Harold – Spinal Decompression
My name is Harold and I am a spinal decompression patient under the care of Dr. Michael Davis at Firm Foundation Chiropractic.
Many years ago, while serving in the military, I sustained a career ending low back injury. My military medical doctor thought I would never walk again, but through long hours of rehab and many visits to the chiropractor, I regained normal function.
It was my chiropractor who advised me that I would have lower back disc problems in my later years, but I didn’t think too much about that at the time because I was young and had overcome the odds and was walking.
I stopped going to the chiropractor regularly, and got busy with life. I would have back pain flair ups every few months for the next few decades. Every so often, when I had a particularly bad episode of back pain, I would visit a chiropractor.
Each time I was advised to start regular care to “manage” my injury. I really didn’t understand what “managing my injury” meant and I figured I would save some money since my pain always responded to adjustments.
I just did things my way until I was in my early 60’s and had a particularly bad episode with sciatic and low back pain. I began treatment with Dr. Davis’ predecessor Dr. Ferezy, who x-rayed me and referred me for an MRI.
I was diagnosed with a bad herniated disc in the lower lumbar area. It was a direct result of the injury I sustained in my 20’s. I learned that regular chiropractic care may have slowed the rate of degeneration, and may even have reduced the flair ups and severity of my pain over those many years. Boy did I wish I had listened to all those chiropractors when I was younger!
I tried the medical route to treat my sciatica but the pain meds made me loopy and the physical therapist hurt me even more! I was introduced to spinal decompression traction which was my saving grace at the chiropractor’s office.
At first, I was sore and it didn’t seem to be doing much. I stuck with it on the advice of the doctor and after 10 sessions, I turned the corner on my back pain. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Davis took over my treatment and after consulting my MRI, x-rays and doing a physical exam, he told me I could continue decompression traction for as long as it benefitted me.
He explained that because there was so much degeneration, the clock was ticking on my bulging disc and eventually I would need surgery. I appreciated his candor and hoped he was wrong!
After 3 years further as a decompression patient I started to experience less relief from treatments. Dr. Davis helped me along and finally urged me to seek the services of an orthopedic surgeon for a consult. Needless to say, I put that off for about six months. I wanted to wait and was dragging my feet again but Dr. Davis convinced me it was becoming serious and that I couldn’t wait any longer.
The orthopedic surgeon was impressed that I had gone as long as I did with a pretty bad disc herniation, and was also impressed with Dr. Davis’ assessment. I was having some cord compression which needed immediate treatment and Dr. Davis recognized the danger signs and got me to face the fact I needed surgery.
I had emergency surgery and fused the area in question. The decompression gave me about 12 years extra before I had to have surgery. It really helped me to be able to function at a normal level with hardly any pain.
Two years post-surgery I started to have some back pain just above the fusion area. I recalled that Dr. Davis had told me that the fusion would place a greater strain on the disc above the surgery site and degeneration in that area would be accelerated.
He even told me I would experience pain there within 2-3 years. Of course, Dr. Davis counseled decompression and chiropractic adjustments to “manage my condition” when I first went in for surgery but I waited! As soon as I started having the pain, I got back under “regular care” right away and have been pain free for the last year!
This time I plan to take the doctor’s advice to avoid problems in the future. I get regular adjustments and experience much better low back health! I just wish I could turn back the clock tell my younger self to “manage my injury” with chiropractic care and decompression!