Paul W. McDonough, MD, is a respected Abilene, Texas, spine surgeon who treats patients with conditions such as arthritis and spinal slippage and curvature. A longtime resident of West Texas, Dr. Paul W. McDonough has embraced the regional culture and maintains an active interest in wildlife management and the great outdoors.
One of the most popular scenic destinations in the local area is Abilene State Park, which comprises more than 500 acres of land in Taylor County and was acquired by the state in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. A Civilian Conservation Corps project, work on the park was completed in 1934.
A semi-arid environment characterized by brushland, short-grass prairie, and riparian woods, the park encompasses camping and trails as well as a historic swimming pool and a fishing pond. The Buffalo Wallow Pond can be fished without permit and is stocked with crappie, bass, perch, and catfish. Wildlife in the park ranges from cottontail rabbits and armadillos to the ubiquitous white-tailed deer.
Spine surgeon Paul W. McDonough, MD, in Abilene, Texas, specializes in lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spinal surgery.
When 32-year-old Mary Jones arrived at the hospital in Dr. Paul McDonough’s care, she was unable to move or control any part of her body. Assaulted by her husband, who twisted her neck in a brutal attack and then held her captive for four days afterward, Jones presented with dehydration, rhabdomyolysis (a dangerous breakdown of muscle tissue), and a C-fracture dislocation in her upper neck.
Dr. McDonough performed surgery to stabilize Jones’ spine and relieve pressure, but was not sure that she would regain mobility. In the 24-hour period following a spinal injury, it’s difficult to know what a patient’s ultimate prognosis will be, McDonough said. But four days after her initial injury, the surgeon knew that Jones would no longer be in the “spinal shock” that typically characterizes such an injury, he said.
With that grim realization, McDonough said he didn’t expect any significant recovery.
“Less than 1 percent of patients in that situation will see any meaningful improvement,” he said, though he performed surgery to stabilize and remove pressure from Jones’ spine.
Jones said McDonough was honest with her, telling her he couldn’t promise that she would recover.
She appreciated both his expertise, she said, as well as his honesty. But the thought of not being able to hold close her two children, Jared Jones, 8, and Chelsie Combs, 11, was just too much to bear, she said.”I just wanted to be strong,” she said. “Everyone told me how bad it was, but I just said, ‘I want to do this.'”
And she did. After her stay in the hospital, Jones went to the Hendrick Center for Rehabilitation, still unable to move. Physical therapists helped her to build her core strength, and she soon surprised everyone by regaining movement in her limbs as well. Within a month, Jones could move her right foot and text with her right hand. Though recovery continues, she recently has walked around the block unassisted.
Grateful, Jones commented, “I’m one out of a hundred. I shouldn’t be here. I should be gone. But God gave me another chance.”
Follow these simple guidelines to keep your back in good shape.
Keeping one foot forward of the other, with knees slightly bent, takes the pressure off your lower back.
Sitting with your knees slightly higher than your hips provides good low back support.
Stand on a stool to reach things that are above your shoulder level.
4) Moving Heavy Items
Pushing is easier on your back than pulling. Use your arms and legs to start the push. If you must lift a heavy item, get someone to help you.
Kneel down on one knee with the other, foot flat on the floor, as near as possible to the item you are lifting. Lift with your legs, not your back, keeping the object close to your body at all times.
Two small objects (one in either hand) may be easier to handle than one large one. If you must carry one large object, keep it close to your body.
Sleeping on your back puts 55 lbs. of pressure on your back. Putting a couple of pillows under your knees cuts the pressure in half. Lying on your side with a pillow between your knees also reduces the pressure.
8) Weight Control
Additional weight puts a strain on your back. Keep within 10 lbs. of your ideal weight for a healthier back.
9) Quit Smoking
Smokers are more prone to back pain than nonsmokers because nicotine restricts the flow of blood to the disks that cushion your vertebrae.
10) Minor Back Pain
Treat Minor back pain with anti-inflammatories and gentle stretching, followed by an ice pack.