “I had heard Dr. Hochschuler was the best, so I prayed about it and was at peace going in to the surgery.”

The X-rays indicated that the fusion was forming the bone and that she was continuing to improve. She now walks three to five miles a day and is on a recommended high-protein, high-calcium and low-fat diet. She has even been granted permission to participate in her favorite activity of all, ballroom dancing, on a limited basis. “I am grateful Dr. Hochschuler took a special interest in my case since I was so high risk,” Cheryl said. “No one in Mississippi would take the chance to fix my back, but thankfully Dr. Hochschuler did, and was successful.”

Cheryl recommends Texas Back Institute to anyone suffering from back problems, because “life is too short not to get the most out of it.”

6020 W. Parker Road, Suite 200
Plano, TX
75093 United States
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