I have a long history of cervical spine issues that began when I broke my neck in a car accident at the age of 19 and had a fusion to stabilize my neck. In the years since, I’ve experienced successive degeneration and eventually had another fusion done. I have a peripheral nerve stimulator that helps immensely with neck pain, but I was starting to have more neurologic symptoms that were difficult to figure out and pain that the nerve stimulator couldn’t help.
I had become less and less active to the point that I was only able to work part time and I couldn’t exercise at all. I was struggling to work 20 hours a week. I had started to wear a neck brace if I rode in the car or had to walk longer than 15 minutes.
I was looking for a doctor who could give me a better understanding of what was causing my varied symptoms and when or if anything should be addressed surgically. I had already been referred to a big specialty spine clinic out-of-state where they looked at my imaging but didn’t care to listen to me. I felt like I was running out of options.
At my first visit with Dr. Jatana, I felt like he really listened and understood what my concerns were. I had a much better understanding of what was likely causing my symptoms and what the next diagnostic step would be to figure it out. Dr. Jatana was able to sort thru a complex history and make sense of it all.
I had some diagnostic injections that helped point to the C4-5 level as the source of most of my pain. The injections gave me more than enough information to proceed with the C4-5 fusion. I also had a questionable pseudarthrosis (fracturing that won’t heal without intervention) at the C7-T1 level. Dr. Jatana recommended doing the C4-5 surgery first and waiting to see if the C7-T1 pseudarthrosis was still problematic after I recovered. There wasn’t a quick or easy solution for me and I really appreciated that Dr. Jatana conveyed to me that patience was part of my treatment plan.
Dr. Jatana operated on me in September 2013. The crushing pain on top of my shoulders and the nerve root pain that I was experiencing was better immediately after surgery. I’m able to work and exercise now. I am getting stronger every day and am able to do things that I haven’t been able to do for years.