Published: Feb. 21, 2011
Updated: Feb. 21, 2011
I had lower back pain on and off for several years, and from time to time saw a chiropractor and that relieved my pain somewhat.
In my early 80s I developed severe pain in my right leg. I went back to my chiropractor for the leg pain but got no permanent relief, so I tried physical therapy.
It felt better for a few minutes after a therapy session, but by the time I got home the pain would be severe again. Next, I tried steroid shots and they relieved the pain for about a day, but the severe pain came back and it was hard to enjoy doing anything, as I was in constant pain.
I came to North Carolina in July of 2010 and met with Dr. Gottfried to see if surgery was an option. He recommended I get an MRI. The MRI showed Dr. Gottfried exactly where the problem was.
He said I had severe lumbar stenosis and that was causing the nerves leading to my leg to be pinched. Nothing I had tried had relieved this awful pain, and Dr. Gottfried said he felt the surgery could relieve the pain.
It seemed good to finally understand what was wrong, and I was ready to try the surgery if there was a chance I could feel better and be able to move without pain again. So in late July 2010, I had a procedure called laminectomy that removed some bone and ligament that was compressing the nerves in my spine.
Dr. Gottfried told me after the surgery that he was able to see the nerves unfolding and fluid filling back in around the nerves once he was able to open up space for them.
It's hard to put into words what it was like to wake up and not have any pain in my leg. It was such a wonderful feeling to have hope again that I would be able to walk and do the things I wanted to do without pain.
I was in the hospital for several days and then went home. After a few weeks of some lower back pain post surgery (that was nothing compared with the leg pain I had been having for several months), I had a complete recovery and no back or leg pain.
I was able to resume my life and start walking a mile a day at 82. I can't say enough good things about what a difference this surgery and Dr. Gottfried have made in my life.
Many thanks to him and Duke University Hospital for my excellent care!