Beatriz Mendez was the first patient to undergo cervical disc replacement surgery within the Aurora Spine Health Clinic when it was first open at the beginning of January in 2022. However, it wasn’t her only experience having the Dr. Shaun O’Leary, neurosurgeon at the Aurora Health Center – Pleasant Prairie and her doctor. Mendez was a patient of his at a prior practice close the home she lives in located in Des Plaines, Ill. When she began to experience recurring neck pains again in the in the past year, Mendez knew who to contact. “I informed my daughter that we must visit the doctor. O’Leary right away,” she says.
Around 1 in 3 individuals suffer from neck discomfort. It could be a result of injury, strenuous exercise or an underlying medical issue or even a lifestyle of sedentary. There are many methods to treat back and neck pain including massage, surgery and even massage. A study has found that just 58% of patients suffering from lower back discomfort seek medical attention.
“Untreated back pain can cause serious problems, such as nerve irritation. If vertebrae injuries aren’t treated, they could lead to spinal canal stenosis (narrowing to the spinal canal) and Radiculopathy (severe nerve pain) and permanent nerve damage. It’s the reason it’s a condition that you shouldn’t ignore,” says Dr. O’Leary.
As a busy 70 year old, Mendez has no intention to let neck pain hold her back. Because she’s had to deal with back problems before she is aware of the need to not put off. Mendez’s procedure took place after six months of rehabilitation before she was back in her stride. It was back to activities she loves, like cooking, and even going to Mexico for her annual trip with her family and friends. “I was able to heal faster than I expected which meant it was not too long and I could be back doing the things I enjoy,” she says. “It was an amazing experience being the very first patient to be admitted to the new center. I am so grateful to Doctor. O’Leary and the care I received.”
“Chronic back pain can affect individuals in a variety of ways. We learn about the preferences of our patients, their abilities and their willingness to participate actively in their treatment plans. Our patients have choices that are appropriate for their needs,” says Dr. O’Leary. “The crucial part is that we’re providing timely treatment before it could become a serious illness.”
If you’re experiencing back or neck pain you should contact for help at the Aurora Spine Health Clinic at 262-857-5300.
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