The lumbar spine (lower back) is a remarkably complex structure. The L4-L5 are the two lowest vertebrae in the lumbar spine, and together with the attached disc, joints, nerves and soft tissues, it provides a variety of functions, including supporting the upper body and allowing motion in multiple directions.
However, with its heavy load and range of flexibility, the L4-L5 segment is also prone to developing pain from injury and/or from degenerative changes. For Zeinab Mohamed, this pain was excruciating to say the least. “I was lifting a large box full of house supplies when I suddenly experienced really sharp pain down my right leg. The next day, I couldn't get out of bed the pain was so bad. I decided to see my chiropractor the following week and had 4 sessions over a 14 day period,” recalls Zeinab.
All this while, Zeinab was on pain medication. However, even after 14 days, there was still no relief from the sharp pain in her lower back. “My chiropractor suggested me to see a pain management specialist because he thought I was extremely inflamed and he didn't want to adjust my back too much”. It was at this time when Zeinab began searching for options abroad in her quest to find an Orthopedic Spine specialist.
After only two days of scouring the internet, Zeinab was contacted by a Vaidam case manager. After looking at options for best spine surgery hospitals in India, she finally decided to visit Artemis Hospital and requested her case manager to make the necessary appointments with the specialist there. Arriving in India on 31st January 2018, Zeinab got her customary airport pick-up, “I was received by a Vaidam health representative who accompanied me to Aster Garden, my home for the next two months”.
After weeks of agonizing pain, it was finally time for Zeinab to meet with Orthopedic Spine specialist Dr. Hitesh Garg - one of the top 10 spine surgeons in India. The doctor conducted some initial tests, “He believed I had a herniated disc at L4 L5 region impacting my right sciatic nerve” said Zeinab. “The doctor also ordered an MRI after the second epidural and confirmed I had a 12mm x 7mm extruded herniated disc at L4 L5. The doctor recommended I get a Lumbar Microdiscectomy, a relatively small surgical procedure of the lower back”.
She wanted to have the second opinion, so the appointment was scheduled with Dr. IPS Oberoi, who is one of the best orthopedic doctors in India. “The doctor was very thorough in explaining the procedure; meanwhile I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the surgery.” Lumbar Microdiscectomy is performed for a herniated disc; a Microdiscectomy relieves the pressure on a spinal nerve root by removing the material causing the pain. “It was approximately an hour long surgery and I was to be released once I cleared the anesthesia. I was discharged approximately 24 hours after the surgery and was able to walk out of the hospital to go back to my hotel.”
The doctors advised Zeinab to avoid any physically strenuous activities especially ones where she would be required to lift heavy objects and strain her back. “I was on pain medication for the next few days with a pretty intense pain around the incision. It is nowhere near the pain I experienced earlier. I don't have pain in my right leg, but the numbness and weakness are about the same”. Over the next two months, Zeinab worked with a physiotherapist who helped her overcome her mobility issues. “I am still taking it very easy, but I must say that surgical procedures are highly advanced with better outcomes that they were even 10 years ago. ”
Zeinab returned to her home in Khartoum, Sudan on 27th March 2018. We wish her a wonderful life ahead and hope she gets back complete mobility and alleviation from back pain for good.