Spinal Champion® Ray: Professional Runner’s Success After Surgery

Recovery from back pain is possible. We have seen this firsthand in the stories of our Spinal Champion®. A Spinal Champion is a person who has achieved an improved quality of life through treatment for neck or back pain and we want to share one with you today.

Running After Back Pain

Ray Pugsley has been running most of his life. He ran in high school, college and post-collegiately for Reebok. In 1996, he qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 5,000 meters on the track.

Unfortunately, he soon suffered a herniated disc in L5 S1. After consulting with doctors, he underwent a laminectomy. His recovery from the surgery went very well and he was able to run personal records in all of his running events within a couple of years of surgery. This isn’t what most people would expect of someone who underwent back surgery.

>>>>> From Injured to Athlete: Hope and Victory After Surgery

Common myths of surgery include being debilitated for a lifetime, never finding healing, or needing to accept pain as a part of life. With a pro-active mindset, consults with the right doctors, and sufficient physical therapy and time, it’s possible to fully recover.

Success and Recovery Continued

Ray has had several other procedures over the years, but continues to thrive in recovery, taking his time and listening to his doctors about how to proceed.

>>>> Ray Pugsley Interview: A Spinal Champion Story

As a Masters runner, after age 40, Ray finished 2nd at the Cross Country Championships and even ran his fastest marathon in 2013. Ray is a member of the National Spine Health Foundation Board and the owner of Potomac River Running.

As a Spinal Champion®, Ray shows others that are dealing with pain and injury that there is hope to run after back pain, and do even more. With the right procedures and enough time, many are able to overcome the thing they thought would set them back for a lifetime.

Spinal Champions Overcome Pain

At the National Spine Health Foundation, we are committed to showcasing the many stories of individuals who overcome debilitating pain. Whether it’s a herniated disc, Spondylolisthesis, Scoliosis or another issue, there are options and hope for you. Hearing the success stories of others who have been there can be key to finding the solution that works for you. We share these stories here on the website and on our “Get Back To It” podcast each month.

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Take a look or listen to some of these Spinal Champion stories, consider your options, talk to your doctors, and imagine a pain-free future in which you survive and thrive. Running after back pain is possible — and so are many other things.