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Neurosurgical procedure grants veteran pain relief, new paths

By Admin | November 12, 2021

Pain’s relentless grip seized Deborah Horelle for five years. Aching sensations trickled down her lower back, radiating to her legs with numbness, tingling, and weakness. That pain finally relented after physicians at Loma Linda University Health performed neurosurgery on her spine. Feeling freed, Horelle could once more stand, walk, and smile.

“This surgery has given me back the hope in life I’d lost due to severe and debilitating pain,” Horelle says. “I have the opportunity for a new life, a new path, because of the doctors at Loma Linda University Health.”

The 52-year-old veteran had been enduring the problematic symptoms of a condition known as lumbar radiculopathy with lumbar stenosis. Horelle had developed degrative arthritis in her lower back, and the years-long wear and tear on her spine led to pinched nerves.

"I had no life inside my home. I had no life outside my home." - Deborah Horelle

These nerves appear at the end of the spinal cord, nestled in the spinal canal filled with clear cerebrospinal fluid, says Anish Sen, MD, a neurosurgeon at Loma Linda University Health. Their fibrous splay is aptly named cauda equina, Latin for “horse’s tail,” Sen says, and they provide both motion and sensation to the legs.

“This can really interfere with daily life,” Sen says. “When the symptoms set in, they can become debilitating and even prevent you from leaving your home to walk around in public.”

Horelle says she felt this acutely as she struggled with back pain, leg pain, weakness, and incontinence.  The combinations of symptoms prevented Horelle from performing basic life tasks and contributed to her depression.

"I couldn't walk or even stand to make coffee," she says. "I had no life inside my home. I had no life outside my home."

For years Horelle had been receiving care through Veterans Affairs, but this summer, her pain became so unbearable that she obtained a referral to seek surgery from a health institution in the nearby community. She chose Loma Linda University Health because a previous second-hand experience at the hospital allowed her to observe the high quality of care teams delivered to...(More)

For more info please read, Neurosurgical procedure grants veteran pain relief, new paths, by Loma Linda University Health

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