Meet Joe

Thoracic Disc Herniation

I complained to my wife that my legs were really rubbery, feeling kind of "funny". At 70 years old, I blamed it on old age and not working out for a long period of time at the health club. As the days passed, my legs worsened. I would try to walk at the club and found myself staggering. It reached a point where I could barely walk without holding on to a walker.

I then decided it was necessary for me to seek out the care of a specialist. I met with Raj Rao, MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin. After carefully examining me and reviewing my MRI, Dr. Rao explained that I was suffering from a thoracic disc herniation. The disc was severely pinching my spinal cord and causing paralysis below my waistline.

I was scheduled for urgent surgery to restore the function of my legs. Dr. Rao carefully removed the disc that was pushing on my spinal cord. Taking the pressure off of my spinal cord immediately restored my ability to move my legs and gave me sensations back in my legs.

Prior to surgery, the thought of not being able to play golf or swim or engage in any recreational activities was very frightening for me. Following surgery, the first meeting I had with Dr. Rao, I entered his office with a walker. Two weeks after the surgery, I was back in his office for a checkup – no cane, no walker – walking quite well.

Thanks to my spine specialist, Dr. Rao, I am back to playing golf. I am able to lead a productive, healthy life, and I am very grateful for my positive results.

Success Stories

When you are suffering with debilitating back pain, it’s hard to believe that you will be active and pain-free again. But each day, members of the North American Spine Society help patients just like you find pain relief and get back to enjoying life again.

These are just a few of the inspiring stories of millions of patients whose lives have been positively affected by their spine specialists. If you would like to share your success story on this site, ask your spine specialist to contact Nicolle Heller.


Thoracic Disc Herniation


Disc Replacement




Tumor Removal and Cervical Spine Fusion