Low Back Pain Gone Thanks to Innovative Surgeries

Low Back Pain Finally Gone Thanks to Innovative Surgeries by Dr. Tollestrup

Barry is a patient with a  history of low back pain. Like many patients with chronic pain, Barry experienced a number of failed treatments until he finally found Dr. Tim Tollestrup.

Low Back Pain Gone

Two successful, innovative surgeries by Dr. Tollestrup have given Barry complete relief*.

Several years ago Barry went on a long vacation to Australia. Prior to going on that trip he had an epidural which gave him total relief of his low back pain for almost three months. About 3 days before coming home from Australia he started to experience numbness in the left leg. The plane ride home really exacerbated the symptoms in the left leg producing severe radiating pain down the leg as well as increased numbness.

Upon returning to the United States he underwent a lumbar spine fusion which relieved most of the radiating pain in the left leg. He continued to have tingling and numbness in the left leg and foot, however, along with significant pain in the left calf muscle. The cramping pain in the left calf muscle would get especially bad with any kind of exercise. The left calf would also tend to ache all night long, making sleep difficult. Sitting for extended periods of time would produce pain in both buttocks with radiation of the pain into the posterior thighs.

Unfortunately for Barry, the lumbar spine fusion did not relieve his original back pain.

Dr. Tollestrup’s Approach

Barry was referred to Dr. Tollestrup by his primary care physician. Dr. Tollestrup evaluated Barry and identified a compression of the left sciatic nerve in the deep buttock, a condition known as piriformis syndrome as the primary cause of the residual numbness in the left leg and the pain in the left calf muscle.

Barry underwent surgery to remove the piriformis muscle and decompress the sciatic nerve. By 8 weeks post-op, the numbness and pain in the left leg was gone!

Next, Dr. Tollestrup investigated the cause of Barry’s chronic low back pain which had not been relieved by his low back surgery. Physical examination showed that the likely source of the low back pain was compression of several small nerves on either side of the spine called the superior cluneal nerves. In order to confirm this diagnosis, Dr. Tollestrup referred Barry for a block of these nerves where the nerves were put to sleep using a long-acting local anesthetic. This gave Barry complete relief from his usual, constant low back pain for about 48 hours.

Based on the positive result from the block, Barry went back to the OR where Dr. Tollestrup performed an operation he developed to remove these superior cluneal nerves.

Barry just checked in for his three month post-op visit after having the superior cluneal nerves removed and he has had complete relief from his original lower back pain. Barry joked with Dr. Tollestrup that now that his low back pain is gone, he has been much more active, working in his garden, etc. Now he is experiencing soreness in muscles that he has not used for a very long time due to the fact that he was so limited by his original back pain.


We do not guarantee any specific results or outcomes for surgery, should our practice work on your behalf. Information on this website may be used as a reference for successes we’ve achieved for our patients, and not as an assurance or guarantee for similar results in all instances.

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