My spine problems started many years ago working as a Firefighter/Paramedic. I’ve had chronic back pain and at times bulging discs that would lead me down the path of chiropractic care, which would allow for temporary relief. About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with scoliosis and then later spinal stenosis. My legs and lower back would become increasingly numb after just a few minutes of standing or walking short distances. I talked with my primary doctor and she referred me to Washington University Spine and Back center. I received an MRI, various x-rays and the physicians referred me to Dr. Ronald Lehman for consultation.
Dr. Lehman evaluated me and saw what were textbook symptoms for spinal stenosis and chronic back issues. Dr. Lehman then asked if I had any deficits on either side. Being a Paramedic for 30 years I pretty much knew that I did not. He did some tests such as ‘standing right and left toe raises’ while leaning up against the wall. I know people have greater strength on the dominant side, which is the right side for me, but after a few other tests, I was surprised that I had significant deficits to both my right arm and leg.
The next words out of his mouth were, “Your back isn’t the urgent problem. It’s your cervical spine. You have a herniated disc at C-5 and 6 pushing on your spinal cord.“
He showed me the white spot on the films. He stated that this could become a catastrophic injury even with the slightest of trauma. I immediately came “off the truck” or “light duty,” and in a week he did my surgery.
Dr. Lehman removed the old disc and replaced it with a cadaver disk, then fused the area for stability. I can’t express enough gratitude for a diagnosis and surgery that went extremely well. I had very little down time and could get back to work in a light duty capacity in only 2 days.