When Cristina Nemeth met Dr. Proodian for the first time, she was at the end of her rope.
In early April, Cristina woke up with excruciating back pain that was causing pain and numbness down her leg. Everyday activities suddenly became extremely difficult, if not impossible.
“I’m a teacher, and I was barely able to stand on my feet,” Cristina said. “I couldn’t do simple things like tying my shoes. Just putting on my pants was difficult. I was constantly in pain.”
She saw a chiropractor and physical therapist right away. X-rays showed very little space between her L5 and S1 vertebrae at the base of her spine. The chiropractor immediately performed an adjustment and she started a physical therapy program because insurance would not authorize an MRI unless she tried physical therapy first.
“To me, that seems backwards,” Christina said. “I went through six weeks of physical therapy in terrible pain until they would finally do the MRI. The pain got significantly worse after the chiropractic adjustment. I don’t know if that was because of the chiropractor or if I was continuously inuring myself by going to work, but nothing got better.”
Frustrated and exasperated, Cristina decided to see a surgeon. When she arrived for surgery, she was told she could not proceed because her BMI was too high. Cristina was completely devastated. She went from expecting to finally feel better to wondering if she would be in pain for the rest of her life.
At this point, it was early June and Cristina had been living in intense pain for nearly three months. She contacted Natural Healthcare Center based on the recommendation of a neighbor who had seen Dr. James Proodian DC, CCSP and Dr. Kurt Hostnik DC, DACBN for her own back pain.
“I sat down with Dr. Proodian and he looked through my paperwork, MRI, and x-rays,” Cristina said. “He confirmed that I had a herniated disc and told me something I didn’t know, which was that part of one my discs had broken off. He said he wasn’t going to adjust me because that would make it worse. He recommended spinal decompression and occupational therapy.”
Cox Technic Flexion Distraction and Decompression Therapy is performed on a specialized table to gently stretch and decompress the spine to address a wide range of spinal conditions without surgery. Natural Healthcare Center has three Cox tables. Dr. Proodian and Dr. Hostnik both treated Cristina.
Occupational therapy is the therapeutic use of activities, or occupations, to help a person regain the ability to perform tasks at home or school or participate in recreational activities. Alyse Adamo, OTR/L, CPAM and Paul Poliviou, OTR/L, CPAM both supported Cristina with occupational therapy.
Cristina had her first Cox spinal decompression treatment on the same day as her initial consultation with Dr. Proodian.
“There was no pain involved with the treatment,” Christina said. “Dr. Proodian talked to me the whole time, explaining what he was going to do. It was quick and painless. I did decompression therapy three times before I started occupational therapy.”
After those initial Cox spinal decompression treatments, Cristina started to notice an increase in mobility and flexibility. She was still in pain, but she was able to move in certain ways for the first time in nearly three months. She stopped taking pain medication that had been prescribed by her surgeon.
When Cristina arrived to begin occupational therapy, she met with Alyse for an evaluation. They discussed Cristina’s goals and the types of activities that she wanted to be able to resume. She would typically have Cox decompression and occupational therapy during the same visit.
When Cristina started treatment, standing was painful and she could barely bend over. By October, she had progressed to the point at which she could touch the floor and tie her shoes. The pain, which had been sharp and piercing, was reduced to an occasional dull ache.
“Today, I feel like I’m back to normal,” Cristina said. “Actually, I have more mobility now and can do things that I couldn’t do before my injury. I’m still going in for therapy because I’m getting better and better.”
In addition to pain relief, Cristina has felt mentally and emotionally relieved from the moment she walked through the doors of Natural Healthcare Center. For the first time since she woke up in pain, she felt cared for and comfortable.
“It can be very scary going to new doctors because the first thing they want to do is blame everything on being overweight,” Cristina said. “Dr. Proodian explained right away that I was injured but didn’t automatically jump to surgery. He was very kind and patient, and he listened to what I had to say. I understood what he was saying and he understood me.”
Reflecting on this journey, Cristina is extremely grateful for her clinical team at Natural Healthcare Center – Dr. Proodian, Dr. Hostnik, Alyse Adamo, and Paul Poliviou. She appreciates how they’re always by her side rather than telling her what to do and leaving to check on other patients. Most importantly, they’ve helped her return to an enjoyable, fulfilling lifestyle with confidence.
“They’re with me the whole time, and not just physically,” Cristina said. “I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t go to Natural Healthcare Center. I’m so relieved to be living without pain, and I just can’t thank them enough.”