Barbara Talhelm – Lumbar Spine Fusion Surgery

Image of Barbara T.I was referred to OSC, Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, by my mother and father.  My father had to have a full back fusion about 2 years ago and he was referred to Dr. Carlson.  Let me say that at first, I did not listen to my mother, (boy, if I had a dollar for every time I should have listened to her) which was yet again the wrong thing to do. I hate when she is right!

My issues started in January of 2017, with what I thought was just a pulled muscle and hip pain.  I was having trouble standing or sitting for long periods of time.  I would move around a lot and my back pain started to get worse.  I live in the Chesapeake area, and was not going to drive to Newport News for a doctor’s appointment with the traffic the way it is.  Besides. I thought it was just a pulled muscle and my primary care doctor was just being over-dramatic by sending me to an orthopedic doctor.

As I said before,  I went to an orthopedic in my area, I didn’t listen to my mother.  I was told, after x-rays, that I have bursitis and was given a shot that did absolutely nothing.  I was then seen by another orthopedic in my area, referred by a friend that swore by this doctor.  With more x-rays, I was told I needs physical therapy and that I have sciatic nerve pain.  Not once was I shown my x-rays, even after asking to see them.  I, of course, went to physical therapy which at the time actually made my pain worse.

The physical therapist I was seeing at the time stated that I may need to have an MRI done, as my pain was not getting any better and there maybe something worse going on.  I agreed with her and called the doctor’s office to ask for an MRI before I come back so that they have something to review with me.  I was told no, I needed to make an appointment to see the doctor so he can order the MRI.

NOW, let me stop for one second and explain that I work in the medical field and I deal with patients calling me all the time to see if we can order an ultrasound, or blood work, etc. to be done for issues we are already seeing them for, so that when they come into see the doctor they have something to discuss and possibly see about fixing the problem or getting different treatment. An appointment is not always needed if there are no new issues.  Most of the time things can be ordered before a follow-up appointment.

That was the point I had had enough and finally was going to listen to my mother, who told me to come see Dr. Jeffrey Carlson from the beginning.

I saw Dr. Jeffery Carlson in October 2017.  10 months I had been dealing with the pain, not sleeping, not being able to stand or sit for long periods (which on some days standing is all I do at work when you are assisting with surgeries).  The pain got to be so bad that it would wake me up in the middle of the night when I tried to roll over, I couldn’t tie my shoes anymore without help.  Needless to say at 45,  I am no spring chicken, but I am still very active and love my job and life.  So before my appointment with Dr. Carlson, I had my regular doctor order my MRI so that I could go to Dr. Carlson with all my ducks in a row (I did find out I didn’t have to do that, as they have an MRI facility at their office).

When I got to the office, with my mother by my side, telling the girls that “I finally came here as Dr. Jeffrey Carlson did my husband’s surgery 2 years ago, etc.” My mother is a talker and will explain our lives to you if you listen, but I love her more than anything.  I didn’t wait long before I was called back to have some x-rays done before my appointment.  So the day I went for my first appointment, a nurse came out to the waiting room and explained that Dr. Carlson was the only doctor in that afternoon, and the office was running behind, we could wait or reschedule.  Well I thought great, I am not going to reschedule as I took off work to be there, plus I thought I would not get any answers as he would be in and out because he was behind.

When it was my time to be called back, I was placed in a room and when I finally met Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, first thing he did was pull up my x-rays that he just took and my MRI that I had brought so that I could see them.  I cried. I finally had someone who believed me about my pain and was willing to help me. He showed me the areas in my spine that were okay and normal then showed me the area I had been complaining about and said “see this area?” I said “yes”.  He said “you have bone on bone in your L4”, (I am sure he said it all ‘clinical-like’ and ‘doctor-like’).  Dr. Carlson sat with me and my mother talking about my issues and what was going to be the best option for me and that shocked me because he was running behind.  He was not in a rush, he answered all my questions, discussed my surgery with me when that is what we decided to do.

My surgery was on January 3, 2018, at Mary Immaculate Hospital, 1 year after my pain started (it was supposed to be in November, 2017, but I had a horrible chest cold, so it was postponed till after the holidays, my choice). I woke up after surgery with no pain.  I was amazed (I was sick from pain medication and anesthesia which happens every time I have surgery. I am allergic to all narcotics, it sucks to be me in pain).  I went home and rested for a couple of days, walking, when needed, with a walker for stability only, and of course, my OSC back brace, but I felt amazing.  I only took Tylenol, just in case, for the pain (which I didn’t have other than I could feel the staples in my back).

