Spinal injury

Case 1

In 1998 my client fractured her first Lumbar vertebrae (L1) resulting in major surgery to screw steel bars into the two adjacent vertebrae (T12 and L2). A spinal fusion was done taking a bone graft from her right hip. Due to complication, further surgery was given in 2000 to remove the steel bars. In 2002 a fall resulted in a spiral fracture to right humerus and injury to right side of face / jaw. Subsequent falls due to balance problems have resulted in broken ribs and a prolapsed disc below the spinal fusion.

It took some time for my client to persuade me that I wanted to treat her but she had seen the work I had done with her horses and seemed convinced I could help !

So in 2008 I took on the challenge and here is some of the story !

My client could walk adequately on certain surfaces but generally wore a back support. Any jarring would result in an immediate need to lie down. She had great difficulty getting in and out of her car. She felt that her right side was considerably less strong than her left and had permanent pain down right hand side of spine from ear to hip. The loss of balance she suffered was due to a feeling that she was leaning to the right. In the 10 years before I treated her she had regular physiotherapy (2 weekly), Alexander Lessons (2 weekly) and Cranial Osteopathy (4 weekly).

At times Bowen can feel like peeling an onion, or like dismantling the “scaffolding” that the body has created to deal with whatever pain and imbalance that is present. With this comes a certain level of vulnerability and in complex cases like this you need to take it slowly to ensure the body has time to adapt to the changes which you are suggesting it could consider.

Over 2 years on and many treatments, my client is now able to walk much more freely and for longer periods carrying her cameras (she is a photographer) and without the use of her back support. She no longer talks about her immediate need to lie down. She is able to participate in a much broader range of activities than previously. Her back has become much more flexible over time and it is also much stronger. She is able to get in and out of her car much more easily although still suffers from pain in her right leg if she has been driving for long periods. Through this time her body has adapted well to the changes, her posture has improved and the priorities on what requires treatment has changed.
For me this is a great example of how resilient the body can be. Even though it was 10years after the initial injury before I started treating my client, the level of change achieved over this 2 year period is amazing.

Case 2: Mark

Mark came off his motor cycle in a road accident and fractured 2 vertebrae in his neck – C5 and C6. He was taken to John Radcliff Spinal unit and had a plate inserted to stabilise his neck. He is lucky to be alive and even more lucky there was no damage to his spinal cord.

When I treated him he was in significant pain and unable to work. His shoulders were aching, he had shooting pain down his right leg. He had significant crookedness in shoulders with left shoulder higher and forwards. His neck was no longer aligned with the centre of his body – it had moved to the right. He had poor posture with head and neck forwards as if trying to protect his chest. His jaw was moving to the right on opening, and he could turn his head more easily to the right than to the left.

Addressing the imbalance present in the back muscles was a priority, releasing the tension going all down the right side.
After one treatment the pain in his leg had gone and the aching had subsided. During the second treatment Mark advised he had broken 2 ribs in the crash where his helmet had come forwards and hit his chest. I did some work to release the tension over the front of the rib cage, particularly on the right.

After 2 treatments Mark was able to return to work. His posture is now good and despite the fact he has a fairly physical job he has had no further problems.