I became a chiropractor at the age of 26. Many chiropractors go into our profession because they were helped by one. I was not, but my wife’s daily relentless headaches were. I was impressed, so here I am. Although I did get adjusted in my 20’s and 30’s I did not become serious about my own spine until I was disabled by it at the age of 39. It was Memorial Day 2000 when it all came to a head. There is much more to this story than we have the space for, but at that time I could not take a step on my right leg without a severe sharp pain in my right hip, along with constant aching pain in my right leg and foot. My family at the time was playing a fair amount of tennis, which I could not do. I could barely walk, let alone run. At the time I feared this was forever. Finally, after 13 years of giving advice to patients, I began to take my own advice. I started Initial Intensive Care with frequent adjustments and deep tissue therapy.
It would take months of attention before the pain slowly faded from a 3-4 on my 1-4 scale to a 1-2. I continued with my weekly adjustments and intermittent deep tissue therapy. I began a, now, 14 year long commitment to weight loss and weight management, aerobic exercise, supplementation, and hydration. I changed every aspect of my health behavior slowly incorporating one change after another. Despite years of continuous care my right leg would vary from a 0 to a 2. I was happy for the 0’s, accepting of the 1’s, and frustrated when a 2 came around. No 3’s thankfully.
For reasons and circumstances beyond the space here I began a running program. In March 2009 while out for my morning run I felt what I can only describe as a tapping at my L5 vertebra with every step. When I walked it stopped. When I ran it tapped. So I walked home and within 2 hours my back was frozen and so weak I could literally not stand without holding myself up with a large walking stick. Three more months of intensive care. More deep tissue therapy. Recovery from this injury came over the spring and summer. I only missed one day of work by sheer force of will, not because I was ready to adjust patients.
As much for myself as for you, I developed what I now call my Disc Pump Exercises. I have been doing these for 3-4 years now and as a result of my positive experience, have incorporated them into what I call my Three Tool Model of treatment. I attribute my newly-found stabilization to the combination of ALL THREE tools, weekly adjustments, daily disc pump exercises, and deep tissue therapy every month or two (it should be monthly but I’m working on that).
In all it has taken me 14 years, perhaps 1,000 adjustments, scores of hours of deep tissue therapy, and 3-4 years of near daily disc pump exercises to achieve the greatest stability my spine has experienced since this mess all started while driving through Victorville in 2000. My last aggravation was a minor one just before last Christmas.
And what have I learned? 1) Patience. 2) It takes complete devotion to all three treatment tools to get maximum results. 3) I should have taken my own advice long before I was 39. 4) You can never fix the spine, or any joint, just improve and manage it, but you can do so very successfully with the right treatment, enough time, and, again, patience, my patients.