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Making peace with the painful past and never looking back

By the time John Lobo realised that an injury from the past had come back to haunt him, it was already too late. Every time he got up to walk he would experience excruciating pain in his back and legs.

A diligent and hard-working man, who enjoyed working outdoors, the 58-year-old Estate Supervisor was forced to stay indoors as he was unable to walk or even lift his leg. In the past, he used to multi-task a lot like driving and transporting goods, farming, walking around the estate and so on. During his childhood, John had hurt himself badly, twice. Around six months ago, he had a fall but did not pay much attention to it. In August, he suddenly developed pain in the back and hip area. It kept getting worse and the pain moved to his legs. There was lot of numbness and he was unable to lift his left leg. His movements became highly restricted and he could hardly get up to do anything. He was taking alternative treatment for some time but his condition did not improve at all. That is when his son decided to consult doctors in Bangalore. They met Dr. Suresh Kodappala at Fortis Hospitals, who directed them to Dr. S. Satish, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Fortis Hospitals. John was diagnosed with Lumbar Disc Prolapse with Secondary Canal Stenosis.

This is a spinal condition where the discs between the vertebrae begin to lose their elasticity, which in turn creates pressure within the disc’s gel-like nucleus. This forces the nucleus against the fibrous outer disc wall, causing the disc wall to tear and nucleus material to push into the spinal column. It results in lower back pain as well as numbness, muscle weakness in the lower body and leg pain. When an intervertebral disc bulges out and nucleus material enters the spinal canal and it pinches or compresses the nerves in the canal.

Dr. S. Satish, did a detailed examination and asked John to undergo Lumbar Microdiscectomies and Decompressive Surgery. In this procedure, part of the damaged disc is removed to relieve the pressure on the nerves and alleviate the pain. The surgery involved a small incision to the skin over the spine, removal of some ligament and bone material to access the disc and the removal of some of the disc material.

“He had a long history (more than two years) of symptoms with no relief. He had tried many types of conservative treatments but to no avail. Following the procedure, he improved significantly and is on the road to recovery. He is already able to carry out daily activities and is likely to improve further. In time, he will be able to do most of the physical work that he enjoyed doing earlier,” said Dr. Satish.

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