I went back to see Dr. Carlson 10 days after surgery for my 1st post-op appointment, once those staples were removed, I felt great.  I really had no issues.  I was told I could go back to work, with restrictions, of course, no lifting and keep wearing my brace.

Yesterday, February 15, 2018, I went to see Dr. Carlson for my 6 week post-op and I was told I was good, no more back brace was needed and I just need to do some physical therapy to strengthen the muscles in my back.

I have had no pain, honestly, since my surgery and I am sleeping at night, I am able to tie my own shoes, etc.  I am back to my old self.

I have told everyone about my experience and how I would highly recommend Dr. Jeffrey Carlson and his staff.  Not only is he caring and amazing at what he does, his staff is the same. Like I said, I work in the medical field and several of my patients have asked “who did you go to for your back?”, and EVERY TIME, EVERY TIME,  I hand them the OSC brochure and Dr. Jeffrey Carlson’s brochure I got from his waiting room and say “TRUST ME, driving to Newport News for a doctor’s appointment, even with crazy traffic and my work schedule, is so worth it!”

I know this is long, and probably too much detail (wow, I guess it’s true, I AM my mother.. ha ha ha), but my experience with OSC, Dr. Jeffrey Carlson, and his staff is just something I can’t even really explain well.  To feel no pain, all day, every day, after being in so much pain for so long it is, simply put, amazing.  I can’t Thank them enough for understanding and helping me…..

Thank you again,

Barbara Talhelm

J. Joseph – Cervical Disc Fusion Surgery & Physical Therapy

Image of Dr. Jeffrey CarlsonExcellent group of doctors, assistants, and wonderful physical therapy team!

I had been referred to see an orthopedic surgeon. So I did some research online and came across a few in Hampton Roads. After reading the reviews and testimonials from the different practices, my decision was made and I chose to go with OSC.

On my first appointment, options were discussed and the worst case scenario was given. Dr. Jeffrey Carlson requested a better imaging scan done so that he could fully assess what my situation was. I ended up having to have a bone fusion done in my neck due to some ruptured discs. I had no idea I had a ruptured disc! Thought it was just muscle problems. The issue was so bad, we had no alternative. I was beginning to have problems walking, getting up from a seated position, losing strength in my hands and arms, and some other issues associated with it.

After my surgery, almost immediately I had the strength back in my hands and I could get up without a problem again. You are out the same day as your surgery. Dr. Carlson made sure to try to reassure you a bit right before your surgery and does come check on you while you are in recovery. The follow up appointments he wants to know your progress and any issues you may be having.

Over a year later, the bones have mended nicely and the fusion has taken place well. No real problems from it besides the cold weather. Neck wear is a must in colder temps!

Physical therapy helped a great deal in getting mobility and flexibility back. The key thing is that you have to tell them what is going on. They can guide you and help, but without feedback, they can not zero in on problem areas. You’ve got to let them know where it is bothering you and if a certain movement helps or hinders you. If you feel you need continued therapy when it gets near your release time, speak up. They will do their best to help you out and get you back on your feet again.

I would recommend this practice to anyone that is in need of their services. They are a great group and also do many things in the community. They carry themselves well, have a wide variety of collective knowledge and the best thing they have, that is harder to find in doctors any more, is that they do care about their patients.

J. Joseph

Rudolph Pazdernik – Physical Therapy

Image of Dr. Tom ToothakerDr. Tommy Toothaker and his team are terrific. Six weeks ago, I was tottering and shuffling like an old man, constantly afraid I was losing my balance. Well, I am 87, so I didn’t think they could do too much for me. But was I ever surprised!

Today, they have me walking better than I have in years. And my balance has improved 100%. I would gladly recommend OSC Physical Therapy to anybody. In fact, I have already given their folders to a couple of friends. I just can’t say enough good things about them!

Rudolph Pazdernik

Linda Rogers – Lumbar Spine Surgery

Image of Dr. Jeffrey Carlson in scrubsI am 70 years old and with all the insurance changes, it was very stressful to try to figure out the who and why and where that I had coverage. Dr. Jeffrey Carlson helped me with this and then we got started on the when and why of what I needed.  It was very scary, as I do not do sick, except for Breast Cancer in 1996.

Dr. Carlson ordered a painless MRI of my LUMBAR SPINE.  Then, when he knew what had to be done, he set me up for outpatient surgery at Mary Immaculate Hospital on 1/24/2018. HIS staff went thru all the paper work and made sure I understood where to go and when and what to expect.

