Patient Success Stories
Surgical Success Story - Spondylolisthesis
Beth enjoys gardening, sewing and
cooking. As a retired physical
therapist, she is familiar with the care of
sore elbows, shoulders, hips and backs.
When she started having low back and
leg pain, Beth tried some special stretching
exercises to help relieve her pain. When
her symptoms did not go away after a
couple weeks, she made an appointment
to see her orthopedic physician.
The physician examined Beth and
ordered diagnostics, the results showed that
Beth had spinal osteoarthritis. Her physician
encouraged her to try conservative care to
help relieve her symptoms, such as nonsteroidal
and home exercises. He also referred her
to fellowship-trained spine surgeon, Dr.
Nicholas Wills at Summit Spinecare. Beth
tried the nonsurgical care and found that
her pain symptoms did improve, at least for
In May 2010, while traveling, Beth
once again started having low back and
leg pain. This time her symptoms were
radiating down into her knee. Beth tried
doing some stretching exercises for her
spine and core muscles. She also took
some anti-inflammatories to help relieve
her pain. But nothing seemed to work. Her
pain was worse than before, to the point
she had difficulty even walking. Everyday
activities like cooking or gardening were
Beth made an appointment to see
spine specialist Dr. Nicholas Wills. During
her appointment, Dr. Wills ordered an MRI
of Beth’s spine, the results showed that
she had spondylolisthesis. Beth’s vertebrae
was out of alignment and because of the vertebrae shifting and bone growths on the
affected vertebrae, her nerve roots were
compressed and causing her pain.
Spondylolisthesis is caused by joint
instability in the low back. The rear part
of spinal vertebrae has facet joints that act
as hinges, allowing our spines to twist and
bend. Either from heredity or wear and tear,
the joint weakens causing the vertebrae to
slip forward out of its correct position.
Dr. Wills explained the treatment
options to Beth, both nonsurgical and
surgical. After weighing her options, Beth
decided that surgery was the best way
for her to return to her active lifestyle. In
June 2010, Dr. Wills performed the lumbar
surgery and fusion to remove pressure on
the nerve roots.
Beth felt immediate relief from her low
back and leg pain. She was able to get out of
bed and walk with assistance the same day
of her surgery. Beth was careful to follow
the post surgery care instructions and she
wore a brace to help support her spine for
six weeks after her surgery. She gradually
started walking longer distances until she
was up to two miles. Beth also incorporated
special stretches and exercises to help
strengthen her core and spine muscles. She
was happy to return to some of her favorite
activities including gardening and sewing.
“Before my surgery, I could not stand
or sit for any length of time, I’m thankful to
be back to my normal activities,” remarks
Beth. “Dr. Wills and his physician assistant,
Matthew, made sure all of my questions were
answered, before and after my surgery.”
Today, Beth is pain free and enjoying
gardening and hobbies like making 50 cot
covers for her church’s daycare.
Click here to download a pdf of Beth's complete story.
About Summit Spinecare | Spine Center approach to back and neck pain | Mobi-C Artificial Disc Replacement | Spine Surgeons: Dr. Bryan Lynn | Dr. Nicholas Wills | Nonsurgical Spine Physicians: Dr. John Dowdle | Dr. Thomas Cesarz | Anatomy Library | Back and Neck Pain Prevention | Spine Pain Relief | Symptoms Chart | Educational Resources | How to Lift | Spine Conditions: | Back Pain | Neck Pain | Degenerative Disc | Herniated Disc | Spondylolysis | Spinal Stenosis | Scoliosis | Bone Spur | Spine Tumors | Back and Neck Pain Treatment | Spine Surgery | Contact Summit Spine Care | Woodbury Minnesota Location | Forest Lake Minnesota Location | Hastings Minnesota Location | St Paul Minnesota Location (near Saint Paul Cathedral) | Eagan Minnesota Location
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