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Barbara’s story: Feeling ‘blessed’ after back surgery

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Barbara Martens

Debilitating back pain was limiting Barbara's life

Barbara Martens is grateful to be able to work in her garden again after successful treatment for debilitating back pain that made it a chore to enjoy her peaceful pastime.

Martens, who is in her late 70s, sought help for her back pain when it became nearly unbearable.

“I think it started over the summer ... I had, had pain in my lower back and right hip for probably a couple of weeks before that,” Martens says. “I was cutting grass on a real bumpy piece of our property, and I was in considerable pain when I got off the lawn mower.”

Her back pain was so severe, that performing simple household chores often posed a struggle.

“There was a couple weeks I had to use a walker. I couldn’t even walk by myself it was so painful,” she says.

Eventually, she sought medical help. The treatments initially were conservative – pain injections – but proved ineffective.

Martens, who lives in Pound, a village in Marinette County, Wisconsin, was advised to consult a surgeon for treatment. That’s when she turned to Dr. Jack Leschke, a neurological surgeon with BayCare Clinic Neurological Surgeons.

Leschke determined surgery was the best option for Martens. He performed her laminectomy. It’s a procedure that reduces pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots by removing bone spurs and tissues related to spinal arthritis. It usually involves removing a small piece of the back part of the small bones of the spine.

The procedure is typically administered when conservative measures have failed.

Patients often recover within four to six weeks, although some recover over the course of a few months, depending on their age and general health.

Martens felt immediate relief after surgery. 

“It was excellent,” she says. “When I came out of anesthesia, I had no pain in my leg at all … It was amazing. Jesus and Dr. Leschke changed my life.”

Martens did not require physical therapy or any related follow-up treatments. However, she incorporated moderate exercises into her day-to-day to help regain her strength.

Today, she indulges in the activities she enjoys, especially working in her garden.

“I’m just still so blessed to be able to get my life back,” she says.

Published: Monday, December 19, 2022
Author: Danielle Dungan