The day of the surgery, I was in so much pain that I could not move. Dr. Carlson came in before surgery and spoke to me and made me feel that all was okay. AND IT WAS. No problems. That very night, the pain was gone. I could move side to side and sit and walk and be ME AGAIN. IT was amazing.

Yesterday, I went in for my first visit to see how I was healing. The lady taking me back for x-rays could not believe how freely I was walking. The young man who took me back to the office could not believe that I had so much pep in my step, either. He was very gentle taking out the stitches also. Dr. Carlson came in with a handshake and left me with one also.

To be this age and scared, and then when I came out of surgery, there was no pain or stress, I know I was blessed. I did have someone take me to surgery, etc., but after that I was kinda on my own and ya know that was ALL I NEEDED as I healed. I was A GREAT nurse and that is because I worked with the best doctor who gave me all the information I needed to heal and get better.

Dr. Carlson is so kind and nice and really listened to me and spent time with me and not just so many minutes on the clock and on to the next one. His whole staff was kind and that is very very rare. IT does not happen today as my other doctors do not listen or take the time to care. Pain is serious and we should not go day-to-day with it.

So,  just know that Dr. Carlson and staff made the rest of my years on earth so much better and I thank you so much. It is unreal how great I feel now. GOD BLESS you all and it takes special doctors, nurses and staff to make the patients feel special and ya know we are.

IF I was not on a budget I would send Dr. Carlson  a big vase of flowers..sigh. But he might just get some dirt and a pack of flowers seeds to grow his own….but then nothing shows how thankful the patients are more than A HEART FELT THANK you…

Linda Rogers

W. Anthony Starkey – Spine Surgery for Disc Herniation

Dr. Jeff Carlson in Spine SurgeryStill Going Strong 13 Years after Successful Back Surgery

Around 1982, I injured my lower back while moving heavy furniture. For the next 23 years the same part of my lower back continued to be periodically susceptible to debilitating re-injuries and frequent pain, but I always managed to get back on my feet with the help of anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.

Then in the Spring of 2005, I re-injured it yet again, this time much worse than previously. Within a very few days, I regressed from using a cane, to crutches, to a walker, to being bed-ridden. Diagnostic imaging experts at the Orthopaedic and Spine Center determined that my pain and paralysis were being caused by a severely herniated disc which was pressing against my spinal cord. They assured me that surgical intervention was only considered for cases that could not be successfully treated by non-invasive means, such as anti-inflammatory medications or physical therapy, and they scheduled me for immediate surgery to stop the condition from worsening, and to correct the problem. The surgery was skillfully and meticulously performed by Dr. Jeffery Carlson through a small incision, and the moment I woke up in the recovery room I was free of pain and fully mobile.

In the 13 years since the surgery was performed, my back has remained strong and free of pain. In spite of returning to some very challenging and strenuous activities, which include mountain climbing, lumber-jacking and heavy construction, I have had no recurrences of the back injury. Below, I have inserted an exact copy of the message I sent to a friend in 2013 (8 years after the surgery), in response to my friend’s inquiry about the long-term outcome of my 2005 back surgery:

Thanks for asking about my back surgery. It continues to be a total success; there has not been any recurrence of pain or immobility since the surgery fixed the problem on March 25, 2005. The orthopedic surgeon’s name who gave me such excellent help when it was urgently needed is Jeffrey Carlson. Since that back surgery, Dr. Carlson has also repaired some damage to my right shoulder, fixed some mysterious condition that had caused fluid to build suddenly on my left knee, and later he put my broken left knee-cap back together in an unrelated event. (If you ever want to know the definition of real pain, women will tell you it is childbirth, but I suspect that probably only applies to those who have not also broken a kneecap.)

Anyway, none of those other repairs have required any surgery; Dr. Carlson says he only resorts to surgery when another treatment won’t cure the injury. About a year ago [i.e., around 2012], I read in the paper that Dr. Carlson has now become the Chief of Surgery for Mary Immaculate Hospital. I haven’t been hurt since his appointment to that post went into effect, so I am not sure whether he still does bone and joint work with his own hands. [Yes, he does.] But he’d be the first person with whom I would inquire if I ever get hurt again; the man is brilliant, pragmatic, compassionate, and competent.

W. Anthony Starkey


Charlie Wood – Lumbar Microdiscectomy

Image of Charlie WoodMy story started over 5 years ago, when I fell on ice and injured my lower back. I went to my PCP, who referred me to many different specialists. After X -Rays, MRIs and many other tests, I was offered no pain management. During this time my left leg was in severe pain and eventually went numb resulting in atrophy. As time, passed I felt hopeless and believed that was how the rest of my life was going to be.

