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For more information about chiropractic treatment, contact:


M. Todd Staker, DC
Ben Schemmel, DC
Trevor Williams, DC

3550 NW Cary Parkway, #104
Cary, NC 27513
Telephone: (919) 460-1515

Relieving the Trauma of Pain

A story that sounds extraordinary is in fact re-enacted quite often in the Staker Chiropractic Center in Cary.

“A woman in her mid-thirties recently came to us,” notes Dr. Todd Staker. “She told me she had been in pain for five years with low-back pain that radiated down her leg. Three years earlier, she had back surgery that somewhat lessened but failed to relieve her pain.

“After three chiropractic treatments over the course of one week, this patient was walking normally and upright, spent three hours shopping—which she hadn’t been able to do for years—and reported she is having zero pain.

“She told me she was skeptical about chiropractic, but felt she had exhausted most other options. Was this magic? Hardly. It didn’t take long to diagnose the fact that this patient had a mechanical problem that responded extremely well to chiropractic adjustments. Surgery on one of her spinal discs had failed to relieve the compression of the vertebrae. Mechanically, the problem was still there. When we adjusted her back to realign the vertebrae, to get pressure off the disc, she felt tremendously better.”

the marvels of digital X-ray

In these two photos, above, Dr. Williams positions a patient for a digital X-ray, with no film, of course, and greater clarity and no processing involved. If needed, the digital image can immediately be electronically transferred to experts, such as surgeons or radiologists, as a critical part of the assessment/treatment process.

Below, Dr. Schemmel studies images as he develops treatment protocols for this 64-year-old female patient, pointing out areas “where there is traumatic injury and degenerative changes. There is evidence of wear-and-tear in the hip, the spine veers off to the left in one area, and there is evidence of a lot of wear and tear and an abundance of arthritis.

“We were able to rapidly share these images with an orthopedist electronically,” he says, “as we worked to develop the most effective treatment plan for this patient.”

Adds Dr. Williams, “We tend to think of trauma in two ways: acute trauma, as the result of an accident, for example, and cumulative trauma, which occurs because there is aberrant motion, whether it’s in the spine or the joints or in the muscles—there’s some kind of asymmetry or imbalance going on that leads, over time, to stress on different structures. And that stress ultimately leads to repetitive injury.

“Our new digital X-ray is of enormous help in determining what exactly is going on in the structure of the spine. It allows us to identify signs of cumulative trauma, which we talk about as degeneration or the subluxation degeneration complex.”

A Pain Epidemic

Notes Dr. Ben Schemmel, “Back pain is a near-epidemic in this country, with as many as eight of every ten people below the age of 50 experi-encing at least one memorable episode. Work-related back injury is the nation’s number one occupational hazard.

“Relieving pain is a central concern for us with every patient,” Dr. Schemmel says, “whether they are suffering with an acute problem, chronic pain, or with a repeti-tive stress problem such as carpal tunnel syndrome.”

Adds Dr. Trevor Williams, “In the past several weeks I’ve had at least 20 patients who have come to us with acute, severe back pain—most frequently from over-exertion while engaged in weekend sports or while doing yard work.”

Often, he explains, they are in what is called an “antalgic posture”—a com-pensatory lean that is a reflexive response to a mis-aligned vertebra in their spine. They may be walking leaning to the left, because it hurts if they stand more upright or lean to the right.

“When I see a patient in acute pain such as this,” says Dr. Williams, “I go through a thorough examination to determine the culprit. Are we dealing with a muscle issue? Are we dealing with a bone issue, where the vertebrae in the lower back have rotated, creating nerve irritation and thus causing pain? Or are we dealing with a disc issue?

“Once we determine the cause, we utilize chiropractic care in a safe and effective way to manage pain by addressing it at the source, without masking the pain with medication. Our goal is to fix the problem so that it goes away, and to prevent it from returning.”

Adds Dr. Schemmel, “Most often, I find that patients in acute back pain are suffering from three conditions: misaligned vertebra, nerve compression, or problems with a disc in the spine. Initially, they may wrench their back—picking up a bag of mulch, for example—and the vertebrae in their back shifts off track and becomes misaligned—the classic definition of a vertebral subluxation. When that occurs, a complex of issues ensues. With a bone off track, the muscles come in to protect it. They clamp down, and go into spasms as a first line of defense.

“If we proceed to simply treat the muscle condition, we can bring relief but the bone is still twisted off track and until that is corrected by adjustment, the muscles will soon go back into spasm. A vertebra off track, with a muscle in spasm, creates the pressure that often leads to a compressed disc—and the disc may then bulge. When that occurs, the nerve that sits right next to the disc may be compressed and pain goes shooting through the lower back and often into the buttocks and down into the leg—an outcome called sciatica.

 “Chiropractic adjustment,” explains Dr. Schemmel, “is the best procedure known to correct a vertebral subluxation, to return the vertebra to its normal position and relieve tension and pressure on related nerves, muscles, and vertebral discs.”

And, adds Dr. Staker, “Treatment for patients with chronic pain is similar but modified to meet their specific needs. And for our third group of patients, those with repetitive stress injuries, with overuse syndromes, we are achieving wonderful results with the Active Release Techniques™--a unique soft-tissue management system which is a highly effective form of deep myofascial release.”