In recognition of World Mental Health Day, today we're sharing the testimonial of Dr. James Gioia Psy.D., a clinical psychologist that we treated in our clinic for severe back pain and sciatica. Dr. Gioia specializes in treating kids, adolescents, and families. If you are looking for a psychologist, we highly recommended him.
Dr. Gioia first came to us with severe back and leg pain (Sciatica) that was not improving. About 2 years previous he had begun to experience some pain in his lower back. His first reaction to the pain was that it was just a minor injury to his back, something that is a normal part of life. He figured it would go away on its own, so he didn't go to see a doctor or do anything else to treat it. However, after a while the pain kept getting worse and he noticed that it was beginning to effect his daily life.
He was having difficulty walking and just moving around, and was finding it hard to do simple tasks like lifting things.
Eventually, Dr. Gioia's kids had a discussion with him, or as he called it an "intervention." They were worried about his back problems and the fact that he was struggling to get around. They wanted him to get help, not just for his own good but also so he could be around for his grandkids and be involved in their lives. That convinced Dr. Gioia to seek the help that he needed.
Dr. Gioia knew about the Illinois Back Institute because his psychology practice is located in the same building as our Wheaton clinic. He was a little bit skeptical about our treatment, because he wasn't sure how effective it would be for his problem or if he could even physically do it, but ultimately he decided to schedule a Free Consultation with us to see if we could help him. His goal in coming to us was to hopefully relieve some of his back pain and sciatica, and also to help improve his mobility so that he could move around better.
When Dr. Gioia first came to us, he said his pain was between a 8 and 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst pain imaginable. We also measured his pain level on the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), which is a scoring system that doctors use to measure a patient's level of disability. Dr. Gioia scored over 40, which is considered a Severe Disability; indicating that the pain is heavily affecting the patient's life and needs to be treated. We then looked at his MRI to determine just what was causing his back pain and sciatica, and it was determined that he had several different problems in his back, including:
- A herniated disc that was pressing against the sciatic nerve, causing the pain in his legs
- Several bulging discs
- Multilevel disc degeneration associated with the bulging discs
- Spinal stenosis at several locations
- A mild grade 1 spondylolisthesis (forward displacement of a vertebra)
Now that we knew what was causing Dr. Gioia's back pain and sciatica, we could come up with a plan to treat those causes. He began coming to our clinic 3 times a week for treatment, and in a short amount of time his ODI had dropped to 28, and a month later it was 16. When he finished with his treatments, Dr. Gioia had significantly improved! The pain in his back and sciatica had subsided and his ODI was less than 10, which is considered normal. He was moving around better, his walking and gait had improved, and he had even lost 10-15 pounds! He said that because of how much he has improved, he is motivated to continue exercising.
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