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Every Day is a Good Day Now that Back Pain is Gone

May 20, 2016
Jewel Henry is used to hard work and the aches and pains that go with it. After a career in the military, he became a mail handler, a career he’s had for almost 21 years. As part of his job, he carries the heavy containers of bulk mail that arrive at the main post office in Baltimore City. Over time, back pain became a regular part of his day and, as the years passed, that pain became more and more severe.

“I toughed it out for years, figuring it was just what happens when you have the kind of job I do,” he says. “But eventually, I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I lost feeling in my feet, my back hurt all the time and I could barely walk upstairs. I could never get comfortable. Once, my wife and I were driving from Baltimore to Detroit. We hadn’t been on the road for long, but I had to pull over at a rest stop because sitting was so uncomfortable. I was living with this pain every day and it was getting in the way, keeping me from doing what I wanted.”

Time to talk about surgery

Mr. Henry tried physical therapy and steroid injections to help relieve his back pain and these treatments helped for a while. Eventually, however, they became less effective. A friend who was also retired from the military recommended he see the physician who had helped him with his back pain, Bimal Rami, MD, FACS, Division Head of Neurosurgery at GBMC and physician with Greater Baltimore Neurosurgical Associates (GBNA).

“Mr. Henry had moderate to severe spinal stenosis,” explains Dr. Rami. “This condition puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, which is what causes the pain and the numbness he experienced. Because physical therapy and steroid injections were no longer working, I performed a laminectomy and fusion. This surgery decompresses the spinal canal and stabilizes the spine by placing rods and screws in the back and front of the spine to help reinforce the damaged areas.”

“Every day is a good day for me now,” says Mr. Henry. “I don’t have the pain and numbness. I can stand up straight and tall. If I had known that surgery could work this well, I wouldn’t have waited so long! I’m so glad I found Dr. Rami. I felt very confident in him from the moment we met. I always planned to travel across the country in an RV with my wife when I retire. Now, I’ll be able to enjoy the trip!”

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