Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

Living Long and Feeling Strong: Spine Surgery Prevents Paralysis for Colona Grandmother


Submitted by ORA Othopedics

Michael Berry, MD

Is it possible to feel stronger at age 73 than 43? It is if you’re Ruth Rancod of Colona, IL.  Her days are now measured in the smiles she receives from her great-grandson, Ryder, not the pain that once forced her to crawl to the bathroom in agony.

“It seems I was in pain half my life,” recalls Ruth. “Now, I can walk. My energy levels are higher than they have been for decades, and I can really enjoy Ryder now.”

At one point, Ruth’s pain became so serious, her spine surgeon, Dr. Michael Berry, ORA Orthopedics, was concerned she would eventually be paralyzed. “Ruth suffered from both neck and low back problems. She originally came to me for pinched nerves in her lower back. The pain was radiating throughout her legs, making it difficult for her to walk. She also had problems with balance, dropping objects, and she couldn’t make her hands work,” says Dr. Berry. This was caused by pressure building on the spinal cord in her neck.

In Ruth’s first operation, Dr. Berry addressed the pressure on the spinal cord in her neck caused by wear and tear of the joints, along with degeneration of the cervical disks. Says Ruth, “Dr. Berry said I had no cushioning left in my neck and without surgery, it could progress to paralysis.”

“Her family is important to her, and it was imperative I relieve the pressure on her spinal cord to restore both her movement and her quality of life,” said Dr. Michael Berry.

By performing a procedure called a posterior cervical laminectomy, Dr. Berry removed the pressure on Ruth’s spinal cord. He then fused her neck together with rods and screws over multiple levels in order to prevent any future shifting of her spinal column. The procedure helped reduce pressure on the spinal cord and restored her function quickly.

With her neck stabilized, Dr. Berry then addressed the radiating pain in Ruth’s hips and legs, which was causing problems with everyday movement and activities like sitting and walking. “Ruth was suffering from what we call lumbar spinal stenosis, one of the most common causes of leg discomfort and difficulty walking I see in patients,” he explains. “Essentially the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the nerves (in Ruth’s case the lower back). The nerves become compressed, radiating pain to the legs and hips especially when standing and walking. In Ruth’s second procedure, I performed a laminectomy with no fusion, cleaning out the old tissue and bone spurs that were pinching her lower back nerves.”

The result for Ruth is nothing short of miraculous. “I healed very fast. I feel better than I have in 30 years. I am back doing the things I love. It’s just wonderful and I am not in any pain. I can play, I can wrestle, and I love spending time with both granddaughters and Ryder. Dr. Berry has been wonderful. I’m just so grateful to have my life back.”

For more information about spine surgeries at ORA’s Spine Center of Excellence, log on to www.qcora.com, call 563-322-0971, or follow ORA on Facebook and Twitter.