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John Alberstadt barely covered a block of his typical four-mile run before it hit him: he couldn't continue without falling.
"It was scary. I was used to running or biking every day, but [now] I was scuffing my feet, losing my balance, tripping."
John had several cervical spinal stenosis - a narrowing of the canal that separated the nerves in the spinal cord from the surrounding vertebrae that make up the bony spinal column. Herniated discs worsened his condition. The combination was squeezing his spinal cord, affecting the nerves that controlled his extremities.
“He had the classic telltale symptoms," Dr. Seyed Kalantar says. In addition to numbness and lack of balance, Jon was having trouble grasping things, buttoning shirts, and using a pen."
Since Jon was an avid snowboarder, Dr. Kalantar recommended a less invasive option: Laminoplasty. Laminoplasty is a surgical procedure for treating spinal stenosis by relieving pressure on the spinal cord. Since no bone is removed, fusion is not necessary and range of motion can be preserved. The day after the hospital discharge, Jon started taking two-mile walks. Three months later, he was cleared for activities at the gym. He is expected to be back snowboarding in no time.
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