Testimonials: Spinal Stenosis

Ben Poter – Multi-Level Lumbar Spinal Fusion Surgery

My next step was back surgery, which I dreaded, but it had to be done. I didn’t want to wait too long, in case it caused more damage to my back . I went to see Dr. Jeffrey Carlson for a consultation to check out my options. After talking to Dr. Carlson, it was a go and plans were made for a Lumbar Decompression and Fusion of the L-3 thru L-5.

I felt very comfortable around Dr. Carlson and knew he was the one I wanted for surgery. I looked on the internet for an animated video of my type of surgery, because I didn’t want to see the real thing and this gave me an idea of what was going to be done . It amazes me how a person can do this kind of craft, but I’m glad it can be done.

My surgery was June 1st of this year and on June 2nd, my pinched nerve pain was gone and as of today, I still have no pinched nerve pain . It was an outpatient surgery, which surprised me. A few friends of mine have had back surgery many years ago and they had a hospital stay and had to sit in a straight back chair for many months during their recovery.  My recovery wasn’t bad and I took only a few pain pills during my recovery. Now I’m doing yard work and whatever I want to. I still get a mild lower back ache, which I don’t mind and I will sit for a few minutes, then continue with whatever I was doing. I’m more than happy to have occasional mild back ache compared to what I had before my surgery.

If you need back surgery, it can be a scary thing but a consultation is painless and like it did for me it may set your mind at ease.  I would definitely recommend OSC and any of the doctors I saw during my eight year journey. I now consider OSC my one stop shop for joint pain.

Ben Poter


Ben Poter – Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections

After my knee surgery, I started having lower back pain ,which I have experienced in the past. So, again I went to see Dr. Snyder, still in 2013 , and after x-rays and an MRI, it was determined I had Spinal Stenosis, Spondylosis and Sciatica. I have had pinched nerve pain, but it was many years before this diagnosis. I didn’t want to go thru back surgery unless I had to, so my next step was to see Dr. Jenny Andrus to receive Epidurals on each side of my spine in the L-3 and L-4 area.

I went thru these Epidurals two or three times a year, until 2021, when the Epidurals no longer provided the pain relief I needed . Dr. Andrus is a very caring and excellent doctor. I would definitely recommend OSC and any of the doctors I saw during my eight year journey. I now consider OSC my one stop shop for joint pain.      Ben Poter


Steve Smith – Lumbar Spine Surgery for Spinal Stenosis

Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonI have spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, and disc trouble. I was in a great deal of pain, from my right hip through the knee, down the right side of my leg and across the top of my foot. I felt like the mummy -dragging my leg behind me. I tried shots in various locations. They would not work very long, if at all.

I finally had Dr. Jeffrey Carlson do surgery, he cleaned up the area around the nerve and disc. I went home with no pain, other than some minor stuff around the incision site. In just two weeks, I can walk around Walmart with ease. So what I’m saying people is – don’t mess around, get the operation and be free of the pain.

Steve Smith

Donna Leslie – Multi-level Cervical Spine Surgery

I began having major pain in my right shoulder blade area while traveling in the fall of 2016. Once home, I saw my primary care physician who immediately ordered x-rays that revealed severe arthritis of the right side of my neck. Planning to manage arthritis for the rest of my life and refusing to use pain medications, I started physical therapy and began a regime of neck and shoulder exercises to keep my neck loosened up. The pain was manageable and life continued.

In early 2018, however, I began having numbness in my hands and asked my primary care physician for a referral to an orthopedic specialist. She referred me to OSC. I selected Dr. Jeffrey Carlson from website reviews. From the first appointment on March 27, 2018, I felt like I was in great hands. From the new x-rays taken at the time of my first appointment, an MRI was scheduled for the next week and I met with Dr. Carlson for the result the following week.

The MRI revealed severe cervical stenosis, with serious deterioration of levels C3, 4, 5, and 6. That wobbly feeling in my neck was exactly that. The physical therapy and neck exercises I had been doing were not only not helping, but were perhaps putting me at risk for paralysis. It was an immediate, easy decision to have cervical spine surgery.

Since the surgery (following the inevitable few weeks of recovery), I have been pain-free and have full range of motion of my neck. An amazing transition from believing I would have to live with pain and loss of motion in my neck forever, to being pain free and flexible. Throughout, Dr. Carlson and the staff of OSC were fantastic. OSC is run with impeccable, caring efficiency. A lifetime of thanks to Dr. Carlson and the entire staff! (P.S. Since my surgery, I have talked with several people who also had amazing life-changing results under Dr. Carlson’s care!)

