Cyclist riding pain free after successful spine surgery at RMH


If anyone understands what it means to be pain free, it is Steven Michik, a cyclist and avid outdoorsman who suffered from debilitating back pain for over 12 years.

Steve credits Rome Memorial Hospital’s medical director of Neurosciences Nicholas Qandah, DO for giving him the opportunity to live life to the fullest. “Dr. Q”, as he is affectionately called, sees patients in the Rome office of his practice, Central New York Brain & Spine Neurosurgery, and performs surgery and administers spinal injections at the hospital.

“When the pain first started, I was able to function pretty normally but had occasional flare-ups which kept me from many activities such as cycling, hiking and yoga,” Steve said. “I would try to fight through it, but over the years the pain progressed to the point I could barely walk, not to mention do the things I loved to do.”

Steve tried different therapies including exercise, prescription pain killers, and spinal injections, but over time they proved to be ineffective. “I knew surgery was my last option,” he explained.

“Dr. Q and his staff have been absolutely wonderful since day one of my treatment,” Steve explained. “I was hopeful that the first time I walked through his door would be the start of my healing, and I was right!”

To relieve the pain, Steve underwent lumbar discectomy surgery to remove a herniated, strangled disc in addition to a hemilaminectomy, a procedure to remove part of a vertebra.

“My pain was 10 out of 10 when I arrived at Rome Memorial Hospital that morning,” Steve recalls. “But, when I woke up from surgery, the pain was gone! I was up and walking just fine.”

“It was a miracle!”

Steve was grateful to know that Dr. Qandah performed surgeries at Rome Memorial Hospital, so close to Steve’s home.

“My hospital stay was perfect,” he said. “The nurses were magnificent. I asked a lot of questions and wanted to know about everything that was happening and every pain medication that was prescribed,” Steve continued. “The nurses loved explaining everything to me every step of the way.”

“Everyone I encountered at the hospital was wonderful including nurses, physical therapists and the folks who cleaned my room.”

Steve’s recuperation is slow but steady. Physical therapy helps him strengthen his lower back and core muscles. At home, Steve rides his bike on a trainer with an app that simulates road races through the Alps.

He’s happy with that for the time being but the Adirondacks is where he really wants to be.

Steve is eager to get back outdoors with his wife, Rebekah, taking century bike rides and hiking the Adirondacks with his camera to capture the perfect sunset. 

“I look forward to getting back up to the mountains and just enjoying life pain free,” Steve said.

“Thank you, Dr. Q, for giving me my life back – for that I will always be grateful!”

In addition to general neurosurgery, Dr. Qandah treats patients with back and neck pain, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs. He has special interest and expertise in minimally invasive spine surgery, complex spine surgery, and surgery for scoliosis.

Fellowship trained in complex and minimally-invasive spine surgery, Dr. Qandah has expertise in regenerative and less invasive treatment of the spine.

Dr. Qandah’s office in Rome is located at Chestnut Commons, 107 E. Chestnut St., Suite 105. For more information, call 315-356-7780.

Rome Memorial Hospital has been nationally recognized for patient safety and has the lowest surgical site infection rate of hospitals in the region.


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