Joe’s Summit Story

Hear how Joe and Dr. Sabers worked together, and continue to work together on the best care plan for Joe’s lifestyle.

Joe: My name is Joe Rubenstein. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri. I was raised in Des Moines, Iowa, and I came to the Twin Cities in the early ’80s. When I met my wife, she had been scuba diving around the world for several years and she invited me to come with a group of her friends for a week’s worth of diving on a dive boat. So I got certified and went with her. The first time I went diving, I had a buoyancy control device that put all the weight on my shoulders. And that transferred down my spine to my lower back, and it was quite painful. After a week of using the buoyancy control device that I had rented, my back was spasming all of the time. A friend of mine who was being treated by Dr. Sabers suggested that I call and see if I could get an appointment with him. And so that’s how I got acquainted with Dr. Sabers.

Dr. Sabers: Joe’s a very pleasant and straightforward individual who originally saw us, he was struggling with back and leg pain that was limiting his ability to do the things that he wanted to pursue. His imaging showed that he had what is called foraminal stenosis, which is basically nerve hole narrowing or a pinched nerve. So there’s a whole spectrum of treatment options for most of the things that we see. And that includes doing nothing, but most people who are seeking treatment don’t want to do that. There’s physical therapy exercises, medications that can be taken orally, injections if need be to try to assist that nonsurgical program. And there are also surgical options, though they are clearly more invasive.

Joe: When Dr. Sabers and I talked, I think we both agreed: the less weight you carry around your middle, the easier it is on your back. I’ve come down from about 200, 210 pounds to about 163 or 164 pounds. With my wife’s help, I’ve changed the way that I eat. And we do try, both of us, to see that we do some kind of exercise every day. And I think when the weather is good that means that we’ll bike 10 to 15 miles a day or go to the health club and do our routine.

Dr. Sabers: Joe took responsibility for his care. He was very active, he worked out on a regular basis. So initially, we treated his discomfort predominantly with physical therapy and a little bit of medication. And he did remarkably well for a couple of years. He came back to see us later, struggling again, and with that bout it was just a little bit more pronounced. And we ended up carrying out an injection for him, which, again, helped quiet things down and then get him back to doing the things he wanted to do.

Joe: I like the fact that Dr. Sabers spent, and continues to spend, a little bit of time focusing on me as a person, what my goals are, and to try to align his treatment plan with my goals. And to try to do what he can medically, as opposed to surgically – to see that I can continue to enjoy the kind of life that I want to live. We both understand that my condition is not going to heal itself. It’s a process, and you know that the treatments are going to change over time. And he’s been candid with me that at some point I may need a little surgery. And I can’t tell you how much I appreciate his honesty in telling me what lies ahead. It makes it a lot easier for me to manage my condition.

Summit Orthopedics offers comprehensive spine expertise

Summit Orthopedics’ Spine Care program is recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for the comprehensive expertise of our patient-centered care. Our back specialists diagnose spine problems and design custom treatment plans built on a conservative, nonsurgical approach. Most patients find relief through treatments including guided injections, specialized physical therapy, biofeedback, exercise, activity modification, and medication. When conservative care does not relieve symptoms, our highly skilled surgeons offer proven, evidence-based surgical options. Together with you, we will determine the right course of action.

Start your journey to a healthy spine. Find your spine expert, request an appointment online, or call us at (651) 968–5201 to schedule a spine consultation.

Summit has convenient locations across the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, serving Minnesota and western Wisconsin. We have state-of-the-art centers for comprehensive orthopedic care in Eagan, MNPlymouth, MN, Vadnais Heights, MN, and Woodbury, MN, as well as additional community clinics throughout the metro and southern Minnesota. 

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