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Implanted disc in the spine can reduce upper back, neck pain
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - A medical breakthrough has local surgeons paying attention. It's a permanent upper back and neck pain killer, all without pills.
Laura Rohling, a busy real estate agent, was almost always on the go until one day she said she woke up with crushing pain in her upper back and shoulders.
"No one was home and I couldn’t even roll out of bed without tears streaming out of my eyes,” said Rohling.
By the time she was referred to Dr. John Jacquemin, an orthopaedic surgeon with OrthoCincy who specializes in the spine, Rohling had a herniated disc at two spots in her neck.
"He said he could tell by my MRI that it was just really a bad situation,” said Rohling.
“The discs are cushions between the vertebrae,” said Dr. Jacquemin.
Laura's discs had deteriorated so much that they likely were in pieces hitting a nerve.
While a fusion can often fix this problem, Dr. Jacquemin said instead that Rohling was a good candidate for a newer alternative. It's an artificial disc.
"The artificial disc is for primarily for patients who have a herniated disc, that's pinching the nerve,” said Dr. Jacquemin.
The artificial disc is put in through a small incision in the front of the neck and the bad disc is removed and then a disc, sized to match her own, replaces it.
"It allows things to move forward back, twisting side to side and then bending from side to side as well,” said Dr. Jacquemin.
Dr. Jacquemin says he's been using the disc for a number of years, and so far, almost all of his patients who are good candidates for the procedure have had good success.
He says in about nine out of ten there is some kind of pain reduction, and those patients are on less or no medication following the procedure.
For Rohling, it worked almost immediately.
"I will get a tinge every now and then, but it's not the pain I had before,” said Rohling.
She is sharing her story now so that others will know that, if you have pain from a similar disc problem.
"For me, telling people who need the surgery are in pain and it's chronic, that they should really look into it because It can be life changing,” said Rohling.