Patient Case Studies
The case studies listed below are just a small sample of some of the success stories we’ve had at Positive Motion Chiropractic. If you have any questions about whether we can help you with your unique health issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Jennifer S. - Knee Pain
Jennifer S. came to our office complaining of sharp pain at the inside of her right knee. It had come on slowly, but over the past six weeks had gotten so bad that many times by the end of the day she couldn’t even walk without feeling like she was being stabbed. She had no prior history of knee trouble and from the history we took it didn’t sound like she had injured the knee ligaments or meniscus. She was in good physical shape other than her knee pain, but that was keeping her from her passion which was her daily run. Not being able to do this was dampening her mood and causing her to start gaining weight.
After a thorough history we perfomed an evaluation of Jennifer’s biomechanics, gait, and posture. We also tested the muscles around her knees for functional strenth and balance. Additionally, we checked Jennifer’s foot, ankle, knee, and hip alignment on our laser-assisted Aline orthotic device and this showed a severe right foot pronation pattern which was leading in weight-bearing loaded activity to medial knee stress during her gait cycle. This had also lead to an SI joint fixation at her right hip and pelvis, probably from compensation during running.
For treatment on that first visit we gently adjusted her right foot and ankle using a pronation protocol, adjusted her right SI joint using a drop table adjustment, and fitted her for a pair of custom Aline orthotics based on the laser-assisted postural evaluation. We utilized our cold laser to speed up the healing of the right inner knee tissues and we applied KinesioTape to help her knee biomechanics while the internal knee joint swelling was dissipating. We recommended a follow up visit in three days and we recommended that she try and run prior to her neck visit to assess how her knee was feeling. Three days later Jennifer returned and she couldn’t be more happy. She had run the day before and had no pain. She kept saying “It’s a miracle,” but we assured her that the body runs to very tight tolerances, like a European sports car, and sometimes it just needs a tune-up in order to run perfectly.
Jennifer has been our patient now for many years and still continues running with no further knee complaints. She comes into the office occasionally for a tune-up visit on her tight neck and shoulders, and has referred many friends and family members. Additionally, she has taken our 28 Days to Health detoxification class and LOVES our Trigger Point Therapy classes for helping her tight iliotibial (IT) bands - commonly tight in runners.
Lisa K. - Weight Loss and Fatigue
Lisa has a similar situation to hundreds of women I have treated. Over the years she had been tough on her body through a stress-filled job, raising two children, and trying to squeeze in vacations during holidays. The stress had taken its toll on her body and hormonal systems and she was fatigued. She wanted to exercise, but just felt like her gas tank was on empty. She had tried various diets throughout the years, many right before bikini season or big events like her daughter’s wedding, but she rapidly gained all the weight back and then some. She was frustrated, worn-out, and as she started to enter menopause she felt hopeless.
Having treated patients just like Lisa is in the past I knew that if we could teach her about healthy eating, anti-inflammatory foods, and balancing her blood sugar and hormones, that she would feel young and vibrant again. Based on Lisa’s history and desire to find a lasting solution I recommended that she attend one of our 28 Days to Health classes at our Positive Motion Los Gatos facility. She was reluctant at first, but convinced a girlfriend to do the classes with her and she joined us for the 1-hour class each week for four weeks. She learned many lessons about sabotaging foods, anti-inflammatory diets, pH, food combining, eating to balance your hormones, all in a simple, doable format. At her 4 week graduation from the program she had lost 12 pounds and using our Tanita body composition analysis machine we were able to determine that her lean muscle mass had increased and 10 of the pounds that she lost were fat mass.
As an alumni of the 28 Days to Health program, Lisa comes in for free body composition analysis occasionally and after two years she continues with her ideal body weight and figure. That makes her happy, but she told me recently that what makes her the happiest is that she feels like she has fuel in her tank again. She goes out dancing with her husband and they exercise together regularly - something she never had the energy to do before coming to our office.
