MY BACK, A STORY WITH A FUSION CONCLUSION
It began years ago, as many stories do. I did things I probably should not have done, forcing my back to support more off center weight than it should have. Added to those missteps were years (almost 40) of climbing vertical steel ladders of cranes with a heavy shoulder tool bag.
To combat the nagging pains, journeys to chiropractors helped. Within recent years, those chiropractor’s visits did not seem to help. The chiropractor noticed the lack of improvement and asked if I would like a referral. I replied yes. Enter Dr. Jeffery Carlson. After x-rays and a physical evaluation, Dr. Carlson showed me in the x-ray the source of my pain, the cocked vertebrae. He commented to me that we could go whatever route I chose, but the back would not get better without surgery. Spinal fusion of L4, L5, and S1 were recommended.
I told him to schedule my surgery as soon as possible. The date was chosen only a few weeks into the future. An at-home nurse and physical therapist were scheduled ahead of time and my wife and I attended a seminar with the company that was to supply the nurse and physical therapist. I highly recommend the seminar, as you are given ideas for recovery help and what to expect.
And what might you expect? From my experience (and I was told this ahead of surgery) the first two weeks will probably be miserable (and they were) not unbearable, but certainly very uncomfortable. The wearing of the bone growth stimulator two hours a day and the back brace, when out of bed, were annoying but tolerable and good drugs kept the severe pain at bay. I tried to follow Dr. Carlson’s instructions to the letter, and I think it was the good surgery and adherence to advice that ended in very good results with elimination of lower back pain.
Thanks Dr. Carlson!
I am a physically fit, 61 year old female and I had been dealing with sciatica for 4 years. It started with a pain in my left calf. I tried massage therapy, TENS unit, and physical therapy. My GP referred me to OSC. I chose Dr. Jeffrey Carlson because I have several neighbors who had successful back surgery performed by Dr. Carlson.
During my first visit, back x-rays were taken right in his office. The next step was an MRI, which could have been done at the OSC, but due to a 10 day insurance approval wait time, I had done closer to my home.
At my next visit with Dr. Carlson, he evaluated my MRI and anticipated that I would need surgery, but said there was no rush. To get relief, I scheduled an epidural cortisone shot at the OSC. The first shot gave me great relief and I was so pleased! Within 2 weeks, I developed sciatica on the other side. The second shot provided no relief. The sciatica pain increased to the point that I cancelled a vacation and decided to schedule surgery.
Dr. Carlson chose to perform a PLIF – Posterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion on October 29, 2019 at Bon Secours, Mary Immaculate in Newport News. Just before surgery, Dr. Carlson asked if I was ready to get this Sciatica taken care of and the next thing I knew, I was out of surgery, awake and 100% of my sciatica was gone! I was able to leave after a few hours of recovery.
I am now 6 weeks post surgery. I feel great! I teach 6 fitness classes a week and have 10 personal fitness clients. I was able to teach classes 1 week after surgery.
I have had conversations with two other individuals at my church who also had back surgery at other spine centers. In comparison, I feel my care was superior. In particular, my follow up care includes a Bone Growth Stimulator device that has proven to speed up bone fusion. My two friends did not have this as part of their therapy.
I continue to make gains in range of motion and flexibility through 6 weeks of physical therapy prescribed by Dr. Carlson. If you are contemplating back surgery, I can give Dr. Carlson a resounding vote of confidence!
Hello there everyone, my name is Ms. In Suk Bolton from Hampton, Virginia. My physician’s name is Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center in Newport News, Va.
The reason that I went to see him was because, for over 5+ years, I have been battling and dealing with really bad Sciatic Nerve Pain, which was the result of having no bone cartilage in between my 4 lower lumbar discs in the spinal column. As a result, the spinal cord was being pressed and rubbed which was causing me to have the really bad Sciatic Nerve Pain in my back and which went all the way down to my right foot.
I used to get Epidural Steroid Injections done at Sentara Pain Management and in the end, they weren’t helping my problem. So, I decided to go see Dr. Carlson at the Orthopaedic & Spine Center thanks to one of my co-workers recommending him and I must say that all the staff and nurses are very kind. Spoke with Dr. Carlson and explained what was going on with my Spinal Column and asked what options were available.
