After 16 years of chronic back pain, Scott Sloan had sought out every therapy and medication that might ease his symptoms, but the spasms and throbbing were persistent.
“Standing for 10-15 minutes became difficult; I had to shift my weight or lean on something to alleviate the pain – but I couldn’t get rid of it,” says the radio personality and host of “The Scott Sloan Show” on 700 WLW (9 a.m. – 12 p.m. weekdays). “The ongoing pain was diminishing my quality of life.”
Choosing a Better Path
During a trip to Italy, long walks on cobblestone roads kept Scott from immersing himself in the beauty of the surroundings. “I wanted to look at the sights, but was more worried about watching where I was walking,” he says. “When I realized I was staring at the ground instead of enjoying the trip – that cemented my decision.”
Scott’s spine was fractured from a mixture of genetic predisposition and repetitive high impact activity.
“It’s a common condition in which bones slide apart, and it can lead to arthritis, degenerative disc disease and back pain,” says Ian P. Rodway, MD, a spine surgeon at West Chester Hospital. “Despite undergoing therapy, weight loss, medications and injections, Scott’s pain continued, so we turned to surgery.”
Dr. Rodway performed Scott’s anterior and posterior L5-S1 spinal fusion in January 2016. With the help of a vascular surgeon, an incision is made on the front (anterior) of the body; a disc is taken out of the spine and is replaced with a plastic spacer disc. The new disc maintains the space between bones and allows the bones to fuse together into one solid bone.
The patient is then turned over and an incision is made on the back (posterior) of the body. Screws and rods are placed on each side of the spine to allow for the bone fusion to occur.
A Noticeable Difference
Six months after surgery, Scott played a round of golf and realized something was noticeably absent – his back pain.
“Dr. Rodway told me: ‘I can say with great certainty that you’ll be able to function at 100 percent following the surgery,’” says Scott. “I thought, even if I was functioning at 50 percent that would be better than where I was.”
While genetics play a part in some spine disorders, common back pain can be avoided with some simple everyday precautions.
Dr. Rodway recommends maintaining an active lifestyle without high-impact exercises like running and plyometrics (also known as jump training), which cause stress on the low back and joints.
“Cycling, swimming and the elliptical machine are lower impact activities,” says Dr. Rodway. “Maintaining a healthy weight, a strong core, proper posture and avoiding smoking are all ways to take better care of your back.”
Scott’s pain is in the past, and he’s thankful for the relief. “Dr. Rodway and the entire team at West Chester Hospital were fantastic,” he says. “I chose West Chester Hospital because it’s part of an academic health system, and it’s one of the best hospitals in the country – the standard of care is unmatched.”