Back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, knee pain. A patients horrible journey through procedureland
I’m in horrible pain she said on the phone the other night to our chiropractic assistant and the physical therapist suggest we use Graston Technique on her on a certain part of her back that nobody can touch. She also had a concern because she was being sent for epidural injections of the spine the following week, unaware that this would require three sessions and that this costly procedure rarely affords long term relief.
Laura, my chiropractic assistant asked me about this and I promptly picked up the phone to understand the situation. From our conversation, it was clear that there was a larger issue that was causing the problem, and the doctors were just looking at the parts that were going bad because of it. The following day, the patient came in andbegan to explain how this painful odyssey began.
A number of years ago, this older patient had a pain in the back. The doctor in New York City decided she needed to have a minimally invasive procedure on two discs in her back. She stated that after having that done, the pain was gone until a couple of years later when it returned to a lower area of the spine. Another procedure was done. She then began to have knee pain, resulting in a kneecap replacement done multiple times due to complications from infection. Then the lower back began to hurt again and out of desperation, she was now advised that she was very arthritic and a spinal fusion was necessary. After the spinal fusion, she now had constant horrible pain in her right hip where the bone graft was performed.
While she spoke, it was observed that her shoulders rolled in, with the left side worse. As she stood up, the arches in her feet flattened out as her feet spread out, with the right side more and the left arch falling in. When she was shown this, she said she always had high arches. It was explained to her that these features are inherited and have likely been there all her life, without her realizing it until she began to have back problems. It was also explain to her that there is no normal, but a perception of normal because people feel a certain way and assume that is their normal and since we see the world through our own eyes, this is our frame of reference. This made sense to her.
She also noticed her one hip was much lower on the right and as she raised her right hand up, she stated she also had a bad right shoulder. She also noticed how stiff and uncomfortable her neck was, an area the doctor told her was too arthritic to operate on.
This is a real patient, who out of a lack of knowledge thought that body parts just go bad and that she required all these procedures which in the end, were just symptom remedies because the real problem was she is built asymmetrically. As I connected the dots for her, she began to realize the problem all along was her feet and the way she walks, even though she did not complain of foot pain or leg cramps. During her evaluation, he legs were quite
tight and because the x rays showed a huge fusion in her lower back with screws and metal, it would be difficult for me to get the results we would both want but it would be likely she can improve by wearing inserts in her shoes.
She was given superfeet foot orthotics to wear and she noticed that her neck moved better, her husband noticed that her hips leveled out and I worked on trying to relieve the area of pain, since using Graston tools on areas that contain metal is contra indicated.
At the end of our visit, she learned quite a bit about why the problems were present and other methods she could have used years ago which could have eliminated the need for many of these procedures that were ineffective because they attempted to treat the symptoms, rather than the reasons for the symptoms.
Unfortunately, many people who are in pain are scared, irritable and at times sleep deprived as they make decisions that can be life altering, while being placed in the hands of physicians who have little understanding of why problems like this occur.
Lessons you can learn from this case.
Finding a healthcare provider who understands why people hurt is difficult, since many doctors are continuing to sell suffering patients a bill of goods that just cannot work. In the wake of this failure, they are then sent to pain management doctors who again know little about why people hurt. Unfortunately, Medicare and other insurance plans just pay the bill and did not question the medical necessity of care that does not address the problem.
We need to be better healthcare consumers. Read the book Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain. It is available on Amazon.com. This book will put you in charge.
As more insurance plans put the patient at financial risk, more people are putting medical procedures of all kinds off. Many are finding out a few years later that their health did not change or in some cases got better without the procedure. Perhaps the wait for procedures we hear about in other countries has an other benefit; healthier patients. As we can see from this case (and many of us know similar situations), there are likely other choices that can be made that would not be as costly and would likely work better.
For a better and worldlier look at your aches and pains, see a chiropractor. More people are beginning to realize this and more primary doctors are developing relationships as well as visiting chiropractors for their own health issues. Less invasive is always a better option first and chiropractors are primary care for the musculoskeletal system. Why place your faith anywhere else and then pay more for it why placing yourself at risk. Choose a chiropractor who looks beyond the spine, works with the muscles and fascia and offers active care (exercises and active evaluation methods) rather than passive (machines). They are most likely able to give you a better long term outcome with fewer visits.
Dr. William Charschan is the author of Cheating Mother Nature, what you need to know to beat chronic pain. It is available in both Kindle and paperback formats. Dr. Charschan is also currently working with Eclipse International to develop a new line of mattresses to help those in chronic pain sleep better. Dr. Charschan practices in both No. Brunswick and Scotch Plains NJ.