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I was impressed that the chiropractor spent so much more time with my history and physical exam than the orthopedic and neurology specialists did and that he was able to diagnose, treat, and correct my condition that was so debilitating. A lasting impression arose from a side issue not related to my injury. In the course of the extensive history he pulled from me, I relayed the problem of daily headaches for as long as I could remember. I never complained about them because I had them every day for so long at a young age I thought it was normal and everyone had them. My chiropractor continued to ask detailed questions about the headaches and examined my neck to look for the origin. He not only found a structural problem in my neck that was causing the headaches, but he relieved them.
This experience had such a strong impact on me because I never thought I could live without pain at the age of 12. It was so valuable to me and made such a major difference in the quality of my life that I wanted to help others in the same way. It inspired me to become a chiropractor so that I could offer the same hope to others with a return to a healthy, pain-free life. Each patient presents an opportunity for me to make a difference in the quality of their life and nothing gives me greater joy.
At 12 years of age I experienced low back pain that radiated to my leg. I was always very active participating in sports at every opportunity. In the 8th grade, I injured my lower back in a fall during a soccer game at school. The timing of this injury was especially inconvenient. I was a first string guard on our school basketball team and was selected to compete in the League’s All-Star game. Making the team was an accomplishment I was proud of and I was excited to be a part of the season wrap-up. Unfortunately, this injury prevented me from participating and was a huge disappointment.
My pediatrician referred me to an orthopedic surgeon and a neurologist. I underwent their exams including x-rays in the standard lying position. They found nothing and could offer no diagnosis. Their prescription was to take aspirin around the clock for 30 days and see if it would relieve the pain and give my body time to heal from the injury. A month later with no improvement in my condition, I returned to the orthopedic surgeon. He re-examined me and concluded he would need to take another x-ray of my spine after injecting radioactive material into my body. He found nothing, still had no diagnosis and his only solution was for me to rest and avoid strenuous physical activity for the summer.
As my freshman year began, I saw wrestling season fast approaching and I was still in pain with severe movement limitation. The orthopedic surgeon offered no diagnosis, direction or hope for improvement. His response to my continuing pain and movement restrictions was that sometimes it takes a few years! At 13 years of age and just starting high school, resting and avoiding physical activity was not an option for me.
My father had seen a Chiropractor in the past and we decided to try that avenue. The Chiropractor took a full history, performed a physical, orthopedic and neurological exam and took weight-bearing x-rays of my back and neck. Within the first ten minutes of the physical exam, he performed and orthopedic test, which I now know as Adam’s Test, held my hips and lower back firmly and had me bend forward. To my amazement, I could touch the floor with no pain. He had isolated the problem! He told us he wanted to review the results of the x-rays, analyze information from the history and exam, and scheduled an appointment with us to go over his conclusions and recommended treatment.
The next day at our appointment, he sat down with my mother and me and reviewed the results. He gave us a diagnosis based on the orthopedic tests he performed during the physical exam and my history. He discussed the treatment plan, the duration, and expected a complete recovery. He also showed us the structural dysfunctions on the x-ray that were causing my pain. Concerned with my physical activity restrictions, I asked what he thought about me being active again. He told me that I could be completely active as soon as treatment started. Within 2 weeks, which was the beginning of wresting practice, I was on the mat going through the drills and finally realizing that I would be a fully competitive member of the team. I went on to wrestle for all four years of high school, even competing at the state level.