August 10, 2017

After back surgery for sciatica, one patient travels the world

Neck, Back and Spine | Patient Stories

Russell Hanshaw and his wife have dreamed of retiring and traveling the world for many years. Thanks to back surgery for sciatica, their dream can now become a reality.

Read on to hear Russell’s story and learn how back surgery for sciatica performed by OrthoIndy spine surgeon Dr. Kevin O’Neill relieved his back pain so he can now live life to the fullest.

Persistent sciatic nerve pain

It all started in 1990 when Russell had surgery by another physician to repair nerve pain from sciatica. The back surgery for sciatica was successful; however, Russell was still experiencing pain.

“I was functioning to accomplish needed activity, but it was painful, and I was definitely not enjoying life,” says Russell. “I was concerned about further deterioration.”

It wasn’t until November 2016 that Russell developed lower back pain that continued to persist. Russell’s general practitioner treated his back pain from sciatica, but unfortunately, it was unsuccessful. He recommended that Russell look into back surgery for sciatica. That’s when he met Dr. O’Neill.

“My experience at OrthoIndy and with Dr. O’Neill was exceptional. The preliminary exam was potentially muscular; this was concluded after an X-ray and evaluation by a physical therapist due to my range of motion and pain level,” Russell says. “However, Dr. O’Neil insisted on an MRI as a precaution.”

Cause of back pain

Upon Dr. O’Neill’s review that morning, he called Russell and gave him the results.

“Russell had a severe amount of compression of all of the nerves in his spinal canal. In addition, there was instability between two of the vertebral bones. It was clear after seeing this that he was going to need surgery,” says Dr. O’Neill.

As this came as a surprise to Russell, he was unaware of the severity of his condition or what to do. “Dr. O’Neill recommended immediate back surgery to correct my spine,” says Russell.

“Dr. O’Neill and his staff were able to perform the surgery at OrthoIndy sooner than expected.”

Make an appointment with an Orthoindy spine specialist

Back surgery for sciatica

Russel’s back surgery for sciatica consisted of both decompressing the nerves and then stabilizing, or fusing, the two vertebral bones together. Dr. O’Neill relied on modern minimally invasive spine surgery techniques and state-of-the-art technology to perform the surgery successfully and minimize his post-operative recovery time.

“There are now many relatively new techniques available that really minimize the muscle trauma during surgery,” says Dr. O’Neill. “The goal is to reduce pain and speed the recovery while not jeopardizing the long-term success of the surgery. Russell was a perfect candidate for this minimally invasive approach.”

Post-surgery, Dr. O’Neill spent a great deal of time with Russell’s family, explaining the surgery and answering their questions. He then personally checked on Russell frequently.

Back surgery recovery

Since his back surgery for sciatica, Russell is feeling much better. “The best part about post-surgery is that I feel well enough that I haven’t even had to take Tylenol for pain,” says Russell. “I still know the fusion and back repair have not fully formed, and I am still figuring out what I can and can’t do based on checkups.”

Luckily, Russell and his wife can continue their dream of traveling all over the globe. “My wife and I want to travel. We have worked hard our entire lives, first to get through college, as we put ourselves through school,” says Russell.

“We’re retired now and plan to travel Europe and tour the United States. We also want to spend more time at the properties we have back home in Tennessee.”

Dr. O’Neill is happy for Russell and his recovery. “There is nothing better than providing a treatment that allows patients to become pain-free and accomplish their goals,” says Dr. O’Neill.

Russell chose OrthoIndy for his back surgery for sciatica based on its reputation and his former neighbor’s comments.

“Our former neighbors are relatives of an OrthoIndy specialist and had talked about their specialists and facilities,” Russell says. “Choosing Dr. O’Neill was easy; just look at his resume. He is well educated, and when you meet him in person, he is exceptional.”

Friends and family of Russell have noticed a difference in his everyday activities. Russell stands much straighter, which in turn makes him look taller. “The NBA has yet to call, but I’ll keep you posted,” Russell says.

Russell has referred a friend to Dr. O’Neill, who was operated on this past May and had similar success.

“If you give me an hour, I could rattle on about the talent, dedication and professionalism of Dr. O’Neil,” says Russell. “We are incredibly fortunate as a society to have Dr. O’Neill and other doctors that dedicate so much of their lives to training, self-education and practice to provide their skills.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. O’Neill, please call 317.802.2429.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us, and if you’re suffering from back pain, our team can help. Schedule online or call us to set up an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists.

Learn more about the conditions that could be causing you pain, and find out if back surgery for sciatica or other sciatica treatments are right for you.

If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. No referral is needed for rehabilitation and physical therapy to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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