It took 40 years and four physicians to diagnose one man’s back pain – and one day for him to feel relief

After decades of pain, musician and avid gardener Jan Mondrus finally found a spine surgeon who could treat his fractured spine.

Jan Mondrus was in his 20s, riding in the back seat of a car, when he arched his back and felt a flood of pain. It was the first time the musician, now in his mid-60s, experienced an intense spasm in his lower back. Little did Jan know this would be the start of a tumultuous 40-year journey toward beating back pain.

“After a few more occasional back spasms, I went to my doctor and had an MRI,” Mondrus said. “He said I had herniated discs and at that point, there was nothing he could do for me.”

Years later, after more painful spasms that temporarily left Mondrus unable to walk, he saw another doctor and got the same answer.

His spasms continued intermittently over the next 20 years.

Fast forward to a consult with an orthopedic surgeon, a diagnosis of spondylosis – essentially a fractured spine – and Mondrus found himself researching spine surgeons.

“Dr. Scott A. Meyer at Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists stood out because of his expertise with complex and minimally invasive spine surgeries,” Mondrus said.

Dr. Meyer, a board-certified neurosurgeon, performed decompression surgery to alleviate the pressure Mondrus’s spine was exerting on his nerves, as well as spinal fusion to correct the structure of his vertebrae.

“Going into surgery, I had no guarantees I would ever feel my leg again. Lo and behold, I regained feeling and felt relief the very next day,” he said.

One month later, Mondrus was back to digging in his garden and cleared to play tennis, which another physician said he would never be able to play again.

“Jan’s story highlights how important it is for patients with spine injuries to consult with a neurosurgeon who focuses specifically on the spine,” Dr. Meyer said. “If Jan had resigned himself to being restricted by his pain, the ending to his story would be quite different.”

For more information on Atlantic NeuroSurgical Specialists (ANS), visit