When patients with back or neck pain would come to see Dr. Paul Sedacca, a general internist, he had no hesitation referring them to chiropractors for a different level of care. But when it came to his own lower back issues, it was not something he sought out for relief. Yet, after meeting with and undergoing treatment from Dr. Michael O’Keefe, Dr. Sedacca says he wishes he had found him much sooner.
“I have been suffering with two conditions, one is in my piriformis muscle, which can be treated with Botox injections, and I also have severe spinal stenosis and degenerated discs,” says Dr. Sedacca. “The piriformis component is kept under control with the injections, but the other issues would cause horrific flares in pain across my tail bone, into my buttocks and thigh.”
The pain hit a fever pitch this past November when it became too much to bear. “I cancelled office hours because of the pain, and I was sleeping upright in chairs. It was terrible,” says Dr. Sedacca, who added that surgery was the last thing on his mind as an option. He knew it was time for him to explore non-medical options. “A friend had told me about Dr. O’Keefe and how his treatment was helping her husband, so I knew I had to try it or the pain would keep coming back.”
This story is common at O’Keefe Chiropractic Center in Medford, where patients with pain—in their neck, radiating into their arms, lower back or spreading to their legs in the form of sciatica—come seeking treatment.
The first step any patient must face is asking: Where do I begin to deal with this problem? A recent study published in the medical journal Spine, found that patients who seek chiropractic care for back pain are less likely to undergo surgery. Approximately 43 percent of patients who saw a surgeon first for treatment ended up having surgery, as opposed to 1.5 percent of patients who first saw a chiropractor. According to Dr. O’Keefe, these findings support the long-held position that many health care providers subscribe to, that treatment for back pain should begin with conservative approaches, such as chiropractic care.
According to C. Norman Shealy, Ph.D., M.D., and published in the American Journal of Pain Management, “86 percent of herniated disc patients achieved ‘good’ (50 to 80 percent improvement) to ‘excellent’ (90-100 percent improvement) results with decompression therapy. Sciatica and back pain were relieved, and those with disc degeneration, 75 percent obtained ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ results with spinal decompression.”
For this reason, when a patient is seeking relief for back and neck pain problems, DTS spinal decompression therapy is a good place to start.
may be questions about what to expect when coming into the office. “The first thing we do is listen and take a careful history,” says Dr. O’Keefe. “We find out why they are in our office, what they want to achieve, and after taking the history we perform a physical exam to make an assessment of the patient’s pain syndrome they are describing. After the physical, the next course of action would typically be Xrays to make an assessment of their spine. X-rays allow us to make a more thorough evaluation of the patient’s condition, such as disc degeneration or congenital abnormalities. In many cases we would need an MRI of the painful spine area to make the diagnosis more complete. The MRI is often able to show the exact site of a pinched nerve, disc herniation or degeneration.”
Gathering all of this information helps the doctors make a determination on whether to accept the patient for care in their office, and once a determination is made, a treatment plan would be designed and discussed with the patient.
“We explain, in most instances this is a process and not a singular event,” says Dr. O’Keefe. “The typical course of therapy is eight to 10 weeks, and involves treatment rendered, exercises the patient performs at home and time for the patient’s condition to heal. The end result we are looking to achieve is pain relief, as well as a healthier and more functional spine.”
At O’Keefe Chiropractic, the doctors don’t just treat the symptoms of pain; they treat the root cause, and aim to return patients to their normal lifestyle. “Our goal is to relieve pain, which is what brings them to our office, but in that process we are also looking to improve the functionality of the spine so the patient can begin to assume normal daily activities without continual reoccurrence of pain brought on by a non-functioning or dysfunctioning spinal column,” says Dr. O’Keefe.
Those undergoing DTS spinal decompression therapy may wonder what the treatment experience is like. This form of intervention uses computer-modulated traction to gently treat disc degeneration, disc herniation and spinal stenosis. It’s a comfort-based procedure, which many patients prefer over opting for surgery or cortisone shots.
“Patients being treated with DTS spinal decompression are placed on a treatment table. The computer modulator gently stretches the spine and opens the intervertebral disc spaces, creating a negative pressure to draw the disc back away from the spine,” says Dr. O’Keefe. “Patients report a sense of relief or relaxation during the treatment session. The gentle stretching of the spine fosters a phenomenon known as ‘imbibition.’ This is the way a normal disc gets nutrition. Then our doctors evaluatethe spinal column in order to ensure proper mobility of the spinal articulations. DTS spinal decompression therapy is not a stand-alone treatment. The effectiveness of spinal decompression therapy is achieved by continual re-evaluation and manual therapies to ensure proper spinal mobility. What I mean by this is that decompression therapy addresses the disc whereas manual therapies addresss your spinal articular (joint) mobility. You have to relieve the disc pressure but the doctor also has to re-establish proper joint motion in order to achieve the correction.
“This process, of decompression and spinal evaluation, is repeated over a period of weeks. In office stabilization exercise will be performed with the patient,” Dr. O’Keefe continues. “The patient is also given home exercise instructions in order to improve mobility and flexibility of the spine, and to enhance the results of the office treatment. The end result of this treatment is a more functional spine with reduced inflammation and reduced pain. Dr. Sedacca is one of many physicians who are treated at our office. Physicians, just like any other patients, often come to our office for care by referral. They are looking for pain relief but they also want to return to a normal lifestyle.”
Dr. Sedacca is amazed at the results and relief he’s felt.
“He has exceeded my expectations in treatment,” he says. “While I am on the table, I can feel the joints opening up, and combined with the exercises I do at home, it altogether makes a difference. I have function back allowing me to work and even travel, recently sitting on a plane to Florida.”
Dr. Sedacca will continue to see Dr. O’Keefe once a week and maintain his progress. “Dr. O’Keefe has been a fortuitous find for me. The office staff is terrific and very professional, their exam is thorough and ensures the right areas are targeted,” he says. “I would highly recommend him to anyone with neck or back problems.”
For more information on DTS spinal decompression therapy, visit OKeefeChiropractic. net, and click on the DTS video on the home page. You can also call to speak to one of the doctors or schedule a consultation to discuss your condition.
O’Keefe Chiropractic Center, P.A.
Dr. Michael J. O’Keefe
Dr. David L. Jones
Dr. Trisha A. Sileo
99 Taunton Road | Medford
(609) 654-4299 | OKeefeChiropractic.net
Published (and copyrighted) in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 12 (March 2018).
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