Michigan Couple Gets Back to Life Thanks to Trinity Health Spine Program

Native Michiganders and married couple Dori and Dave Aldridge have always been healthy, but both began suffering from back issues over the last couple years.

In 2020, Dori’s pain got so bad she couldn’t get out of bed without assistance.

Dave would help Dori into a chair that was more comfortable for her and assist her around the house when needed.

Dori met with her primary care provider, who then connected her with Todd Francis, MD, a Trinity Health IHA Medical Group neurosurgeon. “I took the MRI to my appointment with Dr. Francis, he looked at it and saw exactly what it was,” Dori said.

Dori was suffering from a herniated disc. Surgery was scheduled and six weeks later, her pain was almost instantly gone.

“That morning, I had to help (Dori) get to the car and then into the hospital,” Dave said. “After her surgery I went to help her out and she said, ‘no stand back.’ And she started doing everything on her own again.”

Since her surgery, Dori has had no complications, and she attributes her improvement to Dr. Francis. “Dr. Francis was so kind, thorough and explained everything to me clearly,” Dori said.

Fast forward about a year later to November 2021. Dave’s back began giving him fits to the point where he couldn’t get comfortable in bed and resorted to the recliner. After Dori’s positive experience with Dr. Francis, she knew exactly who Dave should consult.

Dr. Francis met with Dave and discovered he was suffering from stenosis, an arthritic disease. Dr. Francis performed a transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF), a minimally invasive surgery, and Dave’s pain was gone within a few days.

“It was the 24th of November 2021, the day before Thanksgiving,” Dave recalled. “Dr. Francis did my surgery and I got out on Thanksgiving Day and began walking again. I was up to walking five miles a day and it was fantastic.”
The Aldridge’s experience with Dr. Francis was so good that they have already referred multiple friends and family members to him.

“I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Francis and his whole staff,” said Dave. “Our whole experience was just fantastic. The professionalism and kindness of Dr. Francis when he took us in — it was just a pleasant experience.” “And he takes good care of you afterwards, too, with his follow ups,” Dori said. “It was all handled very professionally.”

Pictured: Todd Francis, MD, PhD, Board Certified Neurological Surgeon

Get Back to Living Pain Free.

If you or a loved one have been experiencing back pain, don’t wait. Take our free back pain assessment, learn more about available treatments or schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today.

When to Seek Care for Back and Neck Pain

The U.S. Center for Disease Control recently reported that lower back pain is the leading cause of pain.  Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain.

Back Pain: Acute or Chronic?

Spine issues typically fall into two categories; acute and chronic. Acute pain is considered a new pain occurrence with typically no previously known issues. Often a combination of icing, heat and stretching aids a quick recovery.

Chronic back pain is pain that has been ongoing for weeks, months or even years.  You may have self-treated with a combination of rest, over the counter medications or chiropractic care.  Prolonged rest is no longer a recommended treatment so if your pain persists, a good first step is to talk to your doctor.

When to Get Help

Regardless if the pain is acute or chronic, if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately:

  • Constant or intense back pain, especially at night or when you lie down.
  • Pain spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below your knee.
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs.
  • Occurs with unintended weight loss.
  • Occurs with swelling or redness on your back.

Always seek emergency care if back pain occurs after a high-impact car accident, fall or sports injury; causes new bowel or bladder control issues; or occurs with a fever.

Don’t allow back or neck pain to keep you from the things you love.  St. Joe’s offers a comprehensive Spine Program providing both non-surgical and surgical spine solutions.  Our highly skilled care team includes board certified, fellowship trained doctors and surgeons, as well as a nurse navigator who will help guide you every step of the way.

By: Ahmad Issawi, MD, Board Certified Neurological Surgeon

Ready to Get Back to Your Life?

Schedule an appointment with one of our back pain specialist today.

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