Is it possible to feel stronger at age 73 than 43? It is if you’re Ruth Rancod. Her days are now measured in the smiles she receives from her great-grandson, Ryder, not the pain that once forced her to crawl to the bathroom in agony.
“It seems I was in pain half my life,” recalls Ruth. “Now, I can walk. My energy levels are higher than they have been for decades, and I can really enjoy Ryder now.”
At one point, Ruth’s pain became so serious, her spine surgeon, Dr. Michael Berry, ORA Orthopedics, was concerned she would eventually be paralyzed. “Ruth suffered from both neck and back pain. She originally came to me for pinched nerves in her lower back. The pain was radiating throughout her legs, making it difficult for her to walk. She had problems with balance, dropping objects and she couldn’t make her hands work,” says Dr. Berry.
In Ruth’s first operation, Dr. Berry addressed the pinched nerves in her neck caused by wear and tear along with arthritis of the cervical disks. Says Ruth, “Dr. Berry said I had no cushioning left in my neck and without surgery, I’d be paralyzed within a year.”
Her family is important to her, and it was imperative I relieve the pressure on her spinal cord to restore both her movement and her quality of life.”
– Dr. Michael Berry, Spine Surgeon, ORA Orthopedics
By performing a procedure called a posterior cervical laminectomy, Dr. Berry removed Ruth’s deteriorated disks. He then fused her neck together with plates and screws over multiple levels in order to prevent any future shifting of her spinal column. The procedure helped reduce pressure on the spinal cord and restored her range of motion quickly.
With her neck stabilized, Dr. Berry then addressed the pain in Ruth’s lower back, which was causing problems with everyday movement like sitting and walking. “Ruth was suffering from what we call lumbar spinal stenosis, one of the most common causes of back pain I see in patients,” he explains. “Essentially the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the nerves (in Ruth’s case the lower back). The nerves become compressed — radiating pain to the legs and hips. In Ruth’s second procedure, I performed a laminectomy with no fusion, cleaning out the old tissue and bone spurs that were pinching her lower back nerves.”
The result for Ruth is nothing short of miraculous. “I healed very fast. I feel better than I have in 30 years. I am back doing the things I love. It’s just wonderful and I am not in any pain. I can play. I can wrestle and I love spending time with both my granddaughters and Ryder. Dr. Berry has been wonderful. I’m just so grateful to have my life back.”