I have been treating a patient who was diagnosed with a herniated disc by some of the most prominent physicians and institutions in the US. For eight years, he has suffered from lower back pain and pain down the right leg. The pain would exascerbate to such an extent that he could be taken off his feet if the spasm would hit. This extreme pain would hit and the patient was basically immobilized for anywhere from one to three weeks. Over time, the patient became so concerned about the pain returning and causing him to be incapable of functioning, he stopped performing any activity that might trigger his symptoms. That meant no sports what so ever. This was very sad because this guy perceived himself as somewhat of an athlete and to some degree felt his ability to play most sports at a fairly high level represented how he perceived himself.
But things were worse then that. He would not play with his children because he feared they would jump on him or he would have to get to the floor and get up. He would move gingerly never making quick moves. He was concerned about lifting anything that might be mildly heavy. Basically, for eight years he did nothing more than exist. And even with this approach, he still had bouts of pain that would lead him to being immobilized for weeks.
Finally, we met and I described my ability to identify the true cause of pain. I explained that the cause of his pain was determined strictly through an MRI finding. The American College of Physicians has now recommended that these types of tests not be used to establish the cause of back pain. They concluded that these tests find unrelated abnormalities that end up being treating but do nothing to resolve pain. I explained that the herniated disc found was one of these unrelated abnormalities. That 70% of people with no pain have herniated discs. He was an unfortunate casualty of a system which has now been recognized to be flawed.
I evaluated him and found the lower back pain was the result of his hip flexors being in spasm and pulling on their attachment to the lumbar spine and the sciatic symptoms the result of the piriformis muscle impingining on the sciatic nerve on the right side.
With appropriate treatment including some heat and massage to break up some knots in the muscles which were preventing them from performing their functional tasks properly and targeted strength training to strengthen the muscles necessary to achieve strength, flexibility and balance of the muscles of the plevis and lower extremities, the patient’s symptoms resolved. The patient has been coming for alittle more than 4 weeks. Can you imagine eight years of life being lived so terribly and now in just 4 weeks this guy is jogging again. He can play with this kids and has no fear of moving and bringing on those horrible symptoms. The goal is within another month to have this guy playing basketball again.
All I can say is what a waste. Eight years of life lost because this guy got a diagnose from an invalid test and nobody had the guts or knowledge to know that his symptoms could never come from that finding. How many more of you out there are in the same situation?