One day a customer told me about OSC and Dr. Jeffrey Carlson. It ended up being the best referral ever! During my first visit, after reviewing my X Rays and MRI, Dr. Carlson let me know surgery was an option, but that it could be done on my time. He then suggested a cortisone shot. That provided temporary relief and I was then referred to Dr. Jenny Andrus for an epidural. I had a trip to LA planned and that provided me relief so that I could enjoy my vacation.

I later received another epidural and then talked to Dr. Carlson about surgery. He answered all my questions and never tried to push me into making a decision. I decided that having the microdisectomy surgery was my best option and that ended up being the best decision I ever made. Dr. Carlson and his team followed up with me and I have had no problems and my quality of life has been outstanding!!

Thanks again Dr. Carlson, and to your entire team.

Charlie Wood

May Horrocks – Physical Therapy for Leg and Heel Pain

Image of Jim Koske, MPTI had suffered a lot of pain in the back of my right leg into my heel where I noticed quite a large swelling. I was referred to OSC under the care of Jim Koske, MPT. Jim put together a regimen of exercise’s for me and put Bill Richards, LPTA, in charge of my massaging.

I now have no leg pains as I walk, and the swelling on the heel has lessened a great deal. This is not the first time that I have been treated in this establishment and I can honestly say, each and every time has been a good experience for me. The staff from the front desk onward are friendly and caring, its a joy to be among them.

May Horrocks

Lee Carter – Cervical Discectomy

Image of Dr. Jeffrey Carlson

I injured myself while pulling back my crossbow. It caused a horrible pain in the back of my shoulder that radiated into my left arm. I went to my PCP and he prescribed prednisone and a muscle relaxer. After a week, the pain was about the same. A friend suggested I see Dr. Jeffrey Carlson.

I met with Dr. Carlson and told him what had happened. He said it sounds like I had a ruptured disc in my neck and may need surgery. I had an MRI on October 25, 2017 and a follow up with him on November 2. By then the pain had completely gone away. I thought I was home free until he told me I did have a ruptured disc, that it was pressing on my spinal cord and I needed immediate surgery or  risk being paralyzed in the event of a bad car accident. Obviously, not what I wanted to hear, but made the decision at that moment to have the surgery.

I had the surgery, known as a Cervical Discectomy, on November 8th. It was an out-patient procedure . In simple terms, the soft tissue between the vertebrae is removed, a bone graft is used to support the vertebral bones and a small plate is screwed in to support the spine.  After 6 days, I was completely pain free. Other than a small incision in the front of my neck, I could not tell I even had surgery.

I had a follow up with Dr. Carlson on November 20th. He said I could resume my regular duties but not to lift more than 20 pounds. After another follow up on December 21, all restrictions were removed. After first meeting Dr. Carlson, I was talking with my neighbor. I told her about my injury and she said “you need to see Dr. Carlson”. I believe she had spinal fusion surgery. She had nothing but good things to say about him. I highly recommend Dr. Carlson.


Lee Carter

Williamsburg, Va.


Amy Bray – Hip Replacement

Image of Dr. Boyd HaynesWhen I started experiencing severe hip pain a few years ago. There were days that I could barely walk and do for myself. My mother strongly recommended that I see Dr. Boyd Haynes as he performed a very successful hip replacement on her, about three years ago.

After I couldn’t tolerate the pain any longer and my quality of life was very much hindered, I made an appointment with Dr. Haynes and I am so glad I did! Dr. Haynes had to replace my hip and reconstruct my hip socket. The surgery was very successful and recovery went smoothly.

I had my surgery done on 10/11/17 and returned to work on 10/31/17.  People were amazed at how well I was doing and getting around.  I explained that I had an exceptional surgeon!!

Thanks so much Dr. Haynes for giving me back a pain free life!  Thanks to you I am able to get out and enjoy things I love to do!!

Amy Bray

Jeff Askew – Spine Surgery

Image of Jeffrey Carlson, MDI had my fourth back surgery (previous one was 17 years ago) and have had a remarkable recovery. From the surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Carlson to Dr. Tom Toothaker and his staff at OSC Physical Therapy, everyone I came in contact with was professional, friendly, pleasant, and capable.

Thank you all for your personal attention to me and my specific medical needs during this time. I highly recommend this team to anyone searching for the right group of medical professionals. Thank you!

Jeff Askew