Chiropractor Case Studies

Read about the chiropractic treatments on Fort Healthcare patients.

Steve

Steve is a 55 year old go kart mechanic and boat instructor as well as an avid DIY around the home. Steve presented to Fort Healthcare with neck shoulder and lower back pain stemming from a workers compensation claims since 2007. He had already had 3 surgeries to repair his torn rotator cuff in his right shouder and was diagnosed later with disc herniations in the cervical and lumbar spine as his shoulder injury progressed.

“I was in constant pain and I was struggling to cope with my work. They told me when I did the shoulder the chances of a full recovery were high. It was still painful after three and I didn’t want anymore. I had seen other physios before and they always showed me the same thing. Shoulder exercises and TENS machine. I had been doing them continuously for years but never got any results with them”.

Peter found extensive scar tissue formation of the connective tissue around his sites of surgery and also within his rotator cuffs. His neck, back, shoulder and hip joints were not moving well at all. The scar tissue was extremely sensitive to touch and was limiting his normal range of motion. These restrictions force other areas to compensate and they can develop problems as well. Because Steve had been doing his rotator cuff exercises, they tested strong individually. However, other muscles in his core and back were weak and Steve had difficulty resisting force when Peter tested his shoulder in more functional positions. The muscle weakness forced his body to recruit other joints and muscles to continue to function. Unfortunately these muscles and joints were not inefficient in protecting Steve’s spine so he developed disc herniations as well as significant joint and muscle stiffness accompanied by pain.

Peter started to help Steve break down the scar tissue and adjust the joints in his spine. He treated not only the shoulder area, but also through the neck, back, core and hips. Peter combined his therapy with exercises for his core, neck and balance to help Steve stay out of pain. Steve is now able to continue working with some changes in habits and is currently building his own house.
“Pete did something different from the first visit. He saw that the ways of treating my pain wasn’t working and didn’t persist with it. He didn’t just look at areas where I had pain, but looked at body as a whole. He found the areas that caused exactly the pain that I was feeling and explained to me how we would get rid of it and did it.”

Alex

Alex is a 14 year old swimmer who is training 4 times a week. Alex mistimed his entry into the water whilst practicing diving off a high board. He landed awkwardly over the back of his head and over his right shoulder. Alex has experienced some discomfort breathing since the incident that was progressively worsening and affecting his ability to train. Recently in the last month, Alex has been forced to stop training early as he was unable to breathe properly underwater. He was cleared medically and did not normally suffer from Asthma.

When we examined Alex, his right rib cage was not moving normally and his right neck and trapezius muscle were very tense. During normal respiration, the rib cage should expand and contract as the diaphragm moves up and down to draw oxygen into our lungs. The body can use accessory breathing muscles in the neck and shoulder to aid the diaphragm when the body’s demand for oxygen is increased (ie during exercise). However when the rib cage is not moving properly, the diaphragm is unable to contract properly and the body is forced to use the accessory breathing muscles constantly. These muscles are only supposed to aid breathing and are not as efficient as the diaphragm. Consequently the neck and shoulder muscles were chronically overworked and during times of exertion, Alex was unable to get enough oxygen into his lungs.

We restored mobility in Alex’s rib cage with two sessions of adjustments to the thoracic spine and releases to his diaphragm, neck and shoulder. Alex was able to return to full time training and is now representing his school and squad in swimming competitions.

Wen

Wen is a 65 year old retired cook. He suffers from severe lower back pain with pain and numbness radiating into his right leg and foot. His MRI report showed a L5/S1 disc herniation impinging onto the right nerve root along with moderate degeneration of the facet joints of L4/5 and L5/S1 causing spinal stenosis. He had already seen a specialist but did not want to proceed with surgery yet.

Zane examined Wen and found that he had stiffness throughout his spine, and was very limited in his movement. He was unable to bend forward and reach past his knees and was walking favouring his left. There was some muscle wasting on his right leg and neural tension test were positive. He was very sensitive to touch and was very guarded. He previously had some bad experiences with other therapies (massage, physiotherapy) making his condition worse and being unable to get up off the bed after.

Because Wen was very apprehensive and scared, Zane approached Wen’s condition conservatively. Unless surgery is performed, the arthritis or disc herniation cannot just be removed or manually pushed back. However signs and symptoms can be managed if the inflammation associated with the disc herniation or arthritis is can be reduced and controlled. Inflammation not only increases the degree of impingement or stenosis but also directly causes pain. Zane combined his chiropractic skills with gentle massage techniques he learnt from Chinese teacher to treat Wen. Zane gently released the muscles in Wen’s back and hips and slowly mobilized his joints. The combination of techniques allowed Zane to release the deeper tissues and reduce the inflammation surrounding the lumbar joints without exacerbating the pain. As Wen’s pain improved and he also became much more mobile and was able to return to his regular lifestyle. Zane advised Wen to also get some physio care at Fort Healthcare to strengthen his core and prevent inflammation from returning. Wen is now much better and is now enjoying his retirement in his garden. He is receiving once a month maintenance care.

“I was very scared that my back would get worse. But Zane told me he would be very gentle with me and reassured me with everything he did. His combination of technique let my muscles fully relax and I didn’t feel worse the next day.