Lakeland Health Care

Patient Stories

Celebrating Survivors

Age Diagnosed
Herniated Disc
Feature Story

From baby pictures to senior pictures to weddings, Stevensville-based photographer Bill Tucker has captured many of life’s important moments for 26 years.

“I enjoy interacting with people,” Bill explained. “It keeps me young!”

But last fall, the pain from a herniated disc in the 57-year-old’s lower back threatened to keep him from enjoying his life’s work – and nearly everything else.

“Before the injury, I was very active,” Bill said. “I’m very busy, and I like to keep busy. All of the sudden, within a few days, my quality of life went way down. I was not able to do simple things – like walk to the kitchen.”

Bill had experienced episodes of back pain in the past, but he was always able to recover with the help of chiropractors. This time, though, the pain was so bad — a self-described nine on a scale from one to 10 — that he began using a walker.

“Within about a month, I realized I was going nowhere fast,” Bill said. “I had an appointment with Dr. Ward, a neurologist in our area, about a completely unrelated matter, and he saw me using the walker. He suggested that I go see Dr. Sikorski, who is right next door to him. Dr. Ward told me that Dr. Sikorski was the best. And I said, ‘You mean the best in this area?’ And he said, ‘No, I mean the best.’”

Robert Ward, III, DO, FACN, Berrien Regional Associates in Neurology, and Christian Sikorski, MD, FAANS, FACS, Lakeland Neurosurgery, are “neighbors” at the Lakeland Neuroscience Center located at the Health Park Medical Suites, St. Joseph. Hearing Dr. Ward say he would go to Dr. Sikorski himself and would even recommend him to his own family members helped instill trust in Bill.

“When I went to talk to Dr. Sikorski, I felt very good about the way he talked to me. He answered my questions, and I’m one who, has a lot of questions about surgery,” Bill said. Bill decided to go ahead with the surgery to repair his herniated disc, which was scheduled in early November as an outpatient procedure at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph.

Bill explained that Dr. Sikorski used a microsurgery technique which left only a very small scar on his back. Although he did experience some pain from the surgery itself, he said he did notice that his lower back pain was almost gone immediately.

“I would say that within 10 days, I was back to about 80%, and within 15 days, I was 100%,” he said.

Three months after the surgery, Bill said he is back to his normal routine. “I have a lot of props and stuff that I have to move around when I’m doing pictures, and I don’t really have any problems.”

Bill’s advice for anyone suffering from a herniated disc is to not wait too long to get help. “Seek out Dr. Sikorski — I think he is the best.”

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