This patient was referred to my clinic by one of the personal injury attorneys that I have been working with. When I spoke to a patient on a phone I did not expect that this is going to be a case when I would need to treat a spine with a compression fracture, protruded disc , subluxated rib and sever neck and back pain. This particular patient was very lucky to be alive after I saw the pictures on a phone and whatever was left over from her car after it was crashed by an AC Transit Bus. Ambulance was called and patient was taken to a nearby Hospital for observation and diagnostic studies. X-Ray did not reveal any life threatening fracture to a cervical and lumbar spine.
During examination patient had severe amount of pain and did not know what to expect from a chiropractic care as she has never been to a chiropractor before. Every single orthopedic test was positive during an examination. Any way patient moved would cause pain and discomfort. She was not able to go to sleep without taking heavy dose of pain medications and muscle relaxants. Lack of sleep adds extra stress to an already injured body, which creates a wishes cycle in a recovery process after such a serious car accident. Posture revealed uneven pelvis base, which is an indication of sacroiliac joint misalignment, lumbar spine was painful upon digital palpation. Sever pain at T12 vertebral level (later MRI revealed Compression Fracture at that vertebral Level) with radiating pain along intercostal nerve on a right side which did not allow patient to freely inhale and exhale. Severe neck pain with minimal range of motion and muscle spasm.
The rehabilitation process began right after examination has been concluded. The frequency of visits was set at 3 times a week for 4 weeks. Each visit would include Electric Stimulation from Interferential Machines, Moist Heat at 140F from automated Electric Blanket both for 15 minutes. After this passive therapy this patient would get full spine chiropractic adjustment as well as rib adjustment in order to eliminate intercostal referral pain. Next stop would be a deep tissue massage from my in house Certified Massage Therapist. This frequency was kept for 4 weeks.
After two and a half weeks of care I have ordered MRI study of the lumbar spine due to persistent pain and minimal improvement. This study has revealed that this patient had severe disc protrusion both anterior and posterior and L5 vertebral level. This is most likely the cause of the persistent pain and discomfort in a lumbar spine. We have scheduled this patient with an Orthopedic surgeon for evaluation and possible treatment. MRI has also revealed a compression fracture at T12 vertebral level. The anterior portion of the body has been compressed under tremendous amount of force during the collision of the car and a bus. Rib and neck pain have improved since the beginning of the treatment.
At this point we are approaching a third and a final month of a rehabilitation process. Patient comes in once a week. Her rib pain, mid back and neck pain have improved quite a bit. However, she still feels pain and discomfort in a lumbar spine. Orthopedic surgeon did not offer anything exciting regarding treatment and management of the lumbar spine – it was the usual taking drugs or performing a surgery which can bring only 50% of success. I have discussed with patient specific lumbar exercises and stretching program in order to manage lumbar spine pain level and discomfort. Overall this lucky patient is very happy with an outcome of a rehabilitation process at our San Leandro Chiropractic Clinic.