Spinal Champion: Back Surgeon ‘Saved My Life’

by Dr. Thomas Schuler, NSHF Medical & Scientific Board Chairman

Recently, while Dr. Rita Roy and I traveled to Las Vegas to film a Spine-Talks panel session with members of our Medical and Scientific Board, we were blessed with a wonderful story from an unexpected Spinal Champion. A member of the film crew in Caesar’s Palace, hired through the hotel, approached Dr. Roy and myself to tell us an amazing personal story of triumph. He had been involved in a motor vehicle accident and developed severe neck pain that failed extensive nonoperative management, and was suffering to the point that he was unable to do his job. He was distraught and felt that his life was over.

Fortunately, he met with an expert who counseled him that the best way to solve his problem would be a cervical disc replacement surgery. After undergoing the surgery, his pain was immediately resolved and he regained his full and active life. Ironically, he was so much better that he was there filming our Spine- Talks! When I asked him about his recovery, he told me, in reference to his surgeon, that “he saved my life.”

Back Surgery Recovery Can Be Live-Saving

On the surface, this seems like an exaggeration. Nobody performed CPR on him, nobody pushed him out of the way of a speeding locomotive, and nobody pulled him from a raging river, yet he felt his life was saved. The deleterious impact that chronic pain has on one’s mind, psyche and ability to function makes people feel that life as they know it has ended. But the miracles of modern spinal treatments can return patients to the people and activity they enjoy. That is what we at the foundation are passionate about sharing: knowledge about treatments that are available that could help people overcome their disability, their pain, and end their suffering so that they regain their quality of life.

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The National Spine Health Foundation educates Americans about prevention and treatment options so that they can make the best decisions for their spinal health care. Oftentimes, people suffering from a debilitating spinal condition are confused, isolated and feel that their life has ended. However, when learning about the promise of modern spinal treatments, they begin to understand that they can overcome their challenge and get back to their lives. We believe that the power of hope comes through knowledge.

By providing unparalleled access to world class experts through our Spine-Talks web platform, people can hear directly from nationally recognized leaders in spinal care. We are excited to have 50 of the nation’s top spinal experts on our Medical and Scientific Board who are available for Spine-Talks. Our goal is to give people the most thorough and up to date information so that they can make the best decision about their treatment options and get back to doing the things they most enjoy.

Over one-third of our nation suffers with significant neck or back pain. We can do better, and the Foundation is working to deliver education not only from our experts on Spine-Talks, but also through sharing patient success stories from our Spinal Champion community through our award winning ‘Get Back To It’ Podcast.

NSHF is here to educate the public and to advocate for everyone to have access to the best quality spine care so that everyone can live a full and active life. We welcome all interested people and organizations to join us on our mission to improve spinal health care for all Americans through education, research and advocacy.

*This piece is from our Spine Health Journal. Find past copies here!