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Past the Pain

Local woman finds solution to debilitating pain at Neuroscience & Orthopedic Center

For years, LaTrisha Deck sought help for debilitating neck pain. But while the pill bottles piled up, relief was nowhere to be found. Instead, LaTrisha found herself in despair and at the end of her wits.

“Eventually, I could hardly move without terrible pain. I could really only sit in one place – on the end of my couch, and I had to sleep sitting up I was in so much pain. And then I never really slept very well,” said LaTrisha, a Gainesville resident who first started experiencing neck pain after a car accident in 2001. “I’d had a CT scan, X-rays, you name it, to find out what was wrong, and still doctors kept giving me pills and telling me I’d be OK. But I wasn’t, and I hate taking pills.

“What I needed was someone to listen to me.”

At Longstreet Clinic’s Neuroscience and Orthopedic Center, LaTrisha found exactly that. And within weeks of her first appointment, a woman previously forced into a sedentary lifestyle and chained to pain relievers found herself freed of medications and – most importantly – pain.

“I don’t wish the pain I had on my worst enemy,” LaTrisha said. “But now I’m pain free, and I’m so happy. The doctors there did wonders for me, and I want to thank them so much.”

COLLABORATING TO FIND THE BEST TREATMENT

LaTrisha’s recovery all started with an appointment with Longstreet Clinic interventional pain management specialist Sook Kyung Yoon, M.D., who recognized her new patient’s dire situation and put her on the path to health by combining her own knowledge with the support of colleagues at the recently established Neuroscience and Orthopedic Center. The Center’s unique structure features a wide range of specialists – including neurosurgeons, orthopedists, pain management, physical medicine, physical therapists and more – all working together under one roof to treat patients facing physical ailments, including the neck issue that tormented LaTrisha.

“As soon as I saw her and read her charts and exams, I knew she was not doing well,” Dr. Yoon said of LaTrisha, whom she first saw in late January 2022. “Her MRI did not look good, and she’d been in pain for many years. So, first we tried a cervical epidural injection, and that only really worked for a couple of hours before the pain came back.”

Dr. Yoon said conservative approaches for conditions like LaTrisha’s are typically effective, and surgery only winds up being required in approximately 10% of similar cases. But when Dr. Yoon examined LaTrisha, at her follow-up visit after the epidural injection, her progressive symptoms indicated muscle weakness, and the 50-year-old could barely move her left side. “It was at that point that I walked across the hall and talked to (neurosurgeon) Dr. (Karl) Kip Schultz about LaTrisha’s options for a possible surgery. Because we’re all here together, we communicate very effectively at our center, and we can get patients in and address their needs quickly.”

After consulting with Dr. Yoon, Dr. Schultz scheduled an appointment with LaTrisha and recognized her as a perfect candidate for surgery to repair a ruptured cervical disc (C 6-7) in her spine.

“There’s a high surgical success rate for people with LaTrisha’s condition – it’s at 95-98 percent. And whatever type of operation the patient chooses in that situation, a disc replacement or a fusion, offers a great prognosis,” Dr. Schultz said. “It’s a straightforward surgery with minimal risk of complications.”

LaTrisha underwent the disc replacement procedure on March 4 – an event that changed everything for the better.

“As soon as I was out of surgery, I felt a whole lot better,” LaTrisha said. “It was incredible, and I’m still doing great now. I can move; I don’t need any pills anymore. It’s just been wonderful. I’m so happy Dr. Yoon and Dr. Schultz listened to me – and took my pain away.”

For their parts, Drs. Schultz and Yoon are thrilled for their patient and are looking forward to the help that the Neuroscience and Orthopedic Center offers patients battling physical limitations – either through injury or chronic condition.

“In normal treatment situations, when the patient has to go between doctors in different offices, there’s an added barrier of communication where maybe you don’t get the full story or picture of what’s happening with a patient.”  Dr. Schultz said.  “The way we work at the Neuroscience and Orthopedic Center ensures that doesn’t happen. From a collaborative standpoint, it is so nice for all of us – providers and patient – and makes treatment that much easier. And, right now, it’s a unique approach. I don’t know if there’s another center like ours in the rest of the state.”

It certainly was a game changer for LaTrisha – and a setup that she would advocate to anyone in a similar situation.

“I would recommend them to anybody,” LaTrisha said.

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LaTrisha's Team

Our team includes neurosurgeons, orthopedists, sports medicine doctors, physiatrists, interventional pain specialists, and physical therapists all working together.

Locations We Serve

Longstreet Clinic Neuroscience & Orthopedic Center’s main location is in Gainesville with additional access points available plus telehealth options making appointments available across the U.S.

About the Neuroscience & Orthopedic Center

By combining physical medicine & rehabilitation, neurosurgery, orthopedics, interventional pain management, sports medicine, and physical therapy into one location, Longstreet Clinic offers patients of all ages a comprehensive approach to treating a broad range of physical and neurological conditions through a wide variety of surgical and non-surgical approaches. For more information about the program, visit longstreetclinic.com/noc or call 678-207-4100 to schedule an appointment.