Dr. Carlson stated that he would recommend surgery and a process that was called Spinal Fusion Surgery, where basically they replace the bad disks that were causing pressure and discomfort on my Sciatic Nerve and would fuse with metal rods and bolts. I was at first very scared and very nervous, but thankfully, I had my son here and Dr. Carlson both helped to keep me at ease.
After having the surgery, I look back and I am glad and very grateful in Dr. Carlson for fixing me up. Now I must say that I have no more Sciatic Nerve Pain in my leg anymore and thanks to the Spinal Fusion Procedure, my Spinal Cord is now straight and I can now say that … “I have my life back!” At first, 1st week is the toughest week after surgery because of being in pain but afterwards, the 2nd week and on it get’s much easier. Do not lose faith or hope. It does get much better, trust me.
If anyone is going through Sciatic Nerve Pain and thinking about getting surgery, I highly recommend Dr. Carlson. He is one of the very best and will explain everything in a calm manner and help put you at ease. Thank you to everyone at Orthopaedic & Spine Center for giving me my life back!!!
I was suffering with back pain for about three years from a pinched nerve. Dr. Jeffrey Carlson gave me an option that would relieve my back pain issue. I had the laser surgery done on 3/25/19. I am now pain free, with the help of surgery and physical therapy.
I feel free of pain. I want to thank Dr. Carlson for a job well done.
Dorian J. Johnson
(Photo of Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in the OR)
I am an active volunteer, kayaker, and skier. A year and a half ago, I was having serious hip pain and nightly leg cramps, sometime lasting for more than an hour. My first x-ray identified a ruptured spinal disc. The recommendation for me was to go to rehab or a chiropractor, but things did not improve.
Dr. Jeffrey Carlson came recommended to me. After several visits with him, it became obvious that surgery was the answer. On January 2nd, I had 10 screws, 2 rods and a spacer installed in my lumbar spine. I was positive on January 3rd, I’d made the wrong decision.
It is now 8 weeks later and I am walking without pain. I am biking, kayaking and best of all, I have not had one leg cramp. I am not discomfort free all the time, but I suspect more improvement as I continue exercising. I am planning my 2020 ski trip.
I was having increased low back pain and difficulty with my legs, causing balance and gait problems. I had been to two other orthopedic surgeons, who stated the required surgery would mean possibly 3-6 months out of work.
I was referred to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, who, after several rounds of x-rays, determined I had a problem that was missed by the other surgeons. The required surgery was a lumbar 3 to 4 fusion, completed as an outpatient.
My recovery has been quick, and I am pain free in my lower back, and, with the help of physical therapy, increasing mobility and strength returning to my legs. I would highly recommend Dr. Carlson for orthopedic spinal concerns.
I had a lumbar spinal fusion surgery in August 2018 at OSC with Dr. Jeffrey Carlson. He referred me to OSC Physical Therapy with Dr. Jamie Swale and Victoria Skay. These women were great. They listened to my concerns and goals as I wanted to get back to my active lifestyle quickly. The balance between being careful but still challenging was perfect and they got me back to running and swinging a golf club within 6 weeks.
I am five months post-surgery and still using the stretches and exercises they shared with me during my PT. I could not have been more pleased with the entire OSC staff and especially Jamie and Victoria.
I TRAVELED ALL THE WAY FROM FLORIDA TO SEE DR. JEFFREY CARLSON.
I am a 23 year old, active female who enjoys going to the gym several times a week. I began having lower back pain in November of 2017. I had already gone through back surgery for a herniated disc at L4-L5 when I was 17 (also done by Dr. Jeffrey Carlson), so as soon as I felt the slightest twinge in my back, I made sure to rest and try to allow my back to recover. For 2 months, I refrained from any intense work outs, did various stretches, and tried home remedies like heating pads and ibuprofen.
In January 2018, I finally decided it was time to see a doctor. I live in Florida now, so I went to a doctor in Orlando.
I spent the next 8 MONTHS enduring a plethora of different treatments, ranging from medications to back braces to multiple intraspinal injections ordered by the doctor in Florida. They even did an MRI which showed a herniated disc, but the doctor kept telling me I am “too young to be in pain” and “it’s not bad enough to operate”. Meanwhile, my pain level kept rising to the point where it was debilitating. No position was comfortable. I started not being able to work, since I work at a desk in a seated position all day long. I hobbled around like an 85 year old woman. The nerve pain was so sharp I would scream sometimes. I cried often.
