A woman in her mid-30s presented with excruciating pain in her lower back and numb-achy pain down her entire leg and into her foot. She could not stand straight and was unable to get on and off the bed without help. How did this begin? She had been getting regular chiropractic adjustments for about a year for general low back and hip pain. After one adjustment in early 2016, she felt a new sensation of radiating “zingy” pain down her leg. Within 1 week, she noticed her foot was numb and her whole leg ached severely. After a couple weeks of trying to rest her body, her pain levels were up to 9 out of 10 (9/10) and could no longer work, so she went to the hospital. She received an MRI which revealed L4-L5 disk degeneration causing disk protrusion and extrusion of the disk which was compressing the L5 nerve root on the left.
Disk extrusion is a degenerative disorder where the disk is ruptured causing the nucleus to seep into the spinal column. The seeping disk material is now likely to compress the spinal nerve root, causing significant pain and other symptoms of nerve damage. This patient consulted with a spinal surgical specialist and a pain management doctor. After weighing the risks and benefits of the procedures offered to her, she decided she wanted to address the root cause and not mask the pain or do anything invasive. She was treated with acupuncture three times a week for the first week, then twice a week for 3 weeks, then weekly for 6 weeks. She was also started on Chinese herbal medicine to reduce inflammation and stimulate tissues regeneration in the lumbar spine. Food therapy was used and some supplementation was begun to load the body up with as many components needed to properly recover.
Three months after the debilitating pain began, she is walking straight again and has no pain except for some days she will have 1 or 2/10 pain levels. She lost 30 pounds in a 3-4 month period by eating an anti-inflammatory diet. She was overweight when the injury occurred and she realized that any excess weight was only going to hinder her recovery. She has incorporated yoga stretches which help keep those pain-free days the most common.
Every success story on this website is from a patient of Dr. Erin West. All patient testimonials were unsolicited. No one was paid for a testimonial or endorsement. Before and after photos were not retouched or altered. Results were self-reported by the customer and therefore cannot be confirmed. Results may not be typical.