Back and Neck Injury/Back pain
My 88 year old father, who lives 250 miles away from me, is suffering from severe back pain. He lives in a community with few specialists and none in the area of back injury. His doctor, a well-respected cardiologist, is the only doctor he is able to see in his area, even though dad does not have heart problems. His doctor recently sent him for tests and a complete five view X-rays of the lumbar spine area was completed.
The conclusions were:
1. Moderate to severe hypertrophic changes and disc space narrowing from L2-S1 and,
2. 12 mm anterolisthesis of L5 over S1.
He will travel to my city, which has excellent doctors, for treatment but he doesn't want to live here. He's pretty much tied the doctor's hands since my father refuses surgery or addictive pain killers. He is caring for my 90-year-old mother who has dementia, I am trying to do all I can to allow them to live on their own in the home they've had together for 66 years. My questions are:
1. In making an appointment with a doctor for him in my area, what specialty do I look for?
2. How should I go about informing the doctor of Dad's problems? I assume the doctor will ask for previous records from his doctor at home, but is there other information I should collect?
3. A doctor in the recent past told him a cortisone shot will do no good, even though it has helped in the past. What might be a reason for that response?
4. I suspect the prognosis for this is that eventually Dad will be confined to a wheelchair until the end of his days. Are there other alternatives?
5. My research and knowledge, which is very little in these matters, leads me to believe the diagnosis he was given leaves him without an expectation of less pain unless he does have an operation or addictive drugs, but do you know of any other techniques that may help? He has had some physical therapy but with disappointing results. I was considering a new chair (Relax-the-Back chairs?), acupuncture, massage, (this was another thing he was told to avoid but I don't know why), or heat therapy. Have your patients had success with any of these treatments?
In closing, I want to thank you for the time you spend answering questions from people you don't even know. There are many areas in our nation that do not have the facilities or medical staff to handle these more severe problems and I real appreciate your willingness to reach out to others even though you have a full, demanding practice of your own to operate.
Sorry to hear about your Dad. The good news is that I think I may be able help you in getting him some pain relief. I want to be clear that I don't think what I'm going to recommend is going to reverse his anterolisthesis, but I think it may help with the pain.
I explain all of what I'm about to tell you on my completely free website http://www.do-it-yourself-joint-pain-relief.com/
but let me give a brief overview here.
If you think of all the muscles in your body like the rigging (ropes) on a big old-fashioned sailboat you can see that if some of the rigging (muscles) got too tight, they could pull inappropriately on the bones they connect to and the muscles they oppose. This could then lead to the nerves being negatively affected because the bones have been pulled out of position or the nerves are being yanked on.
So, while freeing inappropriately tight tissue most likely won't put your Dad's vertebrae back in place (but it may naturally shift it a bit for the better), it may help the nerves in the area from being so distressed.
I don't know if your Dad can do any of the techniques I demonstrate on the Lower Back Pain Relief page:
But it would be worth giving the videos a look. If he can do any of them safely, they may help. But of course, go gently and slowly since he's 88.
If he were in my office I'd also be very interesting in gently freeing his psaos muscle, which is on the front/sides of his spine. Here's what the psoas muscle looks like:
I show you how to release this on the Release the Front of Your Back page of my website:
Every page on my website is listed on the Site Map page if want to look around for more helpful videos, especially in the Lower Back Section:
Okay, so all that said, if I was in your situation I would also go to these two websites and find a Structural Integration practitioner in your Dad's and your area.
I would call every practitioner in your area, explain your Dad's situation, and go to someone you feel you can trust. Ideally, find someone who has been doing the work for at least 5 years, and who sounds comfortable working with an 88 year old man. A good practitioner may be able to get your Dad some substantial pain relief and with some occasional maintenance keep your Dad out of pain.
I do hope this helps.
All the best,