By May, I realized the doctor I was seeing in Florida did not care about my well being and my quality of life the way Dr. Carlson does, so I got on a plane and flew to Virginia.
During my first appointment with Dr. Carlson, he asked me to sit in a chair, extend my leg as straight as possible (which was not much due to the excruciating nerve pain), and lift my toes toward me. I was in complete shock when my toes did not move or twinge a bit. He said this is a clear, physical sign that a nerve is being pinched and that if it has been going on for more than 6 months, they begin to worry about permanent nerve damage. The doctor in Florida should never have let my herniation go untreated for that long. Dr. Carlson not only saw that I needed surgery, but that I needed it as soon as possible, considering that the doctor in Florida had already been seeing me for 8 months. He set me up for another MRI so we could get an updated image of what was going on in my back and scheduled me for surgery. I ended up having a herniated disc at L5- S1, a completely different site from my previous back injury when I was 17. Dr. Carlson did a lumbar fusion back in June 2018 and today (January 2019) I am happy, healthy, and out of pain!
Dr. Carlson listens. He cares, and he absolutely takes his patients’ quality of life seriously. He is skilled in his work and takes his time with his patients. I can not begin to thank him enough for giving me back my life. He is an incredible doctor and I 100% recommend him.
I had chronic back pain due to a herniated disk for 16 years due to an injury as a teen. Fortunately, for the longest time, I was able to manage the pain with physical therapy and chiropractic care. I live a very active lifestyle that includes distance running, golf, boxing, weightlifting and playing with my two energy-filled Australian Shepherd dogs.
In early 2018, the pain that I had felt time and time again was suddenly much worse. I attempted the forms of treatment that had previously demonstrated positive results, but to no avail. I had seen a chiropractor for a couple of months, but I was not getting the results that I was hoping for. After spending each day and night on my living room floor for three months, I sought care from an Orthopedic doctor in town. He was great! We tried a spinal injection in hopes that it would prevent a surgical procedure. Unfortunately, it was not successful. He was wonderful and referred me to Dr. Jeffrey Carlson at OSC, as he no longer performs spinal surgeries.
The first time that I met Dr. Carlson, he was honest, direct, and straightforward, which I appreciated. I asked him if he was in my situation (as we were looking at my MRI) what he would do. I never felt pressured as he recommended a spinal fusion to fuse L3, L4, L5. I was sold. From that day forward, I could not have asked for a better experience. The attention, care, and responsiveness from the OSC staff and Dr. Carlson was second to none throughout the entire process. The day of surgery, I walked out of the hospital and felt like I was 15 years old again. (See attached x-ray image of my lumbar fusion)
As I write this testimonial, I am five months post-surgery, and I feel great. There is nothing that I want to do that I cannot do. The pain is non-existent, my range of motion is greater, and my quality of life is as it should be. I am running, working out, and I can assure that when the weather warms up, I will be on the golf course. I followed the doctor’s orders and went through Physical Therapy with OSC’s Dr. Jamie Swale and Victoria Skay, LPTA. They were wonderful as well!
I could not be more grateful for Dr. Carlson and the OSC staff. Do not try to suffer through the pain. Seek advice and wise counsel. I wish I would have met Dr. Carlson 15 years ago.
I had been having back issues for about 15 years. I had been getting various treatments for primarily severe pain associated with muscle spasms, which was caused by spinal bone movement. Injections worked to lessen the occurrences, but I still was concerned about the painful episodes happening. Basically, it was affecting my Quality of Life.
I had two MRI’s over a 14 month period and the images really helped to show the degradation of my condition over time and solidified my choice to go ahead and have the spinal fusion needed to fix the problem.
During that 14 months, I also sought advice from two other Dr.’s and they provided excellent input. I had a 3 level spinal fusion (S1 to L3) and Dr. Jeffrey Carlson did an excellent job. (See my post-surgical x-ray image to the left) His recommended recovery time and post surgery treatments were spot on. I am 8 weeks out from surgery now and have no restrictions. Physical Therapy is a good thing to do and I am currently doing that.
My lessons learned from this are that you are in control of what you do for your health. Use the data the Dr.’s provide and get advice from others. Dr. Carlson never pushed me to surgery, it was my decision and I am glad that I did it now. Again, the surgery went well and his team, the hospital staff and the PT team were fantastic. Thanks for improving my Quality of Life.