”I had accepted my back pain, even though at times it was severe,” admits Louise. “After all, I had endured it on and off for over fifteen years.”
Louise says the first thing she thought of when she woke up in the morning was the amount of pain she felt.
“I would occasionally get some relief with chiropractic care, but as I look back over the years of various chiropractors and massage therapy, I realize my pain was chronic,” she confides. “I thought it would get better, but it didn’t. In fact, it became worse. By 2007, I was in terrible shape. I not only couldn’t bike, golf, or workout anymore, I had back pain from just getting dressed in the morning or driving a car.”
Then, in April of 2007, Louise scheduled an appointment with Jeffrey P. Johnson, DC, of Johnson Medical Center in Venice.
“After all the various chiropractors I had seen throughout the years, I quickly recognized that
Dr. Johnson was very good. I liked the care I was getting and the improvements I was seeing, so when he suggested I have an MRI to see if I was a candidate for MUS, I agreed.”
“Louise had adhesions and scar tissue in her lower back that didn’t allow her spine to move and function properly,” explains Dr. Johnson. “In Louise’s case, typical daily activities were enough for her to re-injure her spine, even though most of these re-injuries were minor and would result in localized pain and inflammation. With the inflammation, part of the body’s natural healing process is to lay down a mesh of fibrotic tissue, commonly knows as scar tissue [see sidebar]. Although this tissue is beneficial, some patients naturally form an excessive amount of it while others suffer repeated injuries or recurring chronic conditions that can cause layer upon layer to form in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments around the joints, restricting the joint’s ability to move.
“Over time, the joints can become more and more restricted and limited in their normal range of motion. In Louise’s case, she had lost complete range of motion in the last three segments of her lower back. Her MRI confirmed that she was a candidate for MUS.”
With MUS, doctors can take the affected joints through their normal full range of motion while the patient is under light sedation, freeing the adhesions that have occurred between the joints that are causing the patient’s pain.
“With the patient sedated, we are able to use light stretching techniques,” educates Dr. Johnson. “Because we don’t have to fight against tense, guarded muscles, we are able to free up the scar tissue and mobilize the joints without causing the patient any discomfort. This would be impossible to do without the use of sedation.”
The MUS procedure is repeated once daily on consecutive days, usually within a time frame of between two and three days.
“During the procedures there are generally multiple doctors present, including the anesthesiologist, and several nurses,” notes Dr. Johnson. “It is definitely a team approach.”
“Following the first treatment, the pain was gone,” says Louise. “There was some soreness, which dissipated as time went on, but there was simply no more pain.”
Typically there are six to eight weeks of follow-up rehabilitation following the treatments to reinforce the movement obtained from the procedure. During this time, patients are instructed on how to perform stretching exercises to prevent the condition from returning.
“At that point we try to release our patients,” explains Dr. Johnson, “placing them on a strengthening program to rehabilitate the muscles around the regions that were addressed during the procedure, thus preventing their condition from returning.”
Six weeks after her MUS treatment, Louise went on a biking trip to Italy where she biked 125 miles and walked another fifty miles.
“I feel so great,” marvels Louise. “Along with biking, I’m doing Yoga and playing golf again. I’ve increased my flexibility tremendously, and I don’t have any soreness from my swing.
“It is really fantastic. It’s changed my life.”
“Fortunately, we’ve been able to help many patients who were told they would have to learn to live with their pain, when actually they were helped with MUS,” reflects the doctor.
Many insurance companies cover MUS, and Dr. Johnson treats people throughout the United States, usually working with them for a week after which they return to their local doctors for post care. FHCN–Kris Kline