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Lockport Woman is on the Move Again after Back Surgery and Rehab at Silver Cross

Lockport Woman is on the Move Again after Back Surgery and Rehab at Silver Cross

As an emergency medical services (EMS) worker in the 1990s, Julie Krejczyk spent a lot of time lifting and moving patients into and out of ambulances. In 2004, she had back surgery to treat a previous injury she suffered as a paramedic.

Earlier this year, the pain returned.

“The sciatica in my back got so bad it was hard to walk around, and eventually the pain switched to my hip, and I was at the point where I had to use a cane to walk around,” the Lockport woman explained.

That’s when she made an appointment to see Dr. Chintan Sampat, board-certified spine surgeon on staff at Silver Cross Hospital. After an MRI revealed a large herniation in one of her spinal disks, Dr. Sampat told Julie that surgery would be the only way to fix the problem.

“He did give me an anti-inflammatory medication, which helped, but he said it really was just a Band-Aid approach,” she said.

Herniated disks usually occur over time when the rubbery disks lose water content, causing them to be less flexible and vulnerable to injury. Symptoms often occur if the herniation compresses a nerve.

“The fastest way to fix a herniated disk causing numbness and weakness, like the one Julie had is through surgery,” Dr. Sampat said. “Most patients actually wake up from surgery feeling relief from the pain.”

Dr. Chintan Sampat

After surgery, Julie didn’t have to travel far for rehabilitation. She chose the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at Silver Cross Hospital. The AbilityLab has both outpatient and inpatient services conveniently located right at Silver Cross.

“Effective rehab is critical to recovery,” Dr. Sampat said. “Normally, it can take up to six weeks to fully recover from this type of surgery. But without a good rehab facility it can take even longer.”

If the herniated disk is causing pain without numbness or weakness, it can often be treated with rehabilitation, physical therapy, and medications.

During each visit, Julie was introduced to two or three new exercises. Even before her two week follow-up visit with Dr. Sampat, she was feeling better. Today, she’s on the move again, enjoying physical activity that she couldn’t before, like walking, hiking and kayaking.

“Dr. Sampat and everyone at Silver Cross were wonderful,” Julie said. “Dr. Sampat took the time to listen to my concerns, and he was really great at explaining the issue and how he was going to fix it.”

For more information about back and spine care at Silver Cross, visit www.silvercross.org

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