Maureen is an active stay-at-home mom whose schedule includes kick-boxing, spinning, distance walking, and more. The 47 year old felt a sharp pain in her left leg in October 2006 after she made a "funny move." A family physician referred her to a OrthoVirginia spine expert, who diagnosed stenosis of the L4 and L5 discs in the lower back. Rather than operate, the surgeon recommended a non-surgical approach, one that Maureen says worked.
Brett Robinson, MD, head of the OrthoVirginia pain management clinic, treated Maureen. She says his warm bedside manner and technical skill helped take the stress out of a difficult situation. "He was wonderful," Maureen says. "He was professional and calm and took the time to explain everything. It took a potentially frightening procedure and made it understandable and manageable."
Dr. Robinson first evaluated Maureen’s pain and decided whether clinic physicians reasonably could reduce or eliminate the pain on site. He injected a series of steroid epidurals into the spine to eliminate inflammation and help determine the source of pain. Fortunately, the shots alone were enough to let Maureen resume her normal routine.
"I'd say the pain I had is 90 percent gone," she says. "I had three shots in all over a period of six weeks, the last one coming in mid-February. Since then, I've gotten back to all my regular activities, basically without any real pain. I'd say I'm really doing great."
While not all orthopaedic patients are good candidates for epidural shots, the treatment worked for Maureen. “My approach … is that we're doing epidurals to determine what's going on inside,” Dr. Robinson says. “Many patients expect immediate relief, but that doesn't always happen.”Yet, he says, good results as in Maureen’s case usually last a long time.