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Avera Medical Minute: Finding relief from chronic nerve pain

Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 10:53 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - It’s something some of us may take for granted: the full use of our arms and hands.

For Robin Duhn of Spirit Lake, Iowa, she’ll always be appreciative.

“It didn’t start out as neck pain, it started out as tingling in my fingertips,” she said. Over time, that tingling worked its way up her entire arm.

“It got to the point where I couldn’t really hold a conversation because the pain and the throbbing were so distracting.” The pain led her to Dr. John Faryna’s office, in search of relief.

“For Robin, it was a condition of where years of arthritis had kind of developed tightness around the nerves,” he said.

Dr. Faryna, an Avera Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, suggested a specific spine surgery to remove a bulging disc in her neck.

“And so that’s specifically for Robin, what we had to remove was that protrusion and overgrowth of disc material that’s compressing on the nerve that’s there,” he said. Robin was initially worried about the surgery.

“I was pretty emotional. You start to have these irrational fears that they’re going into your spine. Like, am I going to be a paraplegic?”

Dr. Faryna assured Robin that she was in good hands.

“It’s done through a small incision in the front of the neck. We work between the large muscles and the important structures in the front of the spine and it’s a great, safe way of getting down there,” he said. “It’s the gold standard of taking care of this problem.”

Robin immediately noticed the results.

“I literally woke up from surgery and was like, ‘Oh, I have arms again! This is fantastic!”

She’s now making full use of her arms which no longer tingle or give her pain.

“It’s just regular life now. I can go do yoga, I’m excited about the summer to be able to go kayaking again, and be able to live my life with my arms,” she said.

More information can be found at www.Avera.org/MedicalMinute

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