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The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

After 2 years of suffering with back pain and sciatica, a 27 year old male finds a solution. Case Study #112

Posted by Dr. Jeff Winternheimer D.C. on Thu, Nov 13, 2014 @ 01:39 PM

With each case study my goal is to offer a better understanding of back pain.  There are lessons in each case that will help you.  This week’s case has some great lessons because the patient had a severe problem that responded well with our program.

 A 27 year old male presented to our clinic with severe back pain and leg pain (Sciatica).  When we saw him he had been suffering for 2 years.  Upon entering our clinic an MRI was ordered.  The MRI revealed he had Degenerative Disc Disease, Bulging Disc, and Sciatica.

 bulging disc

When he started treatment in our clinic he had severe pain.  We score pain on a scale of 1 to 10.  One is low and 10 is severe.  His pain was a 7 on an average day, his pain on a bad day was a 9.  He had several bad days per week.

We use a scoring process to identify how much the pain is affecting your ability to perform everyday activities.  Its called the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI).   The score is between 1-100 the higher the number the more of an effect the pain has on your life.

The ODI score is a healthcare wide scoring  number used to identify your level of disability. It is also used to determine how effective  treatments are.  Insurance companies use it to determine if you need surgery.  For more information about this click below

saving you from surgery

ODI Scoring is as follows.

0-20 Minimal disability: This group can cope with most living activities. Usually no treatment is indicated, apart from advice on lifting, sitting posture, physical fitness, and diet.

20-40 Moderate disability: This group experiences more pain and problems with sitting, lifting, and standing.  Travel and social life are more difficult and they may well be off work.  The back condition can usually be managed by conservative means.

40-60 severe disability: Pain remains the main problem in this group of patients. These patients require detailed investigation.

60-80 Crippled: Back pain impinges on all aspects of these patients’ lives. Positive intervention is required. (Positive intervention typically means surgery)

80-100 these patients are either bed-bound or exaggerating their symptoms.


His ODI score was a 60 when he entered our office.  A score of 40 and above is considered a surgical candidate, so he was in bad shape.   On the ODI scale  a 60 would be considered crippled.  (The official term not mine)

ODI 60

 What makes this case important is the severity of his problem when he came to us, and what the patient had been through before he entered our clinic.  He had seen 5 different doctors.  He had seen his primary doctor who had prescribed him some anti-inflammatory and sent him to physical therapy.  He was no better after  his physical therapy.

 physical therapist

After a course of care with physical therapy he was sent by his doctor to see a pain specialist.  The pain specialist prescribed narcotics for his pain.  I talked in an earlier article about the over prescription of narcotics, almost 20,000 die each year from accidental overdose with pain medication.  For more information about this click below.

 5 5


He was taking the narcotics when he entered our office, and his pain was still at a 9 on some days. Needless to say they did not help.  After seeing the doctor for the narcotics he was sent to a specialist for injections into his spine.  Over the 2 year period he had 5 injections.  Again he was no better off.

 epidural 2

He was then sent to a surgeon who recommended surgery for his condition.  The patient considered his options and felt he didn’t have much choice.  He went home to think about it and a friend recommended our program.  For more information click below.

risk of surgery

When he entered our office he was at his wits end and he was in pretty bad shape.  His pain was creeping upto a 9 his ODI was a 60.  He had pain from his low back all the way down into his foot.  He had diminished reflexes and weakness in his leg.  He was walking stooped over and his was very stiff and tight.

We started him in our program.  Our program is a form of unweighting with exercises that has been found to heal back pain at its source, the disc.

 degenerated disc disease

When we started therapy his pain was a 7-8 and his ODI was a 60.  After 12 treatments his pain was a 4 and his ODI was a 48.  The goal is to get the patient out of the danger zone.  Anything above a 40 is considered a surgical candidate.  He was getting better slowly.  After 24 treatments his pain was down to a 2 and his ODI was a 38.  The score of a 38 means he is out to the danger zone, but the pain was still limiting his ability to truly live. 

After 36 treatments at the end of his care his pain was a 1 and his ODI was an 18. Our primary goal is to eliminate the need for suregery get the patient out of the danger zone. Our long term goal is to get the ODI down below 20.  Anything below 20 means you can live your life normal, without any limitations.  Below 20 is the safe zone.

Sciatica Resource Center

We saved him from surgery and gave him his life back. He was feeling much better and no longer was in need of narcotics.

Recap of his pain and progress

    1. Degenerated and bulging discs causing sciatica
    2. Saw 5 doctors for his problem, none helped
    3. Tried physical therapy no improvement
    4. Was taking narcotics not helping.
    5. Had 5 epidural shots, no better.
    6. Consulted a surgeon, surgeon recommended surgery.
    7. Starting pain at a 7-8
    8. ODI  60
    9. 36 treatment pain at a 1
    10. 36 treatments ODI 18
    11. End of care patient feeling better and no longer in need or taking narcotics. 


mri no name

So the question is why does or therapy work when all others have failed?

Our treatment goes to the source of the back pain and leg pain.  We treat the disc and get healing in the spine.  Watch this video to find out more.


If you have back pain or sciatica we can help give us a call and get your life back. 

CALL NOW 888-926-2512

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