WATCH: A severe back injury left a Victoria man with sharp pain and his chiropractic career in jeopardy. But thanks to a Vancouver Island doctor, he underwent a break through surgery, the first of its kind in the province. Monica Martinez reports.
Dr. Jamie Grimes is normally the one providing care, but in this case he is the patient.
The chiropractor was pushed into the boards while playing hockey a few months ago, injuring his spine.
“About an hour later, I started to feel a severe sharp pain, a burning pain in my neck but it was most uncomfortable down my arm,” said Grimes.
He fingers were numb, and he was losing strength in his right arm. In the weeks that followed, it got progressively worse.
“The pain of course was the worst thing, a severe radiating pain. The way I describe it is like someone chewing on your muscles constantly.”
On top of that, his career as a chiropractor at Synergy Health Centre was in jeopardy.
He chose to undergo surgery, not the industry standard spinal fusion, which can lead to a loss of mobility, but artificial disk replacement surgery. It’s a new procedure which replaces the bad disc with an artificial one.
Dr. John Sun, who performed the operation, calls it a big advance in neurosurgery.
” I think it is going to be the wave of the future,” Dr. Sun said.
The discs come in different sizes to fit a patient’s anatomy, and are designed to replicate the spine’s natural movement.
The surgery is common in Europe, but not in Canada, and in the U.S. it is only FDA approved in the lower back region, not the neck, where he had the procedure.
But luckily, he didn’t have to look far for a doctor.
Leading neurosurgeon Dr. John Sun treated Grimes not only in his hometown of Victoria, but at his own office – Synergy Health Centre.
“We are restoring a joint in the neck. And I think anytime you have that kind of technology out there that can do that and have good success, it is revolutionary,” said Sun.
Weeks later, Grimes is back at work, feeling much better thanks to a breakthrough surgery that helped him feel back to normal and saved his career.