Patient Profile: Tanner Gibson

When 17 year old Tanner from Decatur started experiencing daily leg pain, she initially thought she was being too active. Between her job in a doctor’s office, working out regularly at the gym, and her daily walks with her dog, Callie, that seemed like a reasonable assumption. In addition to her typical activities, Tanner had recently been helping a friend pack to move. She hoped the pain was related to her over-exertion and would resolve with a little rest. Unfortunately, the pain worsened and became an ongoing hardship.  

Tanner endured discomfort for four months before she went to a chiropractor. Unfortunately, that visit brought only a short respite from her pain. Steroid packs and acupuncture didn’t bring relief, either. 

Family trips were canceled as she dealt with debilitating back pain. She was unable to sit through long car rides or enjoy short walks. Tanner started to feel depressed about missing out on life. 

Tanner’s mother Kacey, a nurse, was desperate to find a solution for her daughter’s pain. Finally, at the recommendation of a colleague, she and Tanner visited the office of Dr. Larry Parker, a well-known and respected TOC spine surgeon.

Dr. Parker was able to quickly diagnose the source of Tanner’s troubles as sciatic pain due to a slipped disc, which was pinching a nerve. The solution would require surgery… Tanner knew this was her opportunity to find relief and scheduled her surgery within two weeks of that visit. 

“I was really afraid for her to have any procedure done to her back, but we felt we had exhausted all other options.” Kacey recounted. Thankfully, consistent communication from Tanner’s surgeon helped relieve her parental anxieties.  Dr. Parker called Tanner’s mother before the surgery to discuss previous successes he had with similar cases. He also spoke with her the morning of the surgery and after it was complete to report on the procedure’s success. Tanner was released to go home after a couple hours. “Looking back, I wish we had considered the procedure much sooner,” Kacey said. 

After two weeks of rest at home, Tanner was back at work and enjoying her life totally pain-free. “Before I had surgery, I thought I would have to miss my Senior Trip. Now, I feel 100% better. The Senior Trip is booked and I’m Bahama bound!” Tanner said. 

Dr. Parker and TOC are very glad to have been a part of Tanner’s recovery. We wish her well as she and Callie enjoy an active life once again.  

TOC stands ready to create many more positive outcomes for our patient family with our excellent team of Spine Surgeons: Drs. Blake Boyett, Larry Parker, John Rodriguez-Feo, Calame Sammons, Brian Scholl, Morris Seymour, and Murray Spruiell. In addition, physicians Steven Buckley and Michael Lawley, TOC’s pediatric orthopaedic specialists, treat spine issues in children ages newborn to 14.

(A version of this article was originally published in TOC’s Winter 2018-19 newsletter.)

TOC Patient Spotlight - Tanner Gibson

“Tanner woke up from surgery with immediate relief.  We would recommend Dr. Parker to anyone having back pain.”

– Tanner’s mother, Kacey 

“It is highly unusual to see this kind of injury in someone so young, but fortunately, I’ve had lots of success with these operations and patients of all ages are able to resume their normal lives. It’s so rewarding to see someone recover and enjoy life as they want.”

Dr. Larry Parker 
                TOC Spine Surgeon