Spinal Champion Story: Cynthia’s Journey

cynthia spinal champ

Back Pain on the Job

Back pain on the job isn’t something anyone wants to experience — let alone a police officer. Already a stressful profession, dealing with a back injury can make things worse. That’s where Cynthia’s story comes in. In her own words below, she shares her Spinal Champion story, how she overcame and hope for others: 

“As a police officer in ‘The Big Easy,’ I proudly served my community for over 12 years. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, I was cleaning up debris and suffered a fall that broke my back at L3/L4.  I suffered through the next two years, trying epidurals, chiropractic, physical therapy, aquatic therapy, and acupuncture – all with no success.

One morning, I rolled over and couldn’t move. A friend recommended Dr. Najeeb Thomas at Southern Brain and Spine, who determined that a spinal fusion was needed. I responded to Dr. Thomas “I don’t have time for surgery, my son is getting married in six months”. Dr. Thomas replied, “Cynthia, if you do not have surgery, you will not be walking down the aisle, you will be in a wheelchair going down the aisle.”

That was enough to convince me to proceed.

Spinal Fusion: Treatment & Recovery

Six months later, I was pain-free for the first time in 2-1/2 years. A few years later, however, I was bending down to clean the floor when I grabbed onto a chair in pain. Dr. Thomas found that my T10 vertebrae was pushing on the T11. Dr. Thomas performed a right-side thoracic laminectomy, using a robot laser to snip part of the disc out. Again, my results were successful and I was able to return to my active life.

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I started experiencing great pain and difficulty walking a year later, which was determined to be one level down from the previous surgery – my T11 vertebrae was pushing on T12. Dr. Thomas performed a left-side thoracic laminectomy. This surgery was also successful, despite last-minute insurance coverage issues, including a suggestion by my insurance company that I should just use a cane!

Cynthia’s Life Today

Dr. Thomas has put me back together one piece at a time; the multiple surgeries on my back in the last five years have given me my life back. I have truly benefited from our special doctor-patient relationship.” 

As you can see, the road can be long, but there is always hope. Spine surgery and treatments have come a long way in the last decade. We love to share stories like Cynthia’s with you to ensure you know you don’t have to live in pain. If you are looking to start your journey to becoming a Spinal Champion, here’s where to begin