The Long Run

Jill Nashtatik

In March 2015, Ms. Nashtatik, a fitness enthusiast and avid jogger, was halfway through a set of deadlifts when she stood and heard something pop in her back. Moments later she was on the floor in pain, her left calf cramping and her toes numb. 

After a night in an emergency department, Ms. Nashtatik, then 38, was referred to the Northwell Health Spine Center

“I couldn’t sit upright in the waiting room, so the office staff immediately put me in an exam room where I could lie down,” Ms. Nashtatik said. 

Within minutes, Jason Lipetz, MD, chief of spine medicine at the center, diagnosed Ms. Nashtatik with a herniated disc of the lumbar spine, then confirmed the determination with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. 

“He assured me I would not have to cancel my then- 8-year-old’s surprise birthday trip to Disney World the next month,” Ms. Nashtatik said. 

Finding the Right Treatment

Dr. Lipetz based that assurance on the Northwell Health Spine Center’s multidisciplinary personalization of each patient’s treatment. The Spine Center team includes experts in physiatry, physical therapy, neurosurgery, orthopedics and complementary medicine. These professionals take the time to inform and reassure you about your individualized, coordinated treatment plan and encourage your active participation in discussions about care. 

“We had some trial runs with medications for Ms. Nashtatik, which ultimately did not help her,” Dr. Lipetz said. “After exploring our options, she underwent X-ray-guided injection procedures in conjunction with physical therapy.”

“Everyone — Dr. Lipetz, the technicians, the nursing staff — made a frightening and uncomfortable situation as pleasant as possible,” Ms. Nashtatik said. “I didn’t hesitate to return for my second injection.” 

At Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Services (STARS) East Meadow, Ms. Nashtatik credited her physical therapist, Michael Kamme, PT, with helping her regain strength, flexibility and mobility. “By the end of May, I was back to leading an active life,” she said.

“Our physical therapists are adept with numerous techniques that help to decrease the length of your acute phase of injury. That’s when the pain level is usually the highest,” said Brian Krebs, PT, DPT, senior director of STARS. “We help you return to safe activities as quickly as possible, and that increases your chances of staying healthy.” 

Ms. Nashtatik returned to the things she loves with gusto. Not only is she back to strength training, but she’s also slipped her running shoes back on. 

Call 844-88-SPINE for an appointment at the Northwell Health Spine Center.

Find more news about health, wellness, medical discoveries and community programs from Long Island Jewish Medical Center and North Shore University Hospital in Look North.

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