Friday, March 9, 2012

Lady gravedigger to get spinal disc replacement for pain of injured neck.

San Francisco spine surgeon Dr. Kenneth Light says spinal disc replacement can relieve pain and restore range of movement in injured necks and backs. "Patients often have a more rapid recovery than with other types of surgeries, such as fusions," says Dr. Light.

Shawndra West, 49, works as a cemetery caretaker and gravedigger. She says "Since I had an injury on the job I have been in constant pain for over a year, trying to keep working while I dealt with worker’s comp issues. I was finishing my day at the cemetery. putting away the 4-wheel lawnmower when it got away from me, stopped suddenly and threw me head over heels. I struck my head on a metal pipe and was nearly knocked out.” Shawndra soon learned that she had herniated the discs in her C-5 and C-6 cervical vertebrae and the ruptured discs were pressing into her spinal cord, causing extreme pain.

“Believe it or not, since then my primary treatment has been using ice packs as I visited several doctors and dealt with worker’s comp insurance issues on what they would cover and which surgeon I could choose for surgery. I pride myself on being able to deal with anything and I tried to put surgery off, but by last Christmas I realized that I couldn’t take it any longer.” Shawndra was forced to quit working. She says that during the past year she ended up in the hospital twice with extreme migraine headaches caused by her injuries.

"In the past, the only course of treatment for people with certain back or neck injuries has been a spinal fusion procedure, done to stabilize the spine," says Dr. Light.

"Now we have an alternative - spinal disc replacement using a device called the “ProDisc-L or C Implant,” says Dr. Light. “Artificial disc replacement is performed to fix complicated back and neck injuries without resorting to a spinal fusion. The implant has been designed to maintain the physiological range of motion in the spine." An added benefit is shortened recovery time for most patients, says Dr. Light. "Most patients experience little downtime after the procedure and can often return to most regular activities in a matter of days."

Shawndra says she is looking forward to having her procedure and getting back to her active life.

Doctor's P.R. provides health, aesthetic and medical news and information via broadcast, online and print media. All articles and physician statements are intended for general informational purposes only and are not to be used as medical advice. Always consult a physician for advice on any specific medical condition or when considering any treatment or procedure. 

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