For a while, it seemed that Kelly Montgomery’s life revolved around pain. As a student nurse anesthetist, she prevented it. But after a back injury, it was her own pain that needed attention.
Montgomery has always been very active. “I had just started a new workout routine when I first hurt my back,” she says, “but physical therapy did the trick.” Then, she was working in the operating room when she reinjured her back. “This time it was so much worse,” she says.
She returned to her trusted physical therapist, Mike Schmidt at Duke Physical Therapy. But this time, therapy and pain medication weren’t enough. Complicating matters was Montgomery’s upcoming wedding. “He could see the panic in my face,” says Montgomery. She didn’t want to be in pain on her wedding day. Schmidt didn’t want her to, either.
Neither did Anand Joshi, MD — the Duke interventional spine specialist Schmidt referred Montgomery to. After an initial exam, Joshi immediately suspected a herniated disc. An MRI confirmed it. “She was having debilitating pain that was also radiating down her leg,” says Joshi. “So it was a double whammy.”