Back Pain Resolves – One woman’s story:
Bowen Therapy – A Road Out of Pain
--by Kent McKeithan
“It was the most horrible pain I could have imagined. They had to [literally] carry me to the hospital because I couldn’t walk.”
Four years ago, Doris Clark, vigorous, long-time educator, mother of two (now-grown), and an active grandmother, was going about her life in her usual enthusiastic way. There’d been a lot of stress in her life lately – her mom dying after a long bout with cancer, some severe health challenges to her husband, but she was more than coping when, apparently out of the blue, the pain struck.
“It began as a little twinge, then it would shoot across my back from one side to the other. It grew worse during the day, and began to travel down my leg, until finally I was just bent over.” That’s when she was taken to the hospital in Winston-Salem where she was diagnosed as having a pinched nerve at the fourth lumbar vertebra.
“I spent seven days in the hospital. I had a full range of x-rays, an MRI and a CAT scan. They administered shock treatment to my legs, then I went for a full series of physical therapy sessions. Nothing was working. I went to the Pain Center at Medical Park hospital. Still there was no relief from the pain.”
She says the entire sequence was repeated --- MRI, CAT scan, another round of physical therapy sessions – and a bone scan was added. (Physical therapy, by the way, is not an easy thing to undergo. It requires courage and determination on the patient’s part, as well as skill by the practitioner, and it’s doubly hard when the desired results aren’t forthcoming).
“In the end [her physician] told me, “There’s nothing more we can do. Your condition is inoperable. You’re just going to have to learn to live with your pain.” There was the clear implication that there were only three alternatives – bed rest with medication, physical therapy or surgery, a fourth being live with the pain.
There was a time of shock and resignation, but as the pain continued in unrelenting intensity over time, Clark’s life began to shut down.
“ With my husband’s stroke, he could no longer work with me, so we’d had to let our vegetable garden go. Then, as my pain got worse, I quit working with our flowers and shrubbery. I couldn’t even go to the mall and shop. I was really just existing.”
Time passed, and one day she remembered an article she’d read in the Winston-Salem Journal about some kind of new therapy. In fact, she’d clipped it out and saved it. “I finally found it, and called Kent McKeithan at Transformative Bodywork [now McKeithan Pain Treatment Center] to ask him about Bowen Therapy.” She decided to take a chance on this therapy – she didn’t have a lot to lose in trying it.
Her first session yielded some immediate relief (the first, she reports, in four years), but the pain returned. Warned that this indeed might occur, she returned for the second session, concerned but hopeful. Progress from the second session was deeper and more permanent:
“I had a wonderful week! I went out and pulled weeds and trimmed the monkey grass. I haven’t been able to do that in four years. I love spring,” and she’d sorely missed participating in that annual rebirth process.
Two weeks elapsed before her third session because she contracted a viral infection. Reporting that she continued her exercises except during the most intense infection time, she also continued to walk, as instructed. When she did return, she reported, “ When the pain gets bad, it only goes to a 6 or 7 [on a scale of 1 – 10]., instead of a 7 – 14! I can go to the mall and shop for an hour- and-a-half. I’d like there to be no pain, but I’m very pleased with my progress.”
Clark has experienced two further sessions, and is actively participating in her own full recovery. “I am thrilled with the way this is going!”
Within three more sessions, Clark reached full resolution, once again able to live her normal pain-free life.
This article is an excerpt from an article originally published in Natural Triad Magazine, June, 2004.