Testimonials: Spine – Cervical (Neck) Fusion

Brian Carlsen – Cervical Spine Fusion

I suffered complications (severe numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain) from bulging cervical discs for about three years. During the year before cervical fusion (C6/C7) surgery, I was calling out sick from work, missing family events, and not sleeping well because of the pain and discomfort. I had gone from doing 50 push-ups in one minute to not being able to do a single push-up at all.

After several medication trials with my PCP, we found a combination of two that managed the pain (one was a low level narcotic that required a “pain contract” with Riverside for re-fills), and reduced the numbness and tingling, but no amount of working out and medication allowed me to regain my strength. My PCP and I decided that though the pain was managed, the weakness and atrophy were concerning enough that surgery should be strongly considered.

Several people at my place of employment, as well as colleagues from other agencies, had been to see Dr. Jeffrey Carlson for similar issues and spoke very highly of him and OSC as a whole. He is also highly-rated by several entities when searching his specialty and the Hampton Roads/Tidewater areas on the internet. I therefore saw no need to re-invent a wheel that was already rolling wonderfully and made an appointment.

At this point (03/02/2017), I am about 4 months out from surgery. I have no pain, only about 10% of the numbness and tingling I had before, and my strength is increasing steadily (I’m up to 10 push-ups before failure, but have only been cleared for exercise for about two months).

All the staff at OSC are very professional, efficient, and personable. I never felt pressured toward any decision and was always given the straight facts about my condition, and what could and could not be expected with and without surgery. Scheduling of the surgery was at my convenience and paperwork for my employer (FMLA) was coordinated with ease via e-mail and phone calls. This last part was about the best part of the entire experience, 2nd only to dealing with Dr. Carlson about my condition, as I have had many surgeries and absences from work requiring FMLA paperwork and it has always been most difficult and stressful trying to get a third party to do things the way your employer wants or will accept.

As a result of my experiences with OSC, I will continue to use their services for all of my spine and orthopaedic issues and will recommend them to anyone seeking care within the entire realm of their services.

Brian Carlsen

Click to meet Dr. Jeffrey Carlson or to contact OSC.

John Asby – Multi-level Cervical Spine Fusion & Laminectomy

I have been living in excruciating pain and torment for years. I have also visited the top docs in the country (Philadelphia Eagles Spine Surgeon, Johns Hopkins and many more). They all agreed that my spine was a mess, but some thought that surgery wouldn’t help in the pain I was describing to them. They also differed on when I needed the surgery and how much to fix.

I had recently heard of a local surgeon who had done amazing things and had also first-hand friends describe their experience with him. Dr. Jeffrey Carlson said I needed major surgery, a C3-C7 fusion and laminectomy. I knew what that entailed due to my extensive research. My research revealed that the recovery pain was horrible and major meds would be needed. Also, Dr. Carlson agreed with the other surgeons that he couldn’t guarantee the head pain relief, but assured me relief of the arm pain that kept me up every night for years.

After 2 years of battling a decision and trying many other non- surgical procedures and and medications, I decided to go with it. I had nothing to lose, as I wished for death instead of the continuance of what I was living with.

I had the surgery last Wednesday, February 1st, 2017. That night, I started to come out of the surgery fog and became clear minded. From that point on, I have experienced none of the previous crippling headaches and have had zero arm pain. I have energy and clarity like never before, even under plenty of high power medications. The recovery pain was so minimal, I tried to eliminate the pain medications the day I went home (one day in hospital). That was a mistake, so it took 1/2 day to correct my stupidity and get back on track.


(This photo shows the gravity of the surgery).

It has now been 6 days and I am on half of the prescribed pain meds and really have incredible energy and no pain. This is very hard to believe and my family is so thankful to God for giving us Dr. Carlson.

P.S.   As an engineer, I research everything. I looked at Dr. Carlson’s resume and it is quite impressive academically, but the testimonies of the folks I spoke with are the real proof. He could probably serve at any of the big names like Mayo, Johns Hopkins, etc., if he wished. I am so glad he didn’t choose that path.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank You, and most of all, Thanks to God!

John Asby

Helen Nichols – Cervical Spine Fusion Surgery


In August 2016, I had cervical spine fusion. I was afraid to have the surgery. I attended a lecture in July 2016 that Dr. Carlson gave on “Managing Neck, Back, and Limb Pain: Treatments from Disc Replacements to Fusion.” Dr. Carlson answered a lot of questions about fusion in a way that I could understand.

I had the surgery and it was better than I expected. Very little pain, and I was amazed at how fast I felt better and could get up and around. Thank you, Dr. Carlson!

Helen Nichols 

Cynthia Hayes – Cervical Spine Fusion



Hello!  My name is Cynthia Hayes and my physician’s name is Jeffrey R. Carlson, of the Orthopaedic & Spine Center (OSC).