Michael H. - Shoulder Pain
The shoulder is the most mobile and complicated joint in the body. That being said, its function is based on proper functioning off a symphony of muscles, ligaments and joints. Too many times in today’s sendentary American society our shoulder biomechanics get imbalanced with some muscles being overly tightened and others remarkably atrophied. The use it or lose it principle certainly applies. And being a weekend warrior at golf, tennis, or skiing, does count!
Michael presented to our office in Los Gatos complaining of acute, sharp shoulder pain that was increased by any raising of his arm from his side. He couldn’t raise his arm higher than shoulder height due to the severe pain. The pain had started about two months previously after he tweaked his arm skiing. He thought his shoulder was healing after that injury, but it just kept causing him pain. It was now painful for him to put on his jacket and seat belt. More importantly Michael wasn’t able to golf anymore because of his shoulder pain. He had went to his MD orthopedist for a consult and his MD wanted to do surgery after seeing the MRIs. Michael wanted another opinion and option to surgery. He knew that was always a last option but he wanted to try something less invasive first.
After a thorough history, physical exam, muscle testing of the shoulder muscles, and a review of his shoulder MRI, it was clear that Michael had a classic case of impingement syndrome masquerading as a rotator cuff tear. His MRI did show mild fraying of the supraspinatus tendon at the subacromial space but as I explained to him, fraying is not the same as a tear. I explained to him that the supraspinatus tendon is the rotator cuff muscle/tendon that can get torn and may need repair. But there is a continuum from mild irritation/fraying to full thickness tear of the tendon. When a person has poor shoulder biomechanics that will cause the humeral head (the ball of the shoulder joint) to raise superiorly towards the acromion. This medical description is what is simply called impingement syndrome, and involves pinching of the supraspinatus tendon, which is severely painful. This pinching causes inflammation and can cause fraying of the tendon.
I explained to Michael that I certainly thought we could help him recover pain-free motion in his shoulder and that I didn’t think surgery would be needed at this time. We started on a program to improve Michael’s shoulder biomechanics and posture using chiropractic adjustments and muscle/fascia work using Graston technique. We reduced the inflammation and sped up the healing of the tendon tissue using a cold laser. We enrolled him in three one-hour Trigger Point Therapy classes at our office to release the tightness around his mid-back, neck, and shoulders. And we sent him home with a few exercises specifically designed for his condition. We saw him twice a week for two weeks and then once a week for two more weeks. He started to notice an immediate decrease in pain after the first visit. And at three weeks after presenting to our office he was completely pain-free and back to golf for the first time in three months. He was ecstatic to be back out golfing and even mentioned that he had cut three strokes off his game.
Bob D. - Low Back Pain
Bob came to our office as a 72-year-old gentleman who had never been to a chiropractor. About half of of our new patients have never been to a chiropractor before and we love being able to give them an extraordinary first impression of how transformative good chiropractic care can be.
Bob was referred in by his daughter who has been a patient at our office for over five years. She knew the benefit experienced by her and her immediate family, but it took awhile to convince her father to come and talk with Dr. Pedersen about his back pain. He finally made the appointment.
After a thorough history and physical exam it was determined that Bob had a fixation in his right sacroiliac (SI) joint that was causing all the supporting muscles around his back on that side to not function properly and to seize up. This caused him marked pain, especially when he would get up from being seated for a long time or when he would try to do any activities that required much bending. He was relieved after the examination to learn that we had found nothing indicative of a lumbar disc bulge or herniation.
To help Bob we utilized gentle drop adjustments to his pelvis and Activator adjustments at his lumbar spine at the spinal segments that lacked good motion. We also taught Bob some simple exercises and stretches that he could do at home to improve his spinal and core stabilization muscle tone, which helps Bob to avoid needing repeat adjustments.
On a side note, during our history we discovered that Bob had suffered for years with heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease - GERD. He was currently taking two medications and still having symptoms almost daily. I told him that once we fixed his back we should discuss natural options for helping him get his digestive system working properly. He agreed. So after three visits working on the back, we got to work on his overproduction of stomach acid. We put him on a product called HCl Prozyme which he was to take with meals and discussed some of the common dietary and lifestyle factors leading to GERD. Within a week his heartburn symptoms were completely alleviated and for the past year he hasn’t had to use his prescription heartburn medications.
