September 18, 2017

How normal is life after spinal fusion? One patient shares her story

Neck, Back and Spine | Patient Stories

Hear how having a spinal fusion surgery helped one patient get normal back. Lindsey Bland has always strived to live life to the fullest and enjoys being active. However, after having spine surgery at another medical facility, Lindsey was not feeling like herself. In December 2016, Lindsey had surgery to remove a mass on her spinal cord around her lower neck and upper back. “I could not do many of the things I had been doing previously. I lost the ability to run, play sports, go out dancing and spend time with friends and family in a comfortable way,” said Lindsey. Six months after her surgery, she saw no improvement, so Lindsey decided to seek help from OrthoIndy spine surgeon Greg Poulter on the recommendation of her grandma. Read on to learn what happened next once she made her OrthoIndy appointment.

Diagnosis before back surgery

“From the very first appointment with Dr. Poulter, I knew he was a good fit and was going to be able to help me,” said Lindsey. “He was warm, kind and took the time to explain my scans and how we could improve my quality of life. He never made me feel like my pain was not real and was honest about the procedure needed and what it would entail.” Dr. Poulter determined that Lindsey needed more stability in her neck, which would require a type of back surgery known as spinal fusion. “Lindsey had a previous back surgery to remove a tumor from her spine,” said Dr. Poulter. “Despite having what appeared to be a successful procedure, she was left with life-altering back pain. By listening carefully to Lindsey’s story, how she described her symptoms and by carefully reviewing her studies, we were able to determine that her spine had been rendered unstable by the previous surgery.”

The spine surgery process

During spinal fusion, the affected vertebrae are fused together so that they heal as a single, solid bone. First, the surgeon will align the vertebrae. Then, small pieces of bone (bone graft) are placed into the spaces between the vertebrae to be fused together. Similar to how a broken bone heals, the bones will then grow together. “From the moment I woke up from surgery, I could tell there was a difference. I was able to move my arms and body more freely and could tell the back pain was already more manageable,” said Lindsey.
“I was up on my feet by the next day after my spinal fusion and working with a physical therapist in the hospital. They took their time with me and were supportive.”

Spinal fusion recovery—and a return to normal life

After recovery from spinal fusion surgery at OrthoIndy, Lindsey is feeling like her old self again. She has returned to running and is working on building her strength. She can comfortably go out to dinner with friends and was even able to dance at her own wedding. She plans to run and finish another 5K, start a family and simply enjoy the small things in life. “I consider it an honor and privilege to be a part of Lindsey’s story,” said Dr. Poulter. “It is deeply rewarding for me to see her return to an active life after a period of significant back pain.” Lindsey is thankful to have her life back thanks to a spinal fusion, too. “There were many moments that I thought I would never be able to run again or do the things I used to be able to do,” said Lindsey. “Then I met Dr. Poulter at OrthoIndy and was able to get my back and neck fixed in a way that provided stability and brought back my quality of life. I cannot thank Dr. Poulter and OrthoIndy enough for taking the time to work with me and perform the spinal fusion. He gave me my life back.”

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Call us at 317.802.2883 to schedule an appointment or make an appointment request online. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

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