I experienced severe back pain following a four-day trip from Texas back to Washington State in June of 1997 (age 31). The car was small and cramped, and soaking in the hot tubs/spas at the hotels along the way didn’t seem to help. There didn’t seem to be, however, any particular reason why my back went out.

Prior to this car trip I’d had two major back pain episodes. The first occurred in 1988 (age 22) after lifting heavy, waterlogged tents. I did not seek treatment, but lay prone on a hard floor every chance I got for a week and the pain gradually went away. The second occurred in 1991 (age 25) after a long downhill hike with a heavy pack. The pain was intense, it felt like my vertebrae were compressed, and I had difficulty walking or even moving at all. Again, I did not seek treatment.

After I returned from the car trip, I initially tried to “tough it out” as before but after a week was in a bus accident wherein I was thrown to the floor, wrenching my back in the process. Later that day, in severe pain, I hobbled two blocks from my apartment to Evergreen Chiropractic Center. There I was given X-rays and my first adjustment by the chiropractor on duty. Even this first adjustment helped. Thereafter I was under care of Dr. Bruce Gruber, and received the majority of my treatments from him. The portion of the treatment that always produced noticeable improvement and relief was where I lay on one side or the other, with one leg and arm bent, and the doctor pulled my shoulder while pushing my hip – this is a crude description. I initially received chiropractic treatments amost every day, but after a couple of weeks went to three days a week. I was unable to work for a week after the accident. I just laid on my futon, moving only for food, drink, bathroom and chiropractic visits.

The following week I was able to work half days, retuning home after lunch to lay down. Gradually, the pain lessened to manageable levels. After two months., I was able to resume jogging and going to the gym. After three months, I was able to go on a long and strenuous hike and regularly run 25 miles a week plus biweekly gym workouts. A year afterward, I successfully climbed Mt. Rainier, heavy pack and all. At present time (over two years later), I maintain a strenuous exercise program and expect to run the Portland Marathon in October. Though my neurologist prescribed them to me, I did not take any steroid medication. Though back surgery was an option, I never seriously considered it since chiropractic treatment achieved such excellent results.

My right foot still feels different from my left (normal) foot, but this doesn’t affect me in any noticeable way. I have had 3 or 4 “relapses,” when my back felt out of alignment and caused pain, but a visit to the chiropractor cleared these up. These relapses occurred while playing basketball and colliding with another player, and once during a run. Now I don’t hesitate. If I experience any back pain, I go to the chiropractor immediately.

I am very grateful to Dr. Gruber and the whole chiropractic tradition for healing me. I am a very active person and when my L4-L5 disc became herniated I was basically crippled and disabled. Thanks to the chiropractic adjustments, I’m still able to be athletic and enjoy outdoor activities just as before my injury. I would wholeheartedly recommend chiropractic treatment to anyone with chronic back and/or neck pain, especially as an alternative to risky and uncertain surgery.

Sean Steen