Restored Quality of Life: Spinal surgeries with Southcoast Health gave Chris Saunders his life back

Restored Quality of Life: Spinal surgeries with Southcoast Health gave Chris Saunders his life back

Chris Saunders, a New Bedford attorney, once enjoyed snowboarding during winters and running through summers, until persistent lower back and shooting leg pain stemming from a slipped disk stole his joy.

Chris, 52, made trips to the chiropractor for years, only to get temporary relief. “Every once in awhile, my neck, back and legs would tighten up, and I’d go to the chiropractor for treatment. Eventually, those treatments just stopped working,” he says.

In January 2022, while shoveling snow, Chris’s neck “just gave out.” Chiropractic treatments didn’t work anymore, and he was in constant pain, and desperate for relief.

He sought answers from neurosurgeon Dr. Matthew Philips, Chief of Brain & Spine Services for Southcoast Health. Under Dr. Philips’ care, Chris underwent two transformative procedures.

In the first, Dr. Philips made a small incision in Chris’s back and was able to shave the slipped disk that was putting pressure on the nerves that ran down his leg. Within hours, the procedure was complete, and Chris was back home.

Despite some initial swelling around the incision, he required only a day and a half of pain relief medication. “They told me not to go to work for ten days after the procedure,” Chris says, “but I felt so good that I went back to the office after just a weekend’s recovery at home.” Fifteen days after surgery, he was able to return to running.

The second procedure targeted his neck’s misaligned C5 and C6 vertebrae, which were caused by a snowboarding accident 25 years ago. Dr. Philips made a small incision in his neck to fuse these vertebrae together to stimulate new bone growth and eliminate his neck pain.

Once again, the procedure was conducted as a same-day surgery, and Chris returned to work the following day, pain free.

“It was easier than getting my wisdom teeth taken out,” Chris says. “I can’t think of one negative side effect.”

Today, Chris has returned to running and doing the things he loves. “I’m glad I had it done,” he says. And despite suggestions to seek care in Boston, Chris opted for the expertise of Dr. Philips and the Southcoast Brain & Spine team.

“There was no need to go to Boston for the surgeries. I’ve got expert care right here. Dr. Philips and his team did a wonderful job. I loved him,” he adds.

Learn more about Southcoast Health Brain and Spine at Brain and Spine Doctors Fall River MA | Southcoast Health.