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Tamara's Story

It seems like everyone needs help sleeping – we can’t turn on the TV or read a magazine without seeing the latest pillow, mattress or temperature-controlled blanket that is “guaranteed” to help you get a good night’s rest. This is because sleep plays a vital role in helping your body regenerate, heal and relieve stress, especially if you have chronic pain. Tamara had her fill of sleepless nights, wherein after about 15 minutes of restless slumber, the pain would set in, forcing her to walk around at all hours to get some relief. She knew that being in pain was bad, but being in pain and not being able to rest and heal was torture for her body.

“I couldn’t bend over, walk, sit or drive for long periods of time,” she said. “My left knee wasn’t straight due to my pinched sciatic nerve. I had two herniated disks and a collapsed vertebra, all of which stemmed from an auto accident.”

Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal trauma and back pain– even minor fender benders can result in severe pain and injuries that may develop later down the road. After Tamara’s accident, her health began to spiral downward and she was forced to put her active lifestyle on hold. Not only could she not sleep, but she was unable to play tennis and other sports that she used to enjoy. She knew her sleepless, inactive lifestyle wasn’t healthy, and decided that it was time to seek help from a spine specialist.

“My husband had spinal surgery at another practice and we weren’t pleased with the experience,” Tamara said. “I didn’t want to have that same experience, so I researched a few places and Dr. Patel’s name was the first to pop up!”

Tamara immediately scheduled an appointment with Dr. Chetan Patel, a world-renowned spine specialist at the Spine Health Institute in Altamonte Springs, Fla. After an evaluation and a few diagnostic tests, Dr. Patel was able to successfully diagnose her with an L4-5 synovial cyst, L4-5 stenosis and L4-5 spondylolisthesis.

Click here to visit our SpineU video library for educational videos on prevention and treatment of various spine conditions.

The first step in Tamara’s plan of care was conservative treatment that included epidural injections, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medicine and an oral steroid. After she completed this course of therapy with no significant improvement, Dr. Patel decided that surgery would be the best route for Tamara. In May of 2015, he performed a left L4-5 hemilaminectomy, a synovial cyst removal and a spinal fusion at Florida Hospital Altamonte.

“I’ve heard horror stories about spine surgery and many people told me not to do it,” Tamara said. “But I was so confident in Dr. Patel and his team, and I knew that I could trust him.”

Fifteen minutes after her surgery, Tamara was asked to get up and walk around – and to her surprise, she was able to walk for an extended period of time with minimal pain. With her condition successfully treated, she was also able to sleep better the night after her surgery.

Tamara said that she’s glad she chose to have the surgery at a practice with a top-notch surgeon and medical team.   

“You could tell from the very beginning that I was somewhere special,” Tamara said. “Everyone kept telling me that I had the best doctor here. They made me feel comfortable and gave me hope.”

Tamara completed her physical therapy and is now able to walk several miles a day without any difficulty. She was impressed by the level of care she received at Florida Hospital and the Spine Health Institute, and said that if she ever had to have treatment again, she would always choose Florida Hospital.

View our Back to Basics videos to discover proper bending, lifting and twisting techniques.

“Everyone was fantastic, even the Florida Hospital experience was great,” Tamara said. “The customer experience was great, but I hate to call it ‘customer experience’ because I never once felt like a customer. Thank you for everything you’ve done!”

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.