Susan T. - Headache
Susan came to our Los Gatos office two years ago with a health complaint that is all to common today: migraine headaches. She was suffering from headaches the majority of the days of the week and the over-the-counter and prescription medications she was taking would only take the edge off the pain. She was missing days at work and was unhappy because she noted that she was short with her husband and kids because of the pain. She needed an effective solution now.
We took a thorough health history with Susan, really trying to probe when she first started having her headaches, how they had changed throughout the years, and what triggers (if any) had she noted. She recalled the headaches starting in their current intensity around age 20. When I asked her specifically about any accidents or traumas around age 20 she got a surprised look on her face and said, “I was in a car accident that year.” Hmmm...
I explained to her that many times headaches, even migraine-like headaches, can be referral pain caused by trigger points in the muscles around the head and neck. Sometimes they are from the muscles of the jaw and TMJ with teeth grinders or clenchers. Sometimes they are caused by the neck and shoulder muscles. I was able to find a muscle in the upper part of her neck, right under the skull bone, that when pressed recreated her headache sensation immediately. When I stopped pressing the pain went away. I explained that these trigger points were more than likely the cause of her migraine headaches and that we should be able to get this tightness and pain to go away.
Our treatment plan for Susan involved soothing muscle work using Graston tools to break down myofascial adhesions in the muscles around her neck and shoulders. We also did muscle work by hand on the muscles of her TMJ. We utilized an Activator instrument to deliver gentle adjustments to fixated joints in her upper back. Also, we gave Susan some recommendations on simple ergonomic changes she could make to her work stations and common daily tasks that would reinforce good posture. Lastly, we gave her some advice regarding her sleep posture that seemed like it might be exacerbating her shoulder and neck tension.
Susan had had her migraine headaches for 21 years. After the first visit she noticed the intensity of her headaches had decreased. After the second visit she noted that she wasn't getting them as frequently. We saw Susan six times over a four-week period. By the last visit, she noted that she hadn't experienced a headache for the previous two weeks. Susan was so excited about these results that she asked if she could come in for maintenance care to make sure she wouldn't start having headaches again. We have see Susan once a month for almost two years now and she remains headache-free.
Kaleb S. - Foot Pain
Kaleb’s mother, Cynthia, has been a patient of mine for four years but she had never had the need to bring her son in to see me. That changed when Kaleb started complaining about the arch of his right foot hurting him when he would run at soccer. After a few weeks of the pain not going away, Cynthia asked me during a visit to our office if I worked on kids. I explained that we did work on children and that most times children love chiropractic and get great results fast.
She scheduled an appointment for Kaleb and they came to the office the next day. Kaleb has a very athletic build for eight years old and he is in love with soccer. I took a history and examined his foot and found some of the joints in his right foot weren’t moving properly. About 25% of the bones of the body are found in the feet, and although many chiropractors chose not to adjust them, working with the feet can bring rapid and amazing results for long-standing problems.
I did some gentle adjustments to Kaleb’s right foot and I discussed the abnormal wear patterns on the back of Kaleb’s shoes with Cynthia. The right heel of his shoe showed excessive wear on the lateral portion, when compared to the left shoe. This is many times indicative of a pronation pattern in that foot and can lead to foot pain, medial knee pain, or hip pain. I told Cynthia that we should wait and see how Kaleb did before we worried about his shoes.
Kaleb jumped off the table and walking around had a surprised look on his face because his arch didn’t hurt anymore. I gave him a high-five and told them to call the office if his pain returned.
Kaleb did well for about ten days. Then his right arch pain returned. Cynthia mentioned that she had looked through his other shoes and the increased right lateral heel wear was found on almost all his shoes. I again adjusted Kaleb’s right foot, but we also tested Kaleb for Aline orthotics using the laser guided Aline machine in our office. It was determined that Kaleb was overpronating on his right side and we were able to get him a pair of custom orthotics for his shoes that day. I asked him to wear them in his everyday shoes and also his soccer shoes.
That was three years ago. Kaleb's foot remains pain-free. But he does come in about once a year to get adjusted and checked for new orthotics as his feet keep growing.