• Luciana's Story of Spine Care

Published on August 25, 2021

Luciana's Story of Spine Care

Luciana Gallegos and Amy Wickman, MD standing outdoors with masks on.

“I have the gift of using my legs again!” --Luciana Gallegos

After an accident from a hit-and-run driver while riding her bicycle, Luciana began experiencing more and more pain in her lower back. Her legs would go numb after walking for only 10 to 15 minutes. “It was so frustrating, because I’m very active and love walking, hiking trails and riding my bike,” Luciana said. “And I could no longer enjoy the things I loved.”

Luciana was suffering from both a slipped disc (also known as degenerative spondylolisthesis, which can irritate nearby nerves) and spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the room for the nerve roots).
To make matters worse, steroid injections and physical therapy were no longer providing relief from the pain. For Luciana’s symptoms, surgery was the best solution, but she was fearful about it. “The thought of surgery brought tears to my eyes,” she said, “but I was desperate for relief.” Luciana’s primary care physician referred her to a group of orthopedic specialists.

“Luciana was a great candidate to get her active life back and live with less pain,” said Amy Wickman, MD, an orthopedic spine surgeon and member of the Cottage Health medical staff. “Fortunately, lumbar fusion surgeries are highly successful when done for the right reason.”

Lumbar (or spinal) fusion is a procedure to correct problems in the vertebrae by fusing together two or more of the vertebras, so that they heal into a single, solid bone, and it can eliminate pain and restore stability to the spine.

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