Relief from Pain

Laura Hutton woke up before work one early February morning and knew something was wrong. Terrible pain was coming from her neck and shooting pain was going down her arm.

“I knew something was very wrong, but I decided to try to go to work anyway. The pain had started the evening before when I turned my head sharply, and I guess I just kept hoping it would go away,” Laura explains.

Laura took a couple of Advils and then headed to her job as a social worker.

“Once I was at work the pain was terrible. It was so hard to work. I ended up taking off the next day. It was the first day I missed for illness in over 5 years,” says Laura.

Laura’s symptoms were very painful from the left side of her neck by her ear, all the way through her shoulder and down into her arm and hand. She also did not have much feeling in her fingers.

“I was able to get an MRI and was told I had herniations along with chronic degenerative changes in a significant portion of my cervical spine, and the MRI stated ‘consider surgical consult if not already obtained.’ My stomach sank when I read that,” says Laura.

Laura made an appointment with a pain management physician and requested a referral to Dr. Bondurant of Mid-Mo Neurosurgery.

“Everyone told me that surgery was what I needed to do, but I just didn’t want surgery. I had never had a major surgery and I was scared by the thought of it. For months I kept taking Advil every day,” says Laura.

She also started going to physical therapy and got a cervical epidural steroid injection, which provided some temporary relief. Her symptoms, however, continued to interrupt her everyday life.

In April, Laura had her appointment with Dr. Bondurant, and he went over Laura’s injury with her and discussed her options.

“I told him how I’d like to avoid surgery and continue with PT for now and he was totally supportive. He scheduled another appointment for June but told me to call before then if anything changed,” says Laura.

Just a couple weeks later, Laura reinjured her neck at home and the pain was so terrible she ended up going to the emergency room.

“The ER doctor told me she read Dr. Bondurant’s note and she said, ‘I know you don’t want surgery but it’s time for surgery,’” says Laura.

So Laura made another appointment with Dr. Bondurant.

“At that appointment, my symptoms were so severe that Dr. Bondurant offered to do the surgery the next day. Because my husband and parents were out of town, I decided to wait until the next week. I ended up having surgery the day after my birthday. It wasn’t how I planned to spend my birthday, but I did think the timing was kind of cool because I was born at Boone Hospital. I’m a Boone Baby!” Laura says with excitement.

Dr. Bondurant performed a laminaforaminotomy and diskectomy surgery. A laminoforaminotomy is when bone spurs are removed from the spine. A diskectomy is when the damaged part of a disk in the spine is removed.

Laura’s surgery was successful, and her medical team worked to help her with the pain and nausea she experienced after her surgery.

“They all listened to me to help get my pain and nausea controlled. The day after my surgery, I knew my nurse Chandra because we used to work together. It was reassuring knowing a familiar face,” says Laura.

Laura’s recovery went well with the first few days being the hardest.

“I did have to manage the pain at first but after those first few days, I really started to improve. It’s been several weeks since my surgery now, and I have so much movement back, and I never have to take Advil anymore,” says Laura.

Laura is now back to taking walks around her neighborhood with her basset hound Thunder.

“It feels so good to take those walks and one day I hope to golf again. I’m so glad I had the surgery because I think it may be possible now. Dr. Bondurant saved my quality of life,” says Laura.

By Madison Loethen

For more information, visit or call 573.815.8242