In 2003, founder Richard Longland was grappling with difficult spine problems. While working in high tech as a marketing director, his lumbar spine problem made his work life difficult – not being able to sit in meetings or in an office chair were the obvious signs of a crumbling spine.
After visiting multiple spine doctors and getting a discogram and imaging studies, it became obvious that some type of corrective spine surgery was necessary to help him regain a normal quality of life. Scouring Internet sites, reaching into online communities and talking to patients by telephone helped him learn about newer treatment procedures. It also painted a confusing landscape of spinal treatment options, each with a wide range of likely outcomes. At the same time, horror stories abounded for new, unapproved procedures as well as for “gold standard” options like fusion.
Though fusion was recommended by one doctor, the “notion of motion” seemed like a better choice for a cyclist and hiker like Richard. While his chronic pain devolved into a disability, he wondered, “Is there anything better than a century-old procedure” to address the pain while maintaining spinal motion?
Richard opted for Charite artificial disc replacement and had surgery in June of 2004 in Boston. While recovering, he launched the ADRSupport Web site and discussion board, which grew quickly and globally. It continues to draw patients from all over the world. See his “Ten Lessons” and short video here.
Richard identified many persistent problems facing hundreds of thousands of spine patients and decided to do something about it. In 2006, he started the application for tax-exemption from the IRS, and in 2007 the Arthroplasty Patient Foundation received the official 501(c)(3) classification. The foundation originally focused on the complex and chronic needs of spine patients. But the mission has evolved and expanded to focus on the actual root causes of chronic inflammatory diseases that lead to joint degeneration.