I have seen more people for lower back problems than I have for any other issues of the body.
The lower back can be really tricky if you can not read the signs. What muscle is the cause? When and where did it start? Is it physical, mental or emotional? All of these factors should be addressed in order to correct the back and keep it corrected.
The first step in any physical therapy is to assess the body. For example, check to see if the ears, shoulders, hips, knees and ankles are all even. After measuring these areas, check the head… is it forward or behind the shoulders? Is it tilted while the client is in a standing position? Are the shoulders forward or are they even with the ears and hips? Are the hips forward, twisted or rotated in any way? Observe the knees… are they forward, back or locked while in a standing position? Next, examine the feet… are they toed out, toed in, flat-footed or inverted? Check the soles of the shoes. Are they worn unevenly? These checks will provide clues to fill you in on what is going on with the body.
Dr. Haller asked me many questions during my training, but this one really stuck with me… She asked, “Brian, when the foundation of a house moves unevenly, what happens to the rest of the house?” Well, having grown up in Michigan, I knew the answer to that question right away. I replied that the walls and ceilings will start to crack. “Yes”, she said, “and your feet are the foundation to your body.” This makes sense, doesn’t it? When the posture of the feet is out of alignment, the effects can creep up the rest of the body and cause problems elsewhere. If you do not address the cause, the problem will keep recurring. Fix the cause, fix the problem. However, we are not done yet. How did the feet get this way? Better start asking more questions.
My success rate in helping to relive back pain and correcting the causative factors is in the neighborhood of 97%. Around 1.5% have been mysteries and the other 1.5% were so damaged from back surgeries that I could not help. However, I have worked on a lot of clients who had previous back surgeries with great success.
There were two clients who had so much calcium in the back that I could not break it down. I have succeeded in breaking up calcium deposits many times before, but in these cases there was just too much calcium and a lot of pain.
I feel I need to share a story with all the health professionals who may be reading this article.
The first client I was not able to help came along 1 1/2 years after I started working in my own practice. I worked on a gentleman in Richmond, VA, who had a calcified back. We did two 1 1/2 hour sessions, two days in a row, and he said he felt no different than before we started. The next day I drove back to VB where I was living at the time and went in for my training with Dr. Haller. She took one look at me and asked what was wrong. I told her the story about how I was unable to help this man who was in pain 24 hours a day, even while on pain medication.
I said to her that I felt I had let this person down and I said that I felt like quitting. She looked at me and said, “Sit down Brian, we need to talk.” She said, “Brian, there will be clients who come to you and you will not be able to help them. These clients may have a lesson to learn from their experience. If you can not help them resolve the lesson because they have not learned it yet, would you want to take them off this path so they do not learn what is there for them to learn?” I answered, “No, I would want them to learn it so they would not have to experience this again or something worse.”
At that point I realized that it is not just my will but also my client’s unconscious will and God’s. It takes all of us together to heal the body and mind, whichever is at the root of the issue.
I was less than 5 months out of school when a friend of mine, Dr. Don (a chiropractor) called me up and said he had a client whom he had been trying to help avoid back surgery and he was not sure he could help her further. He felt that I might be able to help her. Now keep in mind that at this point in my career, I had never worked on someone who needed back surgery.
The following day I visited Dr. Don’s office and he asked his client to lie down on the edge of the table with her legs hanging over. I noticed immediately that her legs were not hanging at all. They actually were even with the rest of the body. The Psoas muscles (along with others) were so tight that her legs could not even hang below her pelvis.
The next day she came in again and we started working on her. I had asked for God to guide me though this therapy. I started by stretching her hamstrings to test her Range Of Motion. It was very poor… I could raise her leg only about a foot and a half off the table before she felt a burn. Then I “was told” to ask her to push her leg down toward the table at 80% of her strength. She did this, and on the second stretch we increased the R.O.M. by about 1/2 foot. I could not believe my eyes. So we repeated the same stretch twice and increased her R.O.M. by about a foot and a half. We did a series of stretching with resistance and increased the R.O.M. of every muscle we stretched by 70-200 percent.
We worked on her for 1 1/2 hours the first day and I did stretches I have never seen done before and was guided to where and how to work on her.
At the end of the 10th session she got dressed and called me in. She started to move her legs and hips as if she was dancing and said, “Thank you so much. I have not been able to move like this for over 2 years without pain. I feel like I can start playing tennis, basketball and swim again. I said try it out but take it slow. I encouraged her to continue stretching every day.
I worked on her for 1 1/2 – 2 hours per session, every other day except on the weekend, for a total of 10 sessions. The results were outstanding and she was able to avoid surgery.
About a year and a half later I ran into her at the post office and she gave me a big hug and I asked her how she was doing. She said she was doing her stretches every day and she felt great. She was back to playing all her sports and enjoying life. Another two years went by and I saw her in the same post office and I received the same reply.
Thank you God for guiding me.