Patrick's Story

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a modern martial arts discipline with ancient roots. Its practitioners use leverage, angles, pressure and timing to achieve the non-violent submission of an opponent. Patrick Sumara, 32, of Chicago, has been competing in Jiu-Jitsu for several years and practices this sport and kickboxes nearly seven days a week. His goal is to one day win a world championship Jiu-Jitsu title.

However, lingering spine injuries from a car accident at age 21 recently left him wondering if that goal of a championship was going to be attainable.

“I spent years with neck and shoulder problems after my accident,” Sumara says. “I saw massage therapists, physical therapists and a chiropractor. I eventually got very annoyed that nothing was working.”

A full six years after his accident, a physical therapist who was treating Sumara became concerned about the loss of strength and mild paralysis in Sumara’s right arm. The therapist worried that conservative treatment wasn’t enough and suggested Sumara see a minimally invasive spine surgeon, Dr. Kern Singh, for an evaluation.

Imaging that Dr. Singh ordered demonstrated Sumara had a large disc herniation in his neck causing severe nerve root and spinal cord compression. Dr. Singh recommended an outpatient minimally invasive surgery to fix the problem and relieve his pain.

“Patrick underwent an outpatient cervical fusion. The reason we opted for the fusion was that he wanted to get back to full-contact Jiu Jitsu,” explains Dr. Singh. “Otherwise, he would have been a great candidate for a disc replacement as well.”

Sumara agreed and underwent a minimally invasive spinal discectomy and cervical fusion.

Immediately following surgery, Sumara was out of pain and grateful to Dr. Singh for his excellent care. However, because of his severe nerve compression, Patrick experienced some loss of strength on his right side and needed a course of post-operative physical therapy. Although feeling much better, he became frustrated at the loss of function in his right arm and couldn’t perform optimally in workouts. He reached out to Dr. Singh again.

“I was 100% confident in the surgical solution I provided him and was sure his function could be improved by a specialized kind of therapy my partner Dr. Tom Lotus provides,” he explained.

Dr. Lotus, a McKenzie-trained orthopedic chiropractor, agreed with Dr. Singh, and educated Sumara in an exercise protocol that he could continue at home to improve his strength. 

“After a detailed history and examination, we were able to eliminate all of Patrick’s symptoms in his arm and restore his muscle strength. The value of the McKenzie assessment and treatment is its reliability for each presenting condition”

“I couldn’t believe it, but within five minutes of my first visit to Dr. Lotus, I had strength back in my right arm,” Sumara says. “He taught me specific stretches and exercises like aggressive chin tucks and chair push-backs that were very simple but extremely effective right away.”

Today, Sumara describes his life as pain-free and is pleased with the strength in his right arm. Since meeting Dr. Lotus and Dr. Singh, he has won Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, open mat competitions and continues to kickbox at a championship level.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Singh, Dr. Lotus, and how they work together for patients, view a Facebook Live video here.