HSS physiatry, surgery, PT and performance got me back on the tennis court after 2 years and back running after 25 years!
I have been active my whole life - gymnastics, biking, tennis, running, college rugby. Recently, competitive tennis has been my main form of activity. For the past 10 years my back would spasm two or three times a year and slow me down for a time but I would always recover. In early 2018 I had two spasms from which I could not recover and an MRI showed that a herniation was sitting on my nerve causing sciatic pain.
I saw physiatrist Dr. Ellen Casey to help me because as a former gymnast herself she would understand my body and because I was determined to avoid surgery. Dr. Casey smartly put me in touch with Laurey Lou, PT, who saw the ways in which she could strengthen my hips and core and change the way I move to get me relief from pain and back on the tennis court. It was constantly one step forward, two steps back. I managed to "graduate" from PT to work with HSS exercise physiologist Max Castrogaleas. However, no matter how hard I worked, the sciatic pain persisted for over 2 years. It defined my life and limited my ability to sit, exercise, travel, socialize or even push a grocery cart. Laurey and Dr. Casey agreed it was time to speak to a surgeon. Dr. Casey recommended Dr. Quereshi.
When Dr. Quereshi told me he would make a 1 inch incision in my back, spare cutting my muscle, use a robotic tool to remove the herniation and decompress my disc, and, that I would walk out the same day pain-free, I said YES! A week later (3/5/20) I had surgery.
In April I started working with Laurey Lou via Zoom twice a week to get me back in shape. She is the master of improvisation and came up with novel ways to get results without the ideal equipment. Thanks to the minimally invasive approach and the great hip and core muscle foundation and new movement techniques Laurey helped me build, I recovered quickly. Three months after surgery I started running and getting on the tennis court. Seven months post-surgery, at 50-years-old, I am running 4 miles which is something I have not done in 25 years. I can ride my bike 20 miles. And today I played a real game of doubles and even ran down few lobs.
Most importantly, I have been pain-free for 7 months and being able to move again has allowed me to lose the weight I gained from inactivity. I am in the best shape I have been since I'm 25.
I am so grateful to Dr. Quereshi and am supporting his research on minimally invasive surgical outcomes so that more patients like me have the information they need to make smart decisions. I wish there were a hundred Dr. Quereshi's in the world because then a lot more people would be pain free and active. And I wish there were 100 Laurey Lou's because she is a master at her job, even over Zoom. I am so grateful for HSS and it's amazing staff and resources. You really changed my life! And in the middle of a pandemic!!! Thank you!