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Silvia’s Success Story – Back to What She Loves Following Spinal Fusion

One of Silvia Almeida’s favorite things to do is cook with her family. She’s also an ESL teacher in Baldwin County for the last 18 years, so she is used to getting around with ease–until she suddenly wasn’t able.

Silvia, who had no prior back issues, was driving one day when she says it suddenly felt like she stepped on nails. She says, “I couldn’t walk at all, drive, or go anywhere. I was not cooking at all because I couldn’t stand up.”

The pain continued to escalate over the next two months, to the point where Silvia had to miss work due to the pain. She knew she had to do something. After an MRI revealed a bigger problem, she was sent to Dr. Clinton W. Howard.

“The first time I saw Dr. Howard in the Spine Center, I was crying and I couldn’t work,” Almeida says. “He said we could try a steroid to start but that I would eventually need a spinal fusion because my bones were so deteriorated in that area, it was basically bone on bone. The pain went away for a little bit after the shot, but then it was right back.”

Spinal surgery is a big decision, and Almeida was hesitant about undergoing the spinal fusion. However, Dr. Howard’s approach comforted her. He explained that the issue was an L4/L5 spondylolisthesis, a spinal condition in which the bone slips forward onto the bone below it. She said that, despite her reservations about surgery, “I left The Orthopaedic Group thinking ‘this is the doctor who is going to fix me.’”

The second day following surgery, Silvia did something with ease she hadn’t been able to do – walk without assistance. She is back to her life, enjoying working, cooking, and living without pain.

“Everyone comes to me and asks who I saw to help my back,” she says. “They saw what pain I was in and how I’m back to 100% now.”

The outcome is one that echoes Dr. Howard’s approach to patient treatment. He says, “My job is to provide you with autonomy – your ability to continue to do the things you want to do for the rest of your life. If we can give you your autonomy back, that’s our goal.”

As for Silvia, she says, “Now I have two or three friends who are coming to have surgery with him. I have really referred any friends with back issues to make an appointment with Dr. Howard.”

For more than 40 years, patients throughout the Gulf Coast have chosen our orthopaedic doctors at The Orthopaedic Group, P.C., for specialized care in the spine, shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist, hip, and knee, and foot and ankle.

Our fellowship-trained doctors have extensive education and experience in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating all orthopaedic injuries and conditions.

Experienced, Expert care for over 40 years.

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