PA is a local attorney who had the misfortune of having low back surgery in high school, which led to back surgery problems in his 40s. Being an active aging athlete with a dirt bike career on the side, one day in 2013 his back gave out. He was told he needed surgery, now almost two years later he’s never needed that procedure thanks to Regenexx and Dr. Schultz’s excellent care.
One of the big downsides of low back surgery at a young age is that the disc often collapses after the procedure. In PA’s case, by 2013 he had severe degenerative disc disease with stenosis due to arthritis putting pressure on the S1 nerve. His L5-S1 disc was completely collapsed.
When he first saw Dr. Schultz, PA had numbness and tingling down his leg (sciatica) and had failed physical therapy. The next step in his treatment was an epidural steroid injection (ESI) or low back surgery. A steroid ESI injects a powerful anti-inflammatory, but also inhibits local healing. From a surgical perspective, options included an artificial disc or a fusion. The former would insert a hockey puck sized piece of metal into his back that would have to be replaced a few more times in his life. The latter would mean that the L5-S1 level was fused solid, causing overload and arthritis of the SI joints below and the L4-L5 segment above.
Instead of all of that, PA chose Regenexx procedures. He had one Regenexx-DDD procedure focusing on using his own growth factors from his blood platelets to calm down the nerves in his back and provide additional stability by tightening ligaments. That was followed up by three more procedures in 2014, which allowed him to finish to the 2014 dirt biking season. This is what he wrote to Dr. Schultz:
“I feel like I should tour high schools or have a second opinion brochure in the waiting room or a hotline for people in my situation so I can stay STOP –Don’t do it! You can heal and even race endurance dirt bike races if you go see John Schultz!!”
PA is of course referring to his bad decision in high school to have low back surgery.
The upshot? As PA says-don’t get back surgery! While this seems like a simple and obvious message, you’d be surprised how many patients, in agony for just too long and not fully briefed on advanced non-surgical options like Regenexx, end up under the surgeon’s knife only to regret that decision!