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Larry's Bad Back

Photo courtesy of loop_oh


I recently read a study about patients with giant disc herniations.  The study followed 37 people over 2 years who had massive disc herniations with severe sciatica.  At follow up two years later 83% had “complete and sustained recovery” and only 4 underwent surgery.  Interestingly, MRIs showed an average of 64% reduction in the size of the herniation but that didn’t correlate well with the degree of recovery.  In other words, whether or not the bulge reduced, people got better.  The conclusion of the matter was that the body is very able to heal even a massive disc herniation.


I tell you that to introduce you to Larry (name changed to protect the recovered!).  Larry came to see me complaining of severe low back pain, some leg pain and progressive weakness in his right foot.  His troubles started without warning or provocation and were very severe.  It was clear that he had a massive lower back disc herniation that was pressing on his sciatic nerve to the point where his leg muscles were losing power.  He developed foot drop which means his foot flopped on the ground when he walked because of muscle weakness.  In short, he was in bad shape.


We discussed his options and my proposed care plan which included Cox decompression adjusting and simple home exercises.  Larry was the kind of patient I really love to deal with in that he researched his problem and options and asked a lot of questions.  He eventually decided that our care was his best option and so we began.


He was adjusted twice a day in the beginning and we assessed his progress after a month.  Results were typically slow to start but after about a month his back pain subsided significantly.  His leg returned until it was close to normal after 6-8 weeks.  Today he’s a happy man and is actively working to activate and strengthen his deep spinal muscles in our spinal fitness lab to help avoid a relapse.


There were a number of factors that lead to Larry’s recovery.  One, we correctly identified his problem.  Two, we had the most appropriate tools to deal with his problem (Cox decompression table).  Three, Larry took an active role in his care and was persistent in his determination to get well.


Sometimes people mistakenly think that chiropractors can’t deal with the more serious spinal issues.  The truth is that that’s who is best able to deal with these problems.


What do you think is the number one cause of low back and leg pain?


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