Working and Riding Motorcycles Three Weeks After Back Surgery

James Taylor injured his back riding motorcycles and couldn't work. He found a surgeon that got him back to work in three weeks.

Running five days a week after back surgery

I’m James Taylor, I hurt my back riding in Dayton riding motorcycles during bike week. I come home, went to see the chiropractor. Thought it was something he could take care of. Long story short, after about two months of seeing my chiropractor, it wasn’t getting any better. He walks in one day, I asked him straight up, “Be honest...you going to be able to fix this?” He gets my x-rays, brings them back in and says I need to see a surgeon. I ask him who? He really doesn’t say.

So we start looking, we went to the Vanderbilt Bone & Joint Clinic in the beginning. They did MRIs, couldn’t find anything. They were grasping at straws. Put me on Lyrica, which is some kind of medicine to kill the pain. That wasn’t getting anywhere, I needed a fix. So we quit seeing those people. Went to Columbia, the Bone & Joint Clinic over there, Middle Tennessee Bone & Joint...they were about the same way it was at Vanderbilt. At this point, I’m thinking it ain’t going to get any better. A good friend of mine, Jim Patterson at Dixie Diesel, had Dr. David McCord just fixed his back. Jim just got back to work and tells me how good he’s feeling, so I made an appointment to come see Dr. McCord.


I talked him, he did some MRIs, a discogram, CTs, all that. Tells me what I need done. So I go for a second opinion, I see Dr. McCombs. Same thing he says. The difference in the two doctors...McCombs said I’ll be out of work six months. Dr. McCord said no more than three months. Actually I was back to work in three weeks! If anybody’s considering back surgery, anybody I know, I send them to see Dr. McCord. For the simple fact that he’s going to get you back to work quicker than anybody else. I guess it’s the procedure, his knowledge, I don’t know. Just my personal opinion, he’s a pretty smart man. He found my problem real quick. I had seen all these other doctors for months and nobody ever found the problem.


Dr. McCombs said I’ll be out of work six months. Dr. McCord said no more than three months. Actually I was back to work in three weeks!

I’ve known lots of people who have had back surgery and they were out six to eight months before they could go back to work, still on pain pills, still at pain management. I’m fortunate...it’s been eight or nine weeks since I’ve had back surgery, I’m limited to the pain medication I take. I take it once a day in the morning when I get up, due to the fact that I’m stiff and sore from sleeping all night, but then I don’t have to have it the rest of the day. Muscle relaxers, yes, I still take those on a three times a day basis. Hopefully it’s getting better, where I won’t have to take as many as I did before. I feel like in three months I’m going to be totally off everything, that’s my goal.


And I get to ride my motorcycle again, because we hadn’t ridden motorcycles in about a year and a half since I blew my back out in Dayton. Anybody who wants to be fixed and go back to a normal life, have Dr. McCord look at your situation. Dr. McCombs goes through the back only. My understanding the healing time is a whole lot longer when they go through the front. Dr. McCord explained that to go through the back, they have to cut bone away to get in there to put the cages in. So he goes in through the front, puts the cages in, then goes in the back and fix the back. McCombs does it all through the back, that’s why your down longer on the healing time because the bone is cut in two, to remove the old disc and put the cages in. That’s why I didn’t want that. I’m self employed, so the faster I can go back to work, the better off my family is. The longer I’m laid up in bed, the less money is coming in. That’s the reason I picked Dr. McCord...the short length of recovery time by going through the front. To me, when you start cutting stuff out of the way that don’t need to be cut out, it’s just a longer process of healing. Even if you are going to heal 100%.


When McCord told me how he’d go through the front, and he’d cut your hip to get the bone marrow to pack in the disc cage...yeah there were four scars basically. Or I did in my situation, maybe not everybody is that way. I ended up with four scars, one down each hip, one in the front and one in the back. I’d rather have four scars that one big scar down the back and still be in pain.


Each person is different, everyone’s going to heal different. I’m fortunate that no longer it has been for me, and I’m back to a normal day in my business. I can do anything I want to do. I asked Dr. McCord how much can I do? He said at three weeks and one day, when I was in his office, go back to work. If it hurts, don’t do it. I said, “Anything I want to do?” He said, “Do anything you want to do, because if it hurts, you’ll know it, so don’t do it.” And yes I did some stuff that hurt, but no pain no gain situation. You got to learn what you can and can’t do. Don’t sit on the couch and babysit it. A lot of people think oh they tell me three months, well that’s how long it’s going to take. Some think they should not do anything for three months. I’m not.


I’ve recommended several people, and personally brought in a dear friend of mine on the fourth of next month who has had three back surgeries by other physicians. He is bedridden, and can only get out of the bed two days out of a month. So I want Dr. McCord to look at him and see if he can do anything for the man. He’s 54 years old I believe. He’s had three surgeries, he’d do good for a couple of months and then right back in the pain. He’s asked his insurance and he’s a little scared because Dr. McCord is not in his network, but I told him go see the man. It’d be worth money out of your pocket if he can fix you.


The good thing is Dr. McCord is straight up going to tell you, not going to candy coat it. He’ll tell you if he can or cannot fix you. Like I told him, this is a one time shot, I don’t care what you got to do, fix it while you’re in there because I don’t want to go through it again. First couple weeks are pretty rough. I ain’t going to lie to nobody about that. That’s about the most intense pain I’ve been in, but by the third week it started to turn around. Two weeks and seven days I started going back to the shop and working. I was in some pain, I pushed the envelope a bit. Some just want to sit around and take pain pills, not me. I don’t want to if I can keep trying.


My friend hurts so bad that he wish they’d paralyze him so he wouldn’t be in pain. I told Rick all the time, see Dr. McCord. He’ll see him next month on the fourth. I told Dr. McCord if he’d see us both at the same time and told him the situation. So Rick’s got all of his MRIs and everything they done in the past, and he’s going to look at his records. He’ll tell you right straight up whether he can or cannot fix you. I don’t believe he’s a doctor that will tell you he can fix you, get in there, and you’re no better than what you were. He won’t open you up and do that.


I talked to several people before I let anyone cut on me and you can ask my wife, or my chiropractor, after the first time I walked into Dr. McCord...that was the most comforting I had felt about from anyone I had talked to. I didn’t like the way anybody else had talked about what they were going to do to my back, how long I’d be down, what I’d be limited to after surgery, etc. I felt more comfortable with Dr. McCord. I guess if I had to have back surgery again I know where I’ll be going. Hopefully I don’t, but if I do, I know where I’ll go.


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