My name is Sandy, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis MS in 1994. My diagnosis was relatively easy as the typical symptoms; lack of balance, numbness in the feet and legs, and extreme fatigue were present on a daily basis. My MS was confirmed via an MRI and spinal tap and my diagnosis was for relapsing and remitting.
As MS patients know decisions have to be made by each individual on how they are going to treat the disease. In my case I chose a very aggressive treatment plan quitting work to focus on maintaining my health, researching treatments and using the latest available drugs to combat the disease such as Avonex, Rebif, Copaxen and now Tysabri.
Over the course of years my MS progressed and I lost strength in my arms, legs and hips eventually experiencing drop foot. It became increasing difficult to walk distances limiting my ability get around on my own. I became increasing reliant on mobility aids for every day activity such as shopping, gardening, walking up stairs, getting in and out of cars and taking the dog for a walk down the street. The more difficult I found it to be mobile the more my activity level slowed down. Eventually, just walking around the house was a painful effort. I felt I was reaching a new level of disability and did not see a recovery coming my way.
Visits with my Primary Care Physician and Neurologist prescribed medications and physical therapy. While the new medication provided some recovery from feeling of exhaustion, it had no effect on my physical strength, neck, back and hip pain. The prescribed physical therapy only worsened conditions as the exercises exacerbated the pain in my legs and back. I was in tears and worried that I had entered another stage of MS that would leave me totally disabled.
A good friend of mine, who must have been my personal angel, told me about her chiropractor, Dr Eric DeRusha, who was having success working with MS patients. Although I had positive experience with a chiropractor 25 years earlier, I was skeptical as I had never heard of chiropractic treatment for MS. I have always been aggressive seeking new treatments so I decided to give it a try. MS patients know there is no cure, but there are options that can improve our symptoms.
My first visit to Dr Eric’s practice was the low point of my life with MS. My husband wheeled me into the office where I was to have x-rays and a preliminary examination. I was in so much pain that I was unable to stand for the x-rays during the preliminary examination without the help of Dr Eric’s wonderfully helpful staff.
Normally Dr Eric’s process is to x-ray the patient, conduct an initial assessment, and then do detailed treatment plans which are communicated to the patient within a day or two. Dr Eric understood the pain I was in and adjusted his schedule so that he did an initial assessment and my first adjustment later that afternoon. I was in such pain before the adjustment that I was in tears and unable to climb onto the examining table without assistance. Dr. Eric adjusted me that day and then 3 more times that week. By the end of the next week I was walking into his office using my walker. Within a month I was back to using a cane to get around and now after three months I am walking more often without my cane than with it. My problem now is remembering where I left my cane.
My recovery was not without effort on my part and required me to follow simple programs designed by Dr Eric. First let me state that Dr Eric is very enthusiastic and keeps up to date in the latest medical advances. Dr Eric is a CBP Chiropractor or Biophysics Chiropractor. This form of chiropractic treatment focuses on retraining the body to maintain proper posture and alignment through traction and exercise. Dr Eric requires each of his patients to participate in a one hour spinal awareness class that he teaches every Tuesday. As a CBP Chiropractor, Dr Eric offers two forms of treatment; “patch” and “fix”. Both forms are valuable and the name describes the type of treatment a patient can choose to receive. The patch treatment is used to quickly get the patient out of their immediate pain but does not focus on a permanent solution. The fix treatment, which I chose, focuses on spinal realignment and retraining the body to maintain the realignment through traction and simple exercise.
The fix treatment requires the patient to commit to a treatment plan where they will attend appointments 3 days a week for up to 30 treatments. During this time Dr Eric realigns and tracks progress through the use of x-rays to ensure the proper alignment is occurring. In my case, my x-rays showed dramatic improvement in alignment and my physical ability soared. I will soon move to a maintenance schedule where I will see Dr Eric a few times a month.
So where has this treatment left me? In pretty good shape! While the pharmaceutical treatments slow the progression of MS, the chiropractic treatments provided by Dr Eric gave me back quality of life. I am virtually pain free and focused on building strength; walking half a mile each day and exercising regularly. My legs and hips are stronger then they have been in years. It is gratifying to have family and friends notice and comment on how well I look and how active I have become. I can shop on my own, garden, enjoy paddle boat rides and in general lead a normal life.
When I think of the progress I have made I become overjoyed with emotion. It truly feels like Dr Eric’s treatments have given me renewed hope for the future and I know I will live a healthier, happier and more active life.