Spine Association for Education

Patient Story - Sylvia Garcia


Age: 48
Condition: Lumbar Disc Disease

Sylvia Garcia, a 48-year-old newspaper circulation manager, has experienced back pain since she was twelve. It became severe and debilitating in her early 20s, even with little to no activity. While it later improved when she became pregnant, Sylvia’s pain returned a couple of years ago. As a mother of four, Sylvia enjoys keeping up with her children and going for walks or to the movies. However, as her symptoms worsened, Sylvia was in so much pain that it would regularly take her 90 minutes just to get out of bed.

Exercises, muscle relaxers, pain pills, heating pads, pain relief patches, and ointments brought little or only temporary relief. Sylvia saw a chiropractor for her spinal curvature due to a degenerated disc, but this also was not a lasting answer for her pain. “I thought that living with back pain was normal,” says Sylvia. “I went to see my orthopedic surgeon for something else and he recommended back surgery to relieve the pain, but I have four kids and was concerned about the risks and a long hospital stay and recovery.”

A couple of months later, Sylvia went back to talk to that doctor about her options for a new, minimally invasive procedure. He explained the OLLIF (oblique lateral lumbar interbody fusion) procedure and said it would take only two to three hours, she could go home the same day, and it could help her be active and mobile again–which convinced Sylvia that it might be the right option for her.

Within six weeks of the OLLIF procedure, Sylvia was back on her feet and enjoying life and her day-to-day activities. Since the procedure, Sylvia has not experienced nerve pain or sciatica. She can easily get out of bed in the morning, or even go for a short run. Now, the only thing stopping Sylvia from swimming is cold weather.

“The OLLIF procedure is the best thing I’ve ever done,” Sylvia says. “I would recommend it to anybody. I’m so happy—I can do things I haven’t done in years!”

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