November 26, 2018

How successful is surgery for a herniated disc? Read one patient’s story

Neck, Back and Spine | Patient Stories

As a high school athletic director and varsity baseball coach, Greg Marschand’s life before his surgery for a herniated disc was busy—very busy.

Greg spent a lot of time preparing outside athletic facilities. His back went out recently while he was building a portable fence before the softball season. His whole world changed with that injury.

Greg knew something was really wrong with his back. For example, he couldn’t bend over. Even walking was difficult. As a first measure, Greg thought all he needed to do was go see a chiropractor. Unfortunately, though, he didn’t find any pain relief from the adjustment.

After that experience, Greg decided to seek care from a back specialist.

Keep reading to learn why Greg choose OrthoIndy for back pain relief and how he got back to normal with surgery for a herniated disc.

What it’s like to live with back pain

“Basically, I couldn’t even bend down well enough to put on my socks or shoes,” said Greg. “Even sleeping became a huge chore. Many times I would have to try and walk around because lying down was almost impossible.”

It got to the point where Greg’s entire right leg would go numb after walking even a few steps. Greg knew he needed to see a doctor who specializes in treating back injuries if he wanted relief.

He went to his local hospital. His MRI revealed that Greg had blown out his back. He needed surgery for a herniated disc because it put pressure on a nerve in his right leg.

His local primary care doctor recommended Greg travel to Indianapolis for expert care.

As a result, Greg looked into his options and decided to make an appointment to see Dr. Kevin O’Neill, an OrthoIndy spine surgeon. He scheduled an appointment right away.

Getting an accurate diagnosis

At the first appointment, Dr. O’Neill confirmed that Greg would need back surgery for a herniated disc to relieve his pain.

“Dr. O’Neill was very understanding and extremely professional as my options were narrowed down to one: back surgery,” said Greg.

“I hurt so much. In fact, that’s why I pleaded for him to perform the surgery right on the spot.” However, because of the medicine that Greg was on, his spine surgery had to be arranged for a future date to allow time for him to stop taking certain medications for a period of time.

Why surgery for a herniated disc was the right treatment

“Greg had a large disc herniation in his back that was causing severe nerve compression,” said Dr. O’Neill. “He had been experiencing pain for about two months before his consultation. When I first met him, he was barely getting around.

“I talked to Greg about a relatively new procedure: minimally-invasive nerve decompression and fusion. After reviewing his imaging, explaining the procedure and what to expect, I could tell that he was anxious to get it fixed using this cutting-edge method of surgery for a herniated disc,” said Dr. O’Neill.

The back surgery healing process

After the surgical procedure, Greg felt relief immediately. He stayed one night in the hospital then returned home the following day.

“Greg’s surgery for a herniated disc went very well, and he felt the relief right away. Since I used a minimally-invasive approach, I was able to avoid traumatizing the muscle as much as I would if I had used a more traditional approach to back surgery,” said Dr. O’Neill.

“This allowed him to bounce back pretty quickly. From there, he did a great job sticking to the rehab plan. Greg was dedicated, which helped his recovery go faster. I’m so happy for him to be able to continue doing what he loves.”

What Greg’s life is like after having surgery for a herniated disc

Today, Greg is back to his usual activities. Before his back injury, Greg was always outdoors working. Now that his back is healed from his surgery, he reports having no limitations on what he can do.

“Being a high school baseball coach, I am elated to be able to throw batting practice on a daily basis, hit fungo’s, rake the diamond, lift anything needed, and—basically—do all the things I could do before,” said Greg.

“I have experienced no pain and no issues at all since having my surgery for a herniated disc. In fact, I was off all medications one week after the operation and have never taken any medication for back pain since. Dr. O’Neill did a fantastic job. I recommend him to everyone.”

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Call us at 317.802.2883 to schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic specialists or request an appointment 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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