David Tener, DC
Important Lessons from Garrett's Case
1) Multiple Symptoms, Multiple Doctors, Multiple Treatments.
Many patients come to the Goldberg Clinic having been diagnosed medically with numerous conditions. Their history often includes multiple visits to multiple Physicians and specialists who manage and "treat" each so called disease. Garrett's case is a classic example of this all too common scenario.
Garrett's list of diagnoses and Physicians included:
- Proteinuria (protein in the urine)-->Nephrologist
- Hematuria (blood in the urine)-->Nephrologist
- Back Pain-->Chiropractor
- Fatigue-->Self treated with stimulants (coffee/caffeine)
Garrett's health problems were not separate and distinct issues but rather a manifestation of causes that had not yet been addressed. Rather than "treat" each issue separately (commonly done in conventional medicine, alternative medicine and functional medicine), we set out to identify the root factors involved and to address them directly. All of Garrett's symptoms improved simultanously as his overall health and function improved over time.
2) The Critical Role of the Gastrointestinal Tract in Systemic Illnesss
Garrett's case illustrates the important connection between the gut and autoimmune/allergic/musculoskeletal conditions. His laboratory tests revealed digestive disturbances which over time resulted in numerous food sensitivies and other immune reactions that affected his joints (back pain), his skin (Psoriasis) and his kidneys (blood/protein in urine). Over 75% of the immune system is located in the gut. Improving Garrett's digestive function and reducing stress to his immune system was key to a successful outcome.
The following list includes some of the many problems associated with digestive disturbances:
- Fatigue (Garrett)
- Allergies (Garrett)
- Low back pain (Garrett)
- Psoriasis (Garrett)
- Joint Pain
- Heart disease
- Kidney issues (Garrett)
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Generalized rheumatism
3) The Relationship Between Digestive/Immune Disturbances and Musculoskeletal Symptoms.
Low back pain is a common problem for which approximately one in four adults seeks treatment in a six-month period. It is commonly treated with almost every modality known to man including prolonged bed rest, narcotics, surgery, heat, cold, exercise, flexion, extension, traction, massage, adjustments/manipulation, muscle relaxants, etc.
For back pain with purely mechanical causes (injury, trauma, etc), mechanical treatments and modalities can be supportive in the recovery process. When trauma or injury is not the cause, however, mechanical treatments generally provide only temporary relief at best often leaving the patient dependent on continuous treatments and therapies. This was the case with Garrett, who was receiving frequent Chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy which afforded him only temporary relief (see video: 5:12).
Garrett's case illustrates well the relationship between digestive/immune disturbances and systemic effects such as low back pain. Poor digestion creates inflammatory byproducts, all of which have the potential to irritate nerve and muscle fibers and create joint dysfunction. As Garrett's digestion and biochemistry improved and the level of toxic byproducts diminished, his low back pain dramatically reduced as did his need for ongoing spinal adjustments and therapies.