Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery Helps Businesswoman Return to Life She Loves


Angie Nichols used to have headaches as well as neck and shoulder pain that kept her from enjoying her life. Thanks to minimally invasive spinal, she is back to enjoying travel adventures and running her business.

Wife. Mom. Grandma. Businesswoman. Like many women, Angie Nichols fulfills many roles and responsibilities. “I stay busy. It’s a very good life,” said Angie. “Within the past year we opened a new business in LeClaire, Iowa. I enjoy living and working along the Mississippi. I enjoy traveling, too. In the summer you can find me golfing and boating and, of course, spending time with my husband, children, and grandson!”

Angie is a great role model for those looking to balance family, fun, and work. But, life wasn’t always fulfilling for Angie.

“A few years ago, I started getting severe headaches, along with neck and shoulder pain. It hurt me that I was having a hard time even taking care of my family. The pain was too much,” she said.

Finding the Right Solution
For Angie, it was time to take action. “When the problems first started, I went to a chiropractor, a massage therapist, an acupuncturist, and then a physical therapist. I had exhausted the list of alternative therapies,” Angie stated. “I realized it was time to look at surgical options. I did my research, investigating top surgeons inside and outside of the Quad-City area. Based on what I learned as well as recommendations, I met with Dr. Michael Dolphin at Orthopaedic Specialists.”

Upon examining Angie, Dr. Dolphin found she suffered from spinal stenosis. The condition occurs when the space in the spinal column narrows, creating tightness around the nerves traveling inside the spinal column.

Typically, it is caused by spinal arthritis. As a result of the arthritis, ligaments may thicken and bone spurs can develop. This causes crowding of the nerves, which can lead to pain and disability.

Minimally Invasive Solution: Pioneering Spinal Surgery Creates Great Results

Dr. Dolphin recommended a minimally invasive surgery, Anterior Cervical Discectomy with Fusion, for Angie. It’s performed by relieving the cervical stenosis through the front of the neck to decrease the pain, numbness, and tingling the patient experiences. This procedure is utilized in situations where bone spurs are causing nerve compression. Careful surgical technique allows for removal of the bone spurs, relieving the nerve/spinal cord compression. Then, stabilization of the disc space is performed in the form of a fusion. Dr. Dolphin performs the procedure with a small incision, allowing for quicker recovery.

“This procedure allows the patient to recover with very minimal scarring, or the need for plastic surgery. It’s done on an outpatient basis,” said Dr. Dolphin.

Getting Back to the Good Life: Pain Free
“I refused to let the pain rule my life,” Angie shared. “I had to get back to being ‘me’ as soon as possible.”

Today, Angie is once again enjoying her life filled with family, friends and adventure. She spends her time on the golf course, boating on the river, and managing her business. “If you would have told me I would be running my own business a few years ago, I never would have believed you. It’s an adventure I enjoy every day! Dr. Dolphin genuinely cares about his patients, and he makes you feel at ease. Very importantly, he educates you and includes you in the decision-making process.”

To learn more about Orthopaedic Specialists or schedule an appointment with Dr. Dolphin, visit osquadcities.com or call 563-344-9292. Dr. Dolphin is a board-certified surgeon at Orthopaedic Specialists and graduate of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. He has offices in Davenport, Bettendorf, and Clinton. Dr. Dolphin is one of the area’s only surgeons performing spine surgery at an outpatient surgery center.