Linda's Story


Living with back pain

Linda Carlson, a physical education teacher at Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, IL, is so passionate about what she does that she received the ‘National P.E. Teacher of the Year’ in 2017 by Shape (Society of Health and Physical Educators) America. While she hasn’t won an award for it just yet, her other passion is raising her two young, busy children. Being active at work and home is just her way of life.

A couple of years ago when she began to feel back and radiating leg pain, Linda was very worried about keeping up with both teaching and her family.

Her concerns were valid. Eventually, her back and leg pain became so severe that she had to take breaks and sit down while just grocery shopping. She realized then that something had to be done and visited a local physician for a consultation. He diagnosed her with a L5-S1 disc herniation and explained that her pain was caused by the disc between the bones in her spine which was pushing outward and coming into contact with the nerve.  He recommended a discectomy surgical procedure to treat the cause of her pain.

Linda underwent the surgery, but afterward was discouraged to find that her pain was unresolved. She underwent a second back surgery and again her pain remained.

Getting a second opinion

Frustrated and afraid of more surgery, she considered other options.  A friend recommended Dr. Thomas Lotus, an orthopedic chiropractic physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush who has specialty training in Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (McKenzie Method). Linda liked Dr. Lotus’ treatment approach because it advocated education, self-care and self-empowerment.

After getting Linda’s detailed history and performing a physical exam, Dr. Lotus was confident that Linda would see an improvement under his care. He began treating her by identifying which movements reduced her symptoms. He then guided her through specific therapeutic movements while monitoring her pain response and relief. After a couple of visits, Linda was thrilled.

“The results were immediate and my pain went down a lot.” 

Within a few weeks, Linda went from excruciating pain to performing box jumps in her workout sessions again. “I couldn’t believe that I was capable of doing that again,” she says. Even better, she was able to enjoy her summer and travel by airplane and by car without struggling with pain. “I’m so happy because Dr. Lotus taught me the techniques to manage my own pain”.

Today, she is back to teaching and comfortably doing all the things required of her at both work and home.

To request an appointment with Dr. Thomas Lotus to discuss your back pain, call 877-MD-BONES or request an appointment online.