Martial arts instructor thriving, pain-free after spinal surgery

Kurt Clauser spent the day as he had spent most Saturdays since the late 1980s: honing his mind and body to perfect his martial arts technique. But unbeknownst to Kurt, this particular Saturday would have a much different ending.

The next morning, Kurt, 54, awoke in his Rowlett home in debilitating pain.

“It felt like someone poured boiling hot water down my lower back and leg as I tried to stand up,” he said.

After day two, he was still in excruciating pain and was now unable to walk. He made an appointment to see his primary care physician and a few days later, using a cane to walk and unable to sleep, he was referred to Jason Taub, MD, a neurosurgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano. There, Kurt underwent testing to see how severe the injury was. Dr. Taub also prescribed medication to help manage the pain while he awaited the test results.

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Unfortunately, the injury was too severe for medication alone to manage. Test results revealed that he had severely injured the L4 and L5 discs in his lower back.

“Mr. Clauser had a very large disc extrusion with severe compression of the nerve root,” Dr. Taub said. “This caused his severe back pain, as well as leg pain, numbness and weakness. With the severity of this injury, I was surprised by his ability to even get out of bed.”

Based on the test results, his leg weakness and the inability to manage his pain non-surgically, Dr. Taub worked with his team to schedule an expedited surgery to repair the ruptured discs and help Kurt get back to his active life.

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After surgery to repair the ruptured discs, Kurt was amazed to wake up pain-free.

“I’m so grateful for Dr. Taub and his amazing support staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano,” he said. “I now have my life back, and I’m able to get back to my passion of practicing martial arts.”

“After the anesthesia wore off, I woke up and realized the pain in my back and leg was completely gone,” he said.

With his back pain becoming a distant memory, Kurt was eager to return to his martial arts training. He practices Wing Chun, a style of Kung Fu, and teaches classes as an assistant instructor. He knew a proper recovery would be critical in getting back to his active lifestyle and was determined to follow Dr. Taub’s orders explicitly.

A mere two months after surgery, he was able to return to the gym to resume core exercises and light resistance training. Not long after, Kurt’s dream of returning to martial arts became a reality. Today, he’s back to both practicing and teaching Wing Chun.

“I’m so grateful for Dr. Taub and his amazing support staff at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Plano,” he said. “I now have my life back, and I’m able to get back to my passion of practicing martial arts.”

Movement is a beautiful thing until it hurts. Discover how you can move better today.

About the author

Matthew Olivolo
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Matthew Olivolo is a senior marketing and public relations consultant for Baylor Scott & White Health. He is a former U.S. Marine journalist and communications professional. When he isn’t writing, he competes in Ironman triathlon races across the country.

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Martial arts instructor thriving, pain-free after spinal surgery