An avid cyclist, Patrick Murray raced his mountain bike for 100 miles in the mountains of Colorado in the grueling Leadville Trail 100…twice. But, at 36, Patrick experienced sharp pain in his right hip that later extended to his knee, feet, and toes. The debilitating pain prevented him from keeping up his active lifestyle, and in 1999, Patrick was diagnosed with a herniated disc.
After trying physical therapy, chiropractic care, and injections, Patrick sat down with Dr. Jack Zigler at the Texas Back Institute to discuss his options. Dr. Zigler told Patrick and his wife that he would either have to live with the pain and continue with conservative care treatments or have surgery. With artificial disc replacement (ADR) unavailable at the time when Patrick was first diagnosed, he chose to undergo two microdiscectomies. “ Dr. Zigler tried everything to keep me from having surgery and never pushed the issue.
The first two surgeries were a kind of stopgap until the ADR surgery was available in the United States.”
Finally in 2003, Patrick received an artificial disc as part of an FDA trial. “ I would only recommend surgery as a last resort, as would Dr. Zigler. But if the person is a candidate for ADR, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment,” Patrick says.
Although Patrick was concerned that the surgery wouldn’t fix his problem, his fears were erased when he woke up after surgery with considerably less pain. Two years after his successful surgery, Patrick won a state championship in the team time trial on his bike. The same year, he won first place for his age- group in the PrairieMan Half Ironman AquaBike consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride. “I’d say the surgery was a success, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”