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Larry Epstein

Tenafly, NJ
  • Larry Epstein in the photo 1

Over a 15 year period, back pain steadily increased forcing me to limit athletic and then social activities. I had, in retrospect, a relatively minor back surgery to correct a stenosis and several years later a ruptured disk that was pressing on my spinal cord.

In rehab for the ruptured disk, back pain increased and the surgeon stated that I had needed a fusion that he neglected to address going into that surgery. It was not what I expected to hear, or that I had expected him to ignore. I self medicated with increasing amounts of acetaminophen and then naproxen and when I could no longer walk for 200 yards without sitting or standing for more than 5 minutes before my right leg started to get numb, I sought alternate medical advice. Several doctors told me that I was too healthy and strong for the extensive surgery I would need to correct the several issues that were apparent, and advised trying pain management. Dr. Richman gave me 2 courses of injections with the intention of trying to break the cycle of trauma in my back, which failed, proving that I had multiple issues. He recommended me for surgery with Dr. Cammisa. For the month prior to surgery I was on a stationary bike for 45 minutes a day building up my legs, knowing that would help in my recovery.

I was on the operating table for 10 hours, where 3 degenerated discs were replaced with spacers and screws to fuse L1-L4. My back was then opened and two rods held in by 8 screws were inserted to bridge the 3 fused discs, and to partially straighten my scoliosis.

I awoke the next day with all symptoms prior to surgery gone. I walked twice that day with a walker, and then twice the next day on my own, including up and down steps.

I stopped narcotic pain killers within two weeks, and acetaminophen after 6 weeks when all surgical pain ended, and started lower body exercise on an elliptical and stationary bike. I started physical therapy after 12 weeks and continued for 4 months when I was released. I am pain free, can walk as far as I want and participate in whatever activities I wish. I'm playing golf again and I am getting accustomed to a stiffer back, by hey, fewer moving parts make a better swing possible. I have scheduled 3 weeks of powder skiing this coming winter and I have no doubt about my ability to thoroughly enjoy the trip.