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What a Relief

Posted on July 5, 2017 in Patient Stories

What a Relief! 15 months of pain eased by procedure at Parkwest Medical Center     

Getting hit in the head by a machine gun barrel produces a kind of pain like no other. Retired U.S. Army veteran Larry Britton, 73, knows from experience.     

“It snapped around and knocked me colder than a cucumber,” Larry says. “If I hadn’t had my helmet on it would have killed me.”     

That’s exactly how he describes the pain he used to have in his hip before undergoing surgery at Parkwest Medical Center. Lying down at night hurt. Playing golf hurt. He carried the pain with him everywhere he went, and his wife says it even affected the way he walked.   “I noticed he couldn’t walk straight,” Carolyn Britton says. “He would always swing his leg around.” On a scale of one to 10, Larry says he would consistently rate the pain at eight or higher.     

Larry didn’t like the idea of joint replacement surgery, but he’d been told it likely would be his best option for relieving the unrelenting pain. Frustrated and suffering, the Brittons decided to make an appointment with joint replacement surgeon Herman Botero, DO. As Larry and Carolyn sat in Dr. Botero’s office and stared at the X-rays, they were amazed by what they saw, and just as much by what they didn’t see. Larry’s hip was fine. He didn’t need a hip replacement after all.    

Harboring a hunch, Dr. Botero performed a few simple tests in the examining room, and when Carolyn mentioned that her husband had been “walking funny,” Dr. Botero asked Larry to demonstrate. That day Larry heard for the first time that the cause of his pain was likely the result of nerve damage from a condition called cervical myelopathy, a condition caused by narrowing of the spinal canal.     

Larry was referred to orthopedic spine surgeon Luke Madigan, MD, who formally diagnosed and verified what Dr. Botero suspected. The source of the suffering was cervical myelopathy, a condition caused by narrowing of the spinal canal in Larry’s neck. Dr. Madigan recommended a surgical procedure at Parkwest Medical Center to help ease the pain.

Larry was ready to do whatever was necessary to alleviate the pain. His wife wasn’t quite as enthusiastic. “I’ll just be honest, I was terrified,” Carolyn says. “It was very scary for me.”     

  After the surgery on his neck, the pain in his hip finally eased. Cautious recovery is important after any procedure on the spine, and Larry has had to bide his time as he heals. Even so, he’s already thrilled with the results.      The hip pain doesn’t keep him awake, he can walk a straight line, and he grins as he shares that he can chip and putt. Larry hopes to get back to playing golf later this year.         

“Fifteen months and four doctors,” Larry says in amazement as he recounts the journey from pain to relief through Parkwest Medical Center. “I tell you what, Dr. Madigan is a super man – he’s on the ball!”