Overnight, Wayne Went from Severe Back Pain to Major Pain Relief
Wayne M. is a natural at his job as a manager of a South Jersey garden center. His expertise and friendly service make him a reliable favorite with loyal customers. “I’ll get that,” is his signature call-out. But, years of bending and lifting heavy items like shrubs and trees began taking a toll on his back.
Eventually, Wayne developed chronic, debilitating back pain that shot down through his leg like a bullet. The work he loved became unbearable, and it took every ounce of strength just to get through the day.
When night came, he couldn’t sleep because of the pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers provided no relief so he went without them.
“I was so exhausted from lack of sleep, and it was severely affecting every part of my life,” recalls Wayne. “That went on for 3 months, and I knew I had to do something.”
A family member referred Wayne to Penn Medicine | Virtua neurosurgeon Stephen Dante, MD. Dr. Dante diagnosed Wayne with sciatica that was caused by nerve impingement (compression) from a bulging disc.
“Dr. Dante was thorough and thoughtful, and he really took his time with me,” says Wayne. “He explained complex information in a very careful manner, so he was sure I understood exactly what was happening. When surgery seemed like the best option, I felt very comfortable with him and his approach.”
Dr. Dante identified another potential problem. Wayne developed a side-leaning gait (walk) that was his body's way of compensating for his chronic back pain. With all those months in a crooked posture, Dr. Dante wanted to ensure Wayne’s spine was stable. If it wasn’t, more complex fusion surgery might be needed. X-rays showed Wayne’s spine was still strong, and he didn’t need the fusion. “I was glad Dr. Dante thought to check it and rule it out,” he says.
During the surgery to repair the bulging disc, Dr. Dante found that the covering over the nerve roots had thinned due to the size of the bulging disc. “We kept Wayne overnight because we wanted to make sure he would heal well, which he did,” notes Dr. Dante.
Wayne was happy for the extra night of on-site care: “The staff at the hospital was fantastic. I can’t say enough about them or Dr. Dante.”
Wayne remembers waking up pain-free from surgery: “I never took a single pain medication post-surgery.” He did an extra month of physical therapy to safeguard himself from future repetitive injury due to his physical job.
“I’d recommend Dr. Dante to anyone,” says Wayne, standing tall again and greeting his customers with a smile.
To schedule a consultation with a Penn Medicine | Virtua brain or spine surgeon, call 1-888-847-8823.
Updated May 22, 2018