We asked some of our patients to describe their conditions, how the pain affected their lives, and what other treatments they had before coming to Dr. Fretty. A few of their stories follow.
“I had lower back pain that affected my leg. I also suffered from migraines and a stiff neck. I was functioning but barely. I was tense and irritable and was unable to play with my daughter. I could only work on household chores or play with her in 15-minute increments. I took 800 mg of Ibuprofen to ease the pain. I also took Imitrex and other over-the-counter medicines. A former employer referred me in 2001 when I re injured my back. I confirmed that my insurance company covered Dr. Fretty. My headaches are now completely gone, not even a tinge. My back is much better and I have regained 90% of regular activities, including playing with my daughter! I had forgotten what a clear head even felt like.Thanks.”
“I have been a heavyweight lifter for almost 20 years, and a firefighter for 13 of them. Over time, it has taken a little more time to recover from physical exertion. I would have nagging neck and mid-back pain. One evening, I decided to wear some very high heels and that was enough to throw the rest of me out of whack. I could not make any quick movements without pain. The pain made it impossible to carry out any of my normal activities, such as driving a car, working out at the gym, working on the job, sleeping comfortably, sitting, you name it. I tried heating pads alternated with ice packs, and massage. It was soothing for the moment, but offered no long lasting relief. I have a dear friend who swears by Dr. Fretty and being that she is so vibrant, healthy and strong, I felt it was a better reference than by telephone or by word of mouth. After only a few visits, I felt strong as a bull again! I can lift, squat, bend, run, and play etc. etc. pain free. I actually feel better than I remember when I considered myself healthy–there were some nagging aches I had just learned to accept as part of the aging process. Who knew? I am just glad I don’t have to feel that way anymore. This is no quick fix–but Dr. Fretty has taught me that a lot of ailments are easily avoidable.”
“I had two fused vertebra in my back from an old horseback riding accident and had recently been diagnosed with a condition, pseudo tumor cerebri. I had severe headaches, trouble sleeping, and I was on several prescription pain relievers and sleep aids. Some days even simple tasks like picking up a sock on the floor were nearly impossible. After my riding accident, I had been treated unsuccessfully in many other chiropractic offices. After about 7 months of therapy, I was told it was something that I would always live with. Victoria, my sister, told me about Dr. Fretty. When he learned of my problem, he was willing to give it a try. So I packed my things and drove 250 miles to see the best there is. He got my back to break loose!!! I did not believe it at first. I had lived with this for 15 years and it took him only 10 minutes to begin the correct healing process. He also helped with my newly diagnosed condition. Once he adjusted my spine, the headaches became less frequent and less severe. I thank Dr. Fretty for finding my ability to do little things–like sleep. If it were not for him, I would still be living a sort of half-life.”
“Over a period of more than 20 years I had experienced back pain, the most debilitating of which was centered in my lower back. The condition would result in severe muscle spasms at least 3 to 4 times a year. I was troubled with sciatica several times a year. These bouts with back spasms would immobilize me for 3 to 4 days at a time, making it impossible for me to go to my job. I was barely able to walk to and from the bathroom. In between flare-ups, I had to be very careful when doing simple things such as bending over the sink to brush my teeth, tie my shoe, etc. My back ached on a daily basis.
I saw a chiropractor during this 20-year period. However, the cost and inflexible hours made it difficult to afford and to go in for regular visits. When the spasms occurred, I would contact my internist for drugs (usually strong muscle relaxants and codeine.) These drugs would eventually relieve the pain, but kept me too groggy to get out of bed.
One day in December 2000, I decided to find a new chiropractor. I opened the yellow pages and found Dr. Fretty’s practice listed. I was delighted to see that his office was conveniently located in my neighborhood, and I decided to contact him. Since the first appointment with Dr. Fretty, I have not had a lower back spasm, nor have I been bothered with sciatica.
I believe these results are due to his expertise and also his belief in treating the whole person, stressing the need for good nutrition, the right kind of exercise, quality sleep, and a positive mindset. Just as important, I believe that Dr. Fretty’s flexible hours and his genuine care for his patients creates and environment of easy access, support and nurturing that is so important to a patient’s comfort, confidence and recovery. The entire staff of Ocean Chiropractic is always available to answer my phone calls, and they are never too busy to address my health needs with cheerfulness and compassion.
Since finding OCC, I am amazed and delighted at my body’s improved range of motion and flexibility. I can bend over, tie my shoe, or pick a flower now without having to get down on my knees. Dr. Fretty is also treating my carpal tunnel syndrome with very good results. I am doing extremely well, and able to continue with my administrative job, and various other activities (e.g. sketching and gardening in moderation) with a minimum of discomfort. My back is still delicate and at times still tight, tired and achy, but the disabling pain I once had is gone.”
“I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) with rapid weight loss. I would eat eight big meals daily and still could not keep anything in. I had extreme pain all the time on the left side mostly. I was dehydrated, it was hard to walk, sit, stand and lay down. I could not work or walk without needing a restroom. I always had to rely on people to be with me in case I passed out. I did that a lot from lack of nutrition and pain. My G.I. specialist had me on four different medications. He had tried eight of them and none of them worked. They just made me worse. Antidepressants for chronic pain did just the opposite and made it worse. Since I started seeing Dr. Fretty, I have gained 20 pounds and I am off all medications. I can go anywhere without people and without actually looking for a bathroom. I feel alive again! I can work too and travel. Before I became sick, I had a very active life. Since seeing Dr. Fretty, I have that back once again and only have small relapses when I do.”
“Sports-related injuries caused limited movement in my joints and spine. Some days, I was unable to be the athlete I wanted to be. I tried traditional medicine and x-rays. I almost gave up finding a new chiropractor since my original moved to Colorado. My wife’s insurance company offered a list of providers, and that is how I found Dr. Fretty. My knee is now good enough to row again with ongoing treatment. My neck and back are greatly improved, allowing me to do the sports I love.”
“I first came to chiropractic about the age of 9. My dad would make periodic trips to the chiropractor’s office just up the street from our home and he would sometimes take me along. The big reclining table spooked me a bit, and my dad’s gasps and grunts during his adjustments didn’t help. But when I went through a rapid growth spurt during the summer of my 12th year, I started having back and posture problems. My dad insisted that I see the chiropractor, at least to get some relief. The doc put me on the table, adjusted my back, and I sarcastically thought, “Yeah, that’ll do a lot of good.” To satisfy my father, I kept up the weekly visits. The doc also gave me some exercises and made a couple of recommendations to change my diet. (less sugar, more calcium!!)
Within a few weeks, my