Up until about three years ago, Skip Wilde led a very active life.
The Norwalk resident owned several Domino’s Pizza stores and a gym. He was active in the community and in his church and enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren. It was a busy, but good life—or at least it was until Wilde started feeling sciatica nerve pain in January 2014.
“I was on my feet a lot and, boy, I just could not stand,” Wilde remembers. “The only thing that gave me relief was sitting. That's something that I didn't want to be doing for the rest of my life.”
Wilde saw a chiropractor. He tried physical therapy and nerve blocks. None of it helped. “It was getting worse and worse,” he says.
Wilde’s family physician suggested he make an appointment with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Don Moore, who moved to Ohio after practicing for 16 years in Florida to lead a program called Cleveland Clinic Spine Surgery at Fisher-Titus. The goal of the program, which launched in 2013, is to provide patients in Norwalk and the surrounding area with access to innovative surgical treatments for spinal disorders, including minimally invasive techniques that result in less postoperative pain and faster recovery.
That all sounded great to Wilde, who was more than ready for surgery. “We were approved through insurance,” he recalls. “And I said, ‘Do this as soon as you can.’"
Wilde’s problem, says Moore, was a “vertebral body that had a developmental problem, causing him to have this pain down the right leg.” The solution was to put in a spacer that elevated the two vertebral bodies apart and pushed the one vertebral body back in alignment with the one below, so that it created more space for the nerve exiting at that space.
This way, his nerve would no longer be compressed and his leg pain would go away.
“I remember waking up in the hospital saying, ‘Wow, my back doesn't hurt,’” Wilde says.
That was two years ago. Since then, Wilde has been pain-free.
“I do everything that I could prior to when I got injured,” Wilde says. “I feel blessed that I was able to have the surgery and I can't say enough about Dr. Moore and his assistant there. They know what they're doing and, boy, do they get it done and change people's lives.”
While back surgery was the answer for Wilde, Moore cautions that all cases are different. And surgery is rarely—if ever—his first suggestion. In fact, he believes we do too many spine surgeries in this country when other options, including physical therapy and pain management, are more effective in many cases. That’s why it’s so important to have a medical team you can trust.
“A lot of MRI scans and X-rays can look deceivingly abnormal, and I think that's one of the reasons why we probably do too many spine surgeries in this country,” Moore says. “A lot of patients probably didn't need the surgery right away or didn’t need surgery at all if they understood what they had.”
The lesson? “My advice is to be informed,” he says. “If they don't think they understand what's going on with their body or with their condition, I think it really makes sense that they come back and see me. The patient is the consumer, ultimately speaking, and it’s up to us to make sure they're getting what they need.”
For Wilde, surgery was the right option. Of course he’s thrilled that his pain is gone, but he’s also grateful that he was able to receive world-class medical care—only 1.2 miles from his home. “For a town of our size to have the hospital that we have, and all the different facilities we have and all the things we can do at this local hospital is amazing,” he says. “I didn’t have to go get my back done in Cleveland—and I don’t take that for granted.”
Are you experiencing back-related pain? Many non-surgical treatments are effective in relieving pain. First, though, you have to find out what’s causing the problem. Call us today at 419-660-0198 to make an appointment with an expert who can help find the best option for you.