Donna Leslie

Salvador Rodriguez – Physical Therapy Pre-and Post Surgically for Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

I was sent to the OSC Physical Therapy Department after seeing Dr. Carlson for my back issues.  The PT Program would consist of one-hour session twice a week for six weeks, under the supervision and care of Dr. Jamie Swale.  However, after a few sessions, the PT was interrupted, after an evaluation by Dr. Carlson of my MRI showed the severity of my condition.  Dr. Carlson decided that surgery would be necessary to correct my issues and I consented to have surgery.

Shortly after undergoing spine surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, I resumed Physical Therapy with Dr. Swale and her assistant.  I must admit that having significant exposure to physical training programs while being a member of the USAF for many years, I thought the PT program would be a piece of cake.  But, I was mistaken.  Dr. Swale made me work harder than I had worked in years.  But the effort paid off and was attested to by the results.

Because of my being at ease with the exercises and lack of pain in the last few PT sessions, the program was concluded three sessions before its scheduled end.  I believe that the swift way in which my PT program was completed is mostly the result of Dr. Carlson’s skill at surgery, my desire and efforts to get well quickly and Dr. Swale’s competence at physical therapy.  She made me work harder and asked me to render my best effort.  My thanks to everyone involved in addressing my condition!

Salvador Rodriguez

Lt. Colonel – USAF Retired



Salvador Rodriguez – Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

Image of Salvador RodriguezWhen I was referred to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson at OSC for evaluation of severe pain in my lower back, I doubted that the affliction, which occurred while playing soccer in 1960, would be corrected successfully.  Besides gathering the information about Dr. Carlson’s very impressive qualifications, which attest to his exceptional skills in addressing “back problems”, my first impression and personal evaluation of him and his staff was that of competence.  I was assured that I was in very good hands and I felt at ease.

Throughout the years, the source of my illness has been assessed as a pinched nerve, bilateral spondylosis, osteopenia of the lumbar spine, severe arthritis and other conditions.  My back pain worsened while lifting objects during a 2017 household move from Maryland to Virginia. Because of my advanced age, I hesitated in seeking medical attention.  However, my wife, who is an experienced registered nurse suggested that further consultation with medical specialists was necessary and to correct the problem, even if surgery was required.  Because my quality of life made it essential to continue with additional assessments, my Primary care Physician at Oyster Point Family Practice, referred me to OSC, which brought me to Dr. Carlson.

The visit with Dr. Carlson and subsequent analysis of the x-rays taken led Dr. Carlson to recommend undergoing Physical Therapy.  OSC’s PT Program would consist of one hour sessions, twice a week for six weeks, under the supervision and care of Dr. Jamie Swale.  However, my program was interrupted after a few sessions due to an increase in back pain.  That led Dr. Carlson to order an MRI to determine the cause of the pain.  Based on the assessment of the MRI, Dr. Carlson determined that surgery was necessary to correct my problem.

As my trust in Dr. Carlson was established on my initial visit with him, all that was required was my consent for the surgery, which I gave.  From that time forward, the many actions that were required were handled by Dr. Carlson and his staff, including getting authorization form my Cardiologist to proceed with the surgery.  They arranged for the surgery to take place at Bon Secours Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News.

The surgery for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, Lumbar Herniated Nucleus Pulposis (Disc), and Spondylolisthesis at L5-S1, was uneventful.  The one night stay at Mary Immaculate was interrupted by the many medical personnel waking me for many reasons, such as changing my IV medication bags, taking my vitals or just to see how I was doing.  It all showed me that they cared.  I was discharged the next day.

My faith in Dr. Carlson’s experience and surgical skills, as well as in his Staff, paid off.  I realized that I had placed my trust in a winning team!

Salvador O. Rodriguez

Lt. Colonel – USAF Retired



Linda Vernell Bateman – Multi-level Spine Lumbar Fusion Surgery

Image of Linda BatemanMy experience at OSC with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson has just been amazing.

In August 2017, I had a MRI in the open MRI at OSC.  The MRI showed degenerative disc disease, severe spinal stenosis, bulging disc, and spurs on each side of spinal canal, involving levels L2 through S1. My back didn’t hurt, but my right leg felt tight and standing straight was uncomfortable.