Here is a little bit of information on how I ended up there:

Back in the winter months of 2015, I developed pain down my right arm, from the shoulder and down to my hand.  The pain was so severe that it caused me to awaken just about every night or should I say, early in the AM.  It seemed no matter how I tried to get rid of it, it just continued to get worse.  Even to the point that I shed tears at times.  So, now I know I really have to do something about this.

Dr. Carlson was my mother’s physician and is how I found him.  I proceeded to become a patient of his.  I can honestly say was very thoughtful and examined my situation to the fullest.  I was supposed to go to another facility first but that failed and now I know I was blessed to be at OSC.  After having a nerve test and an ultrasound, Dr. Carlson discovered I had a bulging disk pressing on my spinal cord.

Well, I ended up having surgery on August 13, 2015.  Today, I can proudly say it was very successful, because I am pain free!!!  Since my surgery, I have had several follow up appointments and I am recovering quite well.  So many, many thanks to Dr. Carlson that I can now lead a normal life again!

Cynthia Hayes


Linda Marks – Spinal Cord Stimulator for Pain Management



I have had back problems and pain for a long time. Sometimes the pain would be so bad, I could barely walk.  I saw Dr. Jeffrey Carlson at OSC and he diagnosed me with many different spine issues. We tried treating these problems conservatively, but I wasn’t getting better. As a result, I finally had to have three different fusion surgeries, one in my neck and two in my lower back, spaced a few years apart. The surgeries helped keep me going and able to work and Dr. Carlson did a great job.  However, I continued to have pain because surgery couldn’t fix everything that was wrong.  I was also having pain in my knees and all over my body.  Dr. Carlson referred me to Dr. Jenny Andrus who does Pain Management.


Dr. Andrus diagnosed me with Fibromyalgia and gave me medication which helped. She gave me an injection for my knee pain. However, I continued to have bad pain in my lower back which again was causing issues for me when I stood at work or tried to walk.  Dr. Andrus never gave up and continued to try different therapies to help me.  Finally, she suggested I try Spinal Cord Stimulation.  I agreed.


Dr. Carlson permanently implanted the Spinal Cord Stimulator on April 13th.  It has been amazing how it has really worked for me.  I would say my pain has been reduced by 75-80%.  I can now enjoy going outside again and being with my husband, as well as working without being in agony.  I am truly thankful to both Dr. Carlson and Dr. Andrus for helping me walk again without hurting.

Linda Marks.

Jean P. Dennis – Cervical Spine Fusion Surgery


I am a 70 year old female. I suffered every day for over 3 1/2 years with what I will call varying types of head pain; not headaches. Over that time period I saw seven different Orthopedists and Neurologists including ones associated with Duke University and The University of Virginia. I was prescribed at least 12 different medications. I had sleep studies and tried a CPAP machine, which actually made the pain worse. I went through physical therapy. I had steroid injections into my neck. I received brief short term relief. Fully frustrated, my PCP attempted to get me into pain management. I was turned down by two pain management groups. They didn’t treat “head pain”!

A friend at church told me that he had had treatment at the Orthopedic and Spine Center Pain Management in Newport News. I called the center and was told I needed to be seen by one of the Orthopedists there. I was given an appointment immediately. The day of my appointment I met Dr. Jeffrey Carlson. My life changed. He immediately diagnosed my problem and within a couple of weeks I had Cervical Fusion surgery. I have been PAIN FREE since August 14, 2015.

Coming up on my 1 year ” PAIN FREE ANNIVERSARY”!. Dr. Carlson has literally given me my life back. I would like to thank everyone on the staff for their professional and caring assistance.

Dr. Carlson, to you I extend my sincerest thanks and gratitude.

Jean P. Dennis

Patricia Stuhm – Multi Level Cervical Fusion

I was recovering from a Lumbar Fusion (2 mo’s) when I was at one of my post visits with Dr. Carlson. I was complaining of neck pain, had no range of motion, and headaches that were debilitating 24/7. Dr. Carlson ordered x-rays and said “you have narrowing of the cervical spine and the only way to fix this is surgery”. he ordered a MRI and he reviewed the results with me and said “you need 3 levels fused C4-C7, I will perform a Anterior Cervical Discectomy Fusion”. I asked him if this would take away my neck pain and headaches; his response “yes”. I felt like Dr. Carlson was going to save me (I was going to be pain free again). Kaye scheduled the surgery and 10 days later, I was in surgery. When I woke up, I had no more neck pain or headaches. I am now in my 5th week of recovery and feeling great, returned to work in 3 weeks. I have full range of motion, still no neck pain or those horrible headaches. Dr. Carlson is truly an amazing surgeon. I was never afraid of the surgery, knowing Dr. Carlson was my surgeon. I can’t thank you enough for giving me back a “pain free” spine. You are the best!