October 29, 2018

An alternative to surgery allows patient to continue showing sheep

Neck, Back and Spine | Non-operative Care | Patient Stories


David Bruner has been active his entire life, playing basketball and pitching slow-pitch for 40 years. But arguably his most interesting activity has been raising and showing Columbia sheep, something he has been doing since he was nine years old, gaining recognition at the county, state and national levels.

Currently, David works on his grandfather’s farm, which allows him to spend a lot of time with the sheep he raises and shows. At age 65, he has no plans of slowing down or retiring anytime soon.

His interest in agriculture and livestock started during his childhood while working on his grandfather’s farm when his dad introduced him to the 4-H organization. He grew up in Putnam county as a 10 year 4-H member, home of one of Indiana’s strongest livestock 4-H programs.

In August 2017, while showing sheep at the Indiana State Fair, he noticed a loss of strength in his left arm. At first he assumed it was old age creeping in on him, but unfortunately this was just the beginning of his pain.

David continued to lose strength in his left arm, and his pain began to radiate from his neck into his shoulder and down his arm. “I didn’t stop my daily activities, however, they were getting slow and very painful,” said David.

David also loves spending time with his granddaughters; however, carrying them around became an impossible task.

The pain intensified to the point where David could no longer bear it. In January 2018, he made an appointment with Dr. Mark Osborne, a non-operative pain management physician at OrthoIndy.

“I chose OrthoIndy because the reputation is A+. My previous experience with my elbow injury was good and all my friends and family have been satisfied with OrthoIndy’s services,” said David.

Diagnosis – pinched nerve

Dr. Osborne evaluated David and determined that he needed an MRI of his neck to rule out a pinched nerve. After reviewing his MRI, it was clear that his neck and arm pain were caused by a pinched nerve in his neck.

Together, David and Dr. Osborne discussed his treatment options which included medication management, physical therapy, an injection, and if these conservative measures failed, he would suggest a surgical evaluation.

“His MRI demonstrated a pinched nerve in his cervical spine,” said Dr. Osborne. The indications for surgical consultation include progressive worsening weakness, balance deficits, or intractable pain which has not improved with conservative treatment.”

“The vast majority of patients will not require surgery for this type of injury. It is important to have someone specifically trained to manage this type of injury evaluate the cause of your symptoms, treat your pain, and monitor your symptoms.”

Injections for neck pain

Results from an injection vary by patient and diagnosis. An injection can take up to two weeks or three injections to reach its maximum effect. The procedure is done in an operating room with the assistance of an X-ray machine to guide the needle into place.

Performing the procedure in this way reduces the risk of complications. The procedure itself usually takes less than 10 minutes and most patients find the experience to be mildly uncomfortable but not unbearable. Depending on the procedure, Dr. Osborne will sometimes provide IV sedation to reduce anxiety. However, patients are conscious for the procedure. This too is due to safety concerns.

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After injections

“After the injections, I felt 100 percent immediate relief,” said David. “I am pain-free and I consider that a great thing at my age.”

Dr. Osborne believes that having a positive mindset can help manage the pain. “Mr. Bruner is exactly the type of patient I went into medicine to treat,” said Dr. Osborne. “I take great pride in helping patients reduce their pain and improve their function, and in doing so, allowing them to pursue their passions, whether that be hiking, traveling, enjoying time with their loved ones, or in Mr. Bruner’s case raising prize sheep.”

David knew that with OrthoIndy’s help he could get normal back. “The staff was pleasant, helpful and very efficient with my visits,” said David. “I always had all my questions and concerns written down and Dr. Osborne always explained and answered them.”

Now that David is pain free, he plans to travel with his wife and spend quality time with his two children and their families. He also plans to continue his passion of showing sheep.

“Don’t wait and seek professional care from a doctor like Dr. Osborne,” said David. “Listen to your doctor’s instructions, do what your doctor advises you to do, then go after it with prayer and a positive attitude.”

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Osborne, please call 317.802.2485 or learn more about non-surgical orthopedic care at OrthoIndy.


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Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. 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.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000

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