“I started experiencing shocks up and down my arms. Often it would happen after I worked out or sometimes when I was walking. It started out every once in a while and then became more frequent. It was scary! So I started doing research and went to see different doctors to see what was wrong.”
As 53-year-old, Walter Valentine of Smithtown, soon found out, what he was experiencing was textbook symptoms of spinal stenosis, which hundreds of thousands of people needlessly struggle with every day.
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing in the spine either at the center, the canals where nerves branch out, or in the spaces between vertebrae. The constriction puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves causing pain and other uncomfortable sensations, including numbness, weakness, cramping, and pain in the arms or legs.
Fortunately Walter found William J. Sonstein, M.D., F.A.C.S., of NSPC. Dr. Sonstein is a board-certified neurosurgeon with more than two decades of experience treating spinal stenosis with a simple two-hour surgical procedure, which helps sufferers live productive, pain-free lives.
“I was very comfortable with Dr. Sonstein. He seemed like a regular guy. And I just liked his bedside manner. It was easy to see that he understood my situation and he had lots of experience with this type of surgery and my condition,” said Walter.
For Walter, Dr. Sonstein performed an anterior cervical diskectomy.
“We made a small incision through the front of his neck in a crease so it’s cosmetically more appealing,” explained Dr. Sonstein. “We removed the whole disk to alleviate the pressure on the spinal cord and we decompressed the nerves at the same time. Then a small bone was placed to keep the alignment and disk height, and we attached a little plate so the alignment is maintained.”
Though many patients, like Walter, often have no pain and feel well enough to leave the hospital right after surgery, Dr. Sonstein’s patients usually go home the next day.