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Fredricka’s Story

If your chances of being pain-free after surgery were only 50-50, would you take the risk? This is the scenario that Fredricka was faced with in 1999 after she was in an accident in her hometown of Palm Bay, FL. The accident left her with tremendous back pain, so she decided to seek help.

She tried physical therapy, pain management injections and chiropractic adjustments, but experienced little relief. Her doctor told her that surgery was another option, but there was a 50 percent chance that it could fail to relieve her pain.

“I was hesitant to go through with surgery because I’ve seen people who are worse-off after,” Fredricka said. “And with only a 50-50 chance? I didn’t want to go through all of that. I stopped seeing that doctor and I lived a nonexistent life for years with horrible pain.”

But Fredricka's bad luck didn’t stop there. She injured her back again in 2005 when she was rear-ended while waiting at a red light, and in 2008 while walking her new puppy.  

“I was slouched forward and I would drag my leg,” Fredricka said. “I didn’t even want to walk to the mailbox unless it was absolutely necessary.”

One day, Fredricka was talking with a friend in Central Florida about her struggle with back pain. Her friend recommended that she see her spine doctor, Dr. Chetan Patel, a world-renowned spine specialist and medical director of the Spine Health Institute in Altamonte Springs, FL. Fredricka immediately looked him up and saw that he was a leader in spine treatments and minimally invasive surgical techniques, so she gave the institute a call. She was able to get an appointment the following week, and made the nearly three-hour drive to Altamonte Springs from Palm Bay for her appointment.

“I completed most of the paperwork online so the experience was very stress-free when I was waiting,” Fredricka said. “The moment Dr. Patel walked into the room, there was an instant connection and I knew that I was meant to see him.”

After reviewing her medical history and diagnostic tests, Dr. Patel diagnosed Fredricka with lumbar spondylolisthesis and lumbar stenosis. Typically, the first step in a plan of care at the Spine Health Institute is conservative treatment to help reduce pain and inflammation. Due to her history of failed conservative procedures, Dr. Patel and Fredricka discussed other treatments and decided that surgery was the best option.  
“I told him that I couldn’t deal with the chronic pain and the inability to walk anymore, and I agreed to have the surgery,” Fredricka said. “That’s when Dr. Patel looked at me and told me not to worry - he could help me walk again.”

That same week, Fredricka was able to get all of her prep work and pre-surgical tests completed thanks to the scheduling team at the Spine Health Institute. In May of 2016, Dr. Patel performed an L3-S1 laminectomy and fusion procedure that left Fredricka feeling like a new person.

“I am walking and performing daily activities again,” she said. “New things get better every day. I had a back that no doctor believed they could improve, but Dr. Patel took that challenge, and it has changed my life.”

Fredricka extends her deepest thanks to Dr. Patel and his team for being so kind, warm and caring. She has been recommending the Spine Health Institute to her friends and family for all of their spine health needs, and says that she will never stop telling her story to others.

“God is good – he opens doors when you think there aren’t any left to open,” she said. “I told Dr. Patel that if his ears are constantly ringing, it’s because I’m talking about you to everyone I meet.”

If you’ve been experiencing back pain, give our office a call at 866.986.7497 or click on the Book Online button at the top of this page. Dr. Chetan Patel strives to provide the least invasive treatments possible for a variety of back and neck conditions. For educational videos on common spine conditions and prevention tips, visit our SpineU video library.