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Positively Colorado: Wheat Ridge doctor helps Hazel Miller get back on stage

The local music icon had pain in her leg and foot. She went to several doctors. Finally one of them figured out what was wrong and fixed it.

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. — If you live in Colorado and you love soul music and the blues, chances are you've seen Hazel Miller perform. 

She's been an iconic part of the music scene for decades, doing shows with her band and singing with Big Head Todd and the Monsters. 

But last summer Miller was not only singing the blues, but living them too. The pain in her leg and foot came out of nowhere. She had trouble walking, standing and performing. Her shows changed. She started singing while sitting down. 

"It's so hard to sing Aretha Franklin sitting in a chair," Miller said. 

She went to several doctors, but no one could figure it out. Then an emergency room referred her to Dr. Mark Magner at the Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge. 

Dr. Magner thought the foot and leg problem was actually a back problem. An MRI confirmed it; a herniated disc. 

Dr. Magner did microscopic surgery to remove the disc, and Miller's pain went away almost immediately. Dr. Magner said it's pretty rare that the disc issue leads to surgery. 

"85% of people who have a disc herniation can avoid surgery," Dr. Magner said. "Their body kind of heals itself with some physical therapy, medical massages, chiropractors, steroid injections and time. People get better." 

But Miller didn't, so it lead to the surgery. Six months later, her painful journey is over.

Now, with the music business starting to come out of COVID-19 pandemic, and her leg and foot healed, Hazel Miller is back on the stage. She's full of energy, positivity and looking forward to singing the blues. 

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