Back Pain Resolved: Avid Climber Ready To Reach New Heights

For Megan B., the best parts of her life have been climbing and hiking in open spaces where she is free to connect with nature in ways that her busy work life in Chicago doesn’t allow.

But, a year ago when the 28-year-old experienced sudden low back pain, her ability to hike, trek and run was hampered. The idea of being limited at such a young age scared her and she knew she couldn’t ignore it.

“This isn’t something you can put a Band-Aid on,” Megan said. “As someone who thrives on adventure, it was really demoralizing to not be sure if that was going to be sustainable for me. It was terrifying.”

Initially, Megan believed the pain in the lower left side of her back was related to a previous hip injury that required surgery. After consulting her orthopedic surgeon, Megan was directed to Dr. Thomas Lotus, a chiropractic physician at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, who specializes in non-surgical orthopedics and Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT)—also called McKenzie Therapy.

An MDT assessment allows the practitioner to determine how a patient’s pain is behaving and allows him or her to accurately predict how a patient’s back will respond to specific treatment.

When Dr. Lotus met Megan, he was very confident he could help her. He started by treating the pain that was radiating to her hip and thighs with repeated end range loading (a very specific spine exercise for her condition).  She then completed one set of ten every hour at home to reduce the symptoms.  As she progressed, she learned prevention exercises and how to continue to manage her pain at home.

During treatment, Megan knew to understand how her condition behaves and what she could do to relieve her symptoms.

“Just like brushing your teeth twice a day for good dental hygiene, continued home exercises support good spine hygiene,” explains Dr. Lotus.

“I am so hopeful,” Megan said. “For five minutes in the morning and five minutes at night, I do the press-ups Dr. Lotus prescribed. When I do them, I instantly feel better. It is just a massive relief.” 

Dr. Lotus explains that patients like Megan have to be well educated on spine mechanics. He believes that once a patient understands his or her condition and how it behaves, they can actually help reduce the pain themselves. With an MDT assessment, Dr. Lotus is able to educate patients about the best methods of working through their specific pain.

For Megan, the idea of enjoying the outdoors for days on end brought her an inner peace she had never experienced. Now, after climbing to elevations as high as 18,600 feet, Megan and her dad will travel to Aconcagua, Argentina for a three-week trek through to the highest summit in the world outside of the Himalayas. Aconcagua’s summit sits at 22,000 feet and is one of the world’s famous ‘Seven Summits.’

For an appointment with Dr. Lotus to discuss your back pain, call 877.MD.BONES or request appointment here.