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Real Men Wear Gowns: An alternative to back surgery

After a lifetime of running, Tony Schiller's back needed help, but he didn't want to repair it with surgery.

Tony Schiller has been an athlete all his life. Marathons, triathlons, if it’s run on two-feet Tony has done it. But after 50-years of racing the wear and tear caught up to his back after an Ironman competition in Hawaii, when his back hurt so badly he couldn't walk, sit or stand. 

The pain was debilitating. It hit Tony hard, physically and mentally, he couldn’t work, it hurt to laugh, he lost all joy in life.

When Tony was considering surgery, a friend warned him about the pitfalls of going under the knife. Tony started looking for non-operative options and found Physicians Neck and Back Center. Associate Medical Director Chuck Kelly put Tony on an intense 12-week strengthening program to isolate and build up the area of weakness in his lower back. Being an athlete, Tony took to the challenge of the program immediately. 

Dr. Kelly designed the program to encourage interaction between patients. Everyone gets to know each other, their ailments and how to support each other. He feels Tony is a perfect example of someone facing their problem head-on and doing the exhausting work to recover and prevent future problems.

RELATED: Real Men Wear Gowns: Opioid Addiction

Tony has completed his rehab, is once again competing in races and incredibly happy with his decision to avoid surgery.

“I always cringe at the thought of it because I know there’s equipment that can restore the body much less expensive, much more thorough and much more natural."

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