It's probably safe to say at some point in your life you will experience some sort of back pain and for a lot of you it will be only temporary thanks to over-the-counter pain meds. But as Nancy Naeve Brown tells us, a gentlemen from Brookings who travels a lot for his job has lower back pain that wouldn't go away and started going down his leg. He finally found relief through the Avera Spine Center.
Kevin Kephart from Brookings doesn't know when it happened or how it happened but something happened that caused chronic lower back pain.
Kevin says, "What really got my attention for the last year to year and a half is leg pain, then fatigue and then very painful leg pain. I would have pain in my right leg or if I'm standing or walking way too much my left leg would go numb like I was shot with Novocain."
He tried physical therapy but didn't get any relief from the pain so he called Renett Geyer, NP the navigator at the Avera Neuroscience Institute Spine Center who connected Kevin with a multi-disciplinary team of specialists including Physiatrist Dr. Thomas Ripperda.
Dr. Ripperda says, "This red mark is what's going on in his back. Once you get a disc herniation it creates inflammation of the nerve routes that go down the leg. Those nerve routes eventually turn into sciatic nerve which people often refer to as sciatica and it's that inflammation from the bulging disc that's causing his pain."."
Kevin's treatment of choice is an epidural steroid injection performed by Avera Anesthesiologist Dr. Scott Lockwood who with the help of X-Ray has pinpoint accuracy as to where the needle should go.
Dr. Ripperda says, "The purpose of that steroid is to calm inflammation down on the disc herniation. The natural history is your body will eat away that disc herniation so that with time your body will eliminate that disc so some inflammation is good but too much inflammation gets those innocent bystanders the nerve routes which create inflammation down the leg."
This is Kevin's second epidural for his back and he says the procedure does not hurt a bit, and believe me I asked him a few times.
Kevin says, "A day later I had no feeling I had an injection but I had new legs. My level of physical activity increased. I've lost 20 pounds since June."
The steroid treatment is a conservative approach Kevin hopes will keep him out of the OR.
Kevin says, "Yes, I'd like to avoid surgery. I'm 53 and I kid my family that I'm the only one in the family who's never spent time in the hospital and I'd like to live up to that and I'd like to live up to that and not have surgery."
So if that means to get rid of the pain in his lower back and legs he has to make a date with a big needle every 3 months, he says he'll gladly do it.
Kevin says his activity level has greatly increased since his first treatment. He thinks walking, running and biking has also helped in his recovery.
For more information about the Avera Neuroscience Institute Spine Center go to:
or contact Renett Geyer the Spine Navigator 322-8805.