I met with Dr. Carlson in September 2017. Dr. Carlson told me I needed surgery, but suggested a steroid  injection to see if it helped and it did. I felt great, but it only lasted about a month. I had 2 more injections.

My surgery was done at Mary Immaculate Hospital on February 12th. Dr. Carlson did a multi-level fusion, removed the bone spurs, and relieved the pressure on the spinal column. I stayed one night at hospital. Dr. Carlson and his team were incredible. I wasn’t even bruised.

I followed the post-op instructions, with the help and guidance from Personal Touch Home Health. Margaret and Julie were just wonderful and the suggestions they gave me really helped. I really wasn’t in pain, but I did feel the nerves and muscles in my leg “waking up”, which was a strange feeling, but not painful. Now, I feel absolutely amazing.   I have full range of movement, the incision looks great. I am in Physical Therapy to strengthen core muscles. I didn’t know how much my back was bothering me.

I hope you’re reading this if you need surgery or if you are putting it off, rest assured, I highly recommend Dr. Carlson. I am very grateful to him for giving me back my ability to live my life to my full potential. Take Care of You!

Vernell Bateman

Alan Weismann – Multi-level Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonI am a 65-year old male who suffered from progressive, degenerative disc disease and spinal stenosis for many years. My doctors prescribed various types of pain medications, physical therapy, and injections to control my symptoms, until I developed sciatic nerve pain in my hips and legs in December 2017. After reviewing the results of my most recent MRI, the pain management specialist who was treating me recommended I consult with a surgeon to determine if a surgical procedure was necessary to correct my back problems.

I met with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in January 2018. Dr. Carlson reviewed my MRI and recommended a multi-level spinal fusion to correct my spinal stenosis and degenerative disc disease. I agreed. So, Dr. Carlson performed a multi-level spinal fusion on the lumbar section of my spine in February 2018.

The spinal fusion surgery immediately eliminated the sciatic nerve in my hips and legs. I was able to walk without a walker and climb stairs without pain within 10 days after my surgery. And I was able to complete my physical therapy treatments and begin doing cardio-vascular exercises at a local fitness center within 3 weeks after my surgery.

Dr. Carlson reviewed the results of the most recent x-rays my spine in early April 2018, and he determined I was nearly 100% recovered from surgery. So, he informed me I could stop wearing a back brace and return to doing my normal activities with no restrictions. Thanks to Dr. Carlson, I am now pain free and able to perform all of my normal daily activities without restrictions.

Kenneth Williams – Complex Multi-level Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in the ORI’m a 60 year old mechanic/supervisor who has dealt with lower back pain for the past 25 years.  In July 2017, I was unable to work due to the lower back pain, and pain shooting down my right leg and into my feet. I was unable to sleep throughout the night, unable to stand , sit or walk for any amount of time. I sought chiropractic care, but with no relief. I tried a cortisone shot, but with no relief.

I had always said that I would never have back surgery, but that is what I did do. My wife’s cousin recently had back surgery and reported that Dr. Jeffrey Carlson was the best. We found out that she was right. My MRI showed advanced Degenerative Disc Disease at every level, except L3-4. Disc herniation from mild to moderate, Multilevel Stenosis and I had 2 vertebrae that were pushed forward.

Dr. Carlson placed 2 rods and 10 screws, brought the 2 vertebrae in line with the spine, cleaned up the arthritis, removed the 2 broken spinous processes, and placed spacers to keep the nerves from being pinched. I have healed well with no complications and am going to physical therapy twice a week. I am to follow up with Dr. Carlson shortly and looking forward to returning to work.

God is Good. We thank him for healing and for Dr. Carlson who has been blessed by him. May God continue to bless him, give him wisdom and healing for his patients. To God Be The Glory.

Kenneth Williams

Harry Szczutkowski – Cervical Spine Fusion

I am a 69 year old male and my name is Harry Szczutkowski. I had to have neck surgery done in which my disc had to be replaced. I have been blessed in a way, that when I needed them, I have found the best doctors in their fields.

Dr. Mark McFarland is right up there among the top of the list.  His skills as a surgeon are first class and he has compassion, and is positive and caring.  He is on top of the playing field.

I would like to take this time to thank you, Dr. McFarland, and may God bless.

Yours Truly,

Harry Szczutkowski