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Robert's Story

Occasional back pain is a normal part of aging, especially if you’re physically active. But knowing when to see a doctor for your aching back is vital for your wellbeing (we’ve even made a video about it).

Like many of our patients, Robert lived with his back pain for years before he sought help from a specialist. Unfortunately, what started out as moderate discomfort got progressively worse – so much worse that it began to put his life in danger.  

“The pain made it difficult to walk,” Robert said. “I would stumble and fall a lot.”

This wasn’t the first time that Robert had a back problem. He had a spinal fusion a few years ago with a doctor at another practice, but it only provided temporary relief. Now his pain had returned and began to worsen rapidly, leading to more falls and stumbling.

We wrote before about falls surpassing car accidents as the leading cause of spinal injury among seniors, and falling when you have an existing back injury or other health problem can result in more severe health consequences. Robert knew this way of life wasn’t safe, so he reached out to his primary care doctor for help and was immediately referred to Dr. Chetan Patel, a spine specialist at the Spine Health Institute in Altamonte Springs, Fla.

After reviewing Robert’s diagnostic tests and medical history, Dr. Patel was able to diagnose him with cervical stenosis, cervical myelopathy and C6 - T1 spondylolisthesis. The first step in his plan of care was conservative treatment, including pain management medication and oral steroids. But after this approach yielded little relief, Dr. Patel was convinced that – owing to the severity of Robert’s condition and the quick progression of his pain – surgery would be the best course of action. In early 2016, Dr. Patel performed a C3-7 laminectomy and C3-T2 fusion surgery, and prescribed physical therapy to help Robert regain his strength and range of motion.

“I’m still in rehab getting my strength back,” Robert says. “There is such a big improvement. I can walk without a walker with no pain at all. This surgery was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Robert said that where a patient goes for their health care makes all the difference. Having the team at the Spine Health Institute be there every step of the way really helped him heal during recovery.

“The comfort and wellbeing of the patient is what’s important to them,” Robert says. “The atmosphere and the quality of the people make you feel like you’re at home. I really appreciate the time they spent with me.”

Robert contends that the Spine Health Institute is his favorite doctor’s office, and he offers his heartfelt thanks to Dr. Patel and his team.

“Dr. Patel is professional and caring,” Robert said. “He took the time to come see me when I was in the hospital every day to see how I was doing.”

With his pain gone, Robert is able to complete his physical therapy and develop skills to help him prevent future injuries to his spine. He knows that if any other spinal ailments arise, he needn’t look any further than Dr. Patel.

His message to the Spine Health team: “All I can say is, thank you, thank you, thank you!”

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.