Skip to main content

Steve Thornton

  • A new life without back pain thanks to spine rehabilitation

    With back pain so severe that he couldn’t stand or walk for more than 15 minutes at a time, Steve Thornton, 56, had tried everything. The problem, he explained, was bulging discs, a result of “living a life doing fun things.”

    After consulting with both a chiropractor and a surgeon, he learned that his condition was not one that would be well suited to surgery. That left injections to help manage the pain. Eventually, even sleeping was uncomfortable.

    “The pain kept getting worse, and there was also numbness in one leg. It began to interfere with daily life, and nothing seemed to be very effective,” said Thornton. To make matters worse, the pain made it nearly impossible to enjoy his favorite hobby – competing in retriever hunt tests with his dog, Belle.

    That changed when his primary doctor at an Allina Health Clinic referred Thornton to Mark Rotty, MD, a family medicine physician with expertise in spine rehabilitation with Courage Kenny Spine Centers.

    He is a wonderful physician with extraordinary knowledge about spine rehabilitation. He took the time to answer all my questions and explained in detail how spine strengthening therapy could help,” he said.

    Then Thornton began working with physical therapists to strengthen the muscles supporting his spine. They designed a nine-week exercise routine for him that included using MedX equipment, which helps to safely isolate and strengthen the muscles in the back or neck.

    “They really know what they are doing, and they put me through my paces,” said Thornton.
    By the time his rehabilitation ended, Thornton was surprised at what a difference it had made.

    “This is a treatment, not a cure. I still have the anatomical problems that I started with, but my symptoms are much better controlled,” he said. His success also motivated him to lose weight, contributing to less strain on his back and an improvement in overall health.

    Now Thornton can sleep at night and is much more comfortable standing and walking. His weight loss is continuing, and he exercises and stretches regularly to keep his back in shape. His best gauge of progress so far? He and Belle recently competed in a hunt test for two full days, and Thornton’s biggest concern was how Belle did on her double retrieve.

    “I’m a walking commercial for Courage Kenny Spine Centers. This has made a world of difference for me.”