Avoided back surgery

Joanne had been grappling with lower back pain for almost a year. An MRI of her spine indicated degenerative changes, with mild disc bulges and borderline nerve changes.

Her orthopedic surgeon believed that spinal instability was the cause of her pain and recommended spinal fusion – a major surgical technique that joins two or more vertebrae and takes hours. Joanne turned to Best Doctors, who forwarded her case to a Neurosurgeon and Assistant Dean at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The expert concluded that Joanne’s symptoms were not consistent with spinal instability, but represented simple mechanical back pain. Rather than endorse surgery, he recommended muscle strengthening and weight reduction. “I was very happy that surgery wasn’t required,” Joanne says, “and grateful that my company offered Best Doctors.”


This is a real Best Doctors case which has been authorised for use by the patient. In order to respect and maintain the patient’s privacy, personal details have been modified. Photographs have been used for illustrative purposes only.