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By Sara Kearns

I’ve always loved to travel, and I built my career around it. In my current job I lead African safaris several times a year. I find Africa to be a magical place.

About two years ago, I started having this awful pain in my back and leg. The pain increased, and standing was unbearable. I tried acupuncture, physical therapy, and pain management, but nothing worked. The pain increased to the point of debilitation — I was in misery. There were two big safaris where I really wasn’t able to move around, and I had to use a wheelchair when I went through the airports. Before my back started bothering me, I used to lead the trips and be very active. But the pain had gotten to the point where I thought perhaps I’d never walk again.

Finally, my family practitioner had me go for an MRI, and he sent the pictures to Dr. Härtl. When I saw Dr. Härtl, he told me my diagnosis was mostly my age (I turned 70 last August). I had spinal lumbar stenosis and spondylolisthesis, in which the spine leans on the nerves. It really is about age, because it’s just a wear-and-tear injury from decades of living. Read Sara’s story and see photos of her African adventures

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