Greater Baltimore Medical Center
"Back to Normal"

Thomas Stack's Story


As I was getting dressed for work one morning, I sneezed while bent over and felt a sharp pain in my back. I made it to the bed and had to stay there for most of the day. The pain seemed to get slightly better, so I went to work the next day, but my condition got progressively worse over the following couple of days. Soon I was no longer able to walk. I started getting back spasms, too, which intensified the pain. I rapidly went downhill.

Within the next few days, I went for an MRI to get an assessment of what had happened to my back. I am not sure what happened after that, but between that day and the following Wednesday, I know that I was not able to get relief. Finally, on Thursday, August 13th, I was able to get an appointment to see Minal Rami, MD, the neurosurgeon at GBMC. He had a copy of my MRI and saw that there was a place where a disc had ruptured in my lumbar area.

At that time, I was in a wheelchair, unable to walk due to the intense pain. Dr. Rami was able to fit me in for surgery the next day and treated my situation as an emergency due to what he called "intractable pain." I was admitted to the hospital at GBMC that night and was operated on the next day, Friday, August 14th. Dr. Rami told me afterward that my condition would not have healed on its own and that the surgery was completely necessary. He was right: I felt relief almost immediately and was able to walk the next day after surgery.

I feel immense relief that Dr. Rami was able to completely fix my problem. I have absolutely no residual back pain or any problems at all. The recovery time was quick, and the convalescent time was minimal. Because of this experience, I realize the importance of keeping fit and not allowing myself to get overweight because that would put further strain on my back. I am able now to exercise with no restrictions and I am not limited in any way from physical activity.

Looking back, it was quite an experience to be incapacitated for almost two weeks. I’ve never been in that situation before or experienced that level of pain. It seems like a miracle that something that seemed so serious could be fixed so quickly and easily. I am fully recovered today thanks to Dr. Rami and my care at GBMC.

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