Choir Teacher Overcomes Chronic Sciatica Pain

After more than two years of debilitating sciatica pain, Deborah found Dr. Tollestrup. Deborah agreed to share her story in hopes of reaching others like her still suffering.

A text from Deborah to Dr. Tollestrup.

Deborah is a school teacher who teaches choir at a local middle school. Two years ago, she was injured sliding down a ride at a water park. As she was sliding down, she became airborne and landed very hard on the right buttock. Right away, Deborah felt like something had torn or ripped deep in the right buttock and there was a radiating pain which traveled down into the back of her thigh.

Over time, the pain increased causing her to walk with a noticeable limp. Sitting became almost impossible. She also started to have pain in her right foot. Sleeping was problematic because the pain kept her up at night.

Deborah was unable to find a doctor to give her any insight into the source of her pain or recommend any solution. Many doctors are not aware of piriformis syndrome. Very often doctors will recommend physical therapy, spine surgery, and narcotic pain medication. Unfortunately, none of these options offer long-term relief.

“The Tollestrup Procedure”

After hearing Deborah’s story and performing a careful peripheral nerve examination, Dr. Tollestrup diagnosed the source of the pain in Deborah’s right buttock, leg, and foot as Piriformis Syndrome. Piriformis Syndrome occurs when the large sciatic nerve becomes entrapped by the overlying piriformis muscle.

Dr. Tollestrup performed an operation he created to remove the piriformis muscle and relieve the pressure on the sciatic nerve.  A colleague calls this surgery the “Tollestrup Procedure.” This is done as an outpatient procedure and the patient is able to walk immediately.

By the time Deborah came back to see Dr. Tollestrup at the two-week post-op mark the debilitating pain in the right leg was completely gone.

Walking on the Beach

It is now two months since Deborah had the pressure on her sciatic nerve relieved. She continues to be pain-free. At her most recent follow-up visit, she remarked that her students noticed that she is no longer walking with a limp. One of them even came up to her and said, “Mrs. Fleischer, you look different since surgery, you can see it in your face.”

A fitting finish to this story is the text Deborah recently sent to Dr. Tollestrup when she was in San Diego. For Dr. Tollestrup, this is the most gratifying part of the job!

If you or someone you know suffers from chronic sciatica pain, fill out the form on the right or call Dr. Tollestrup at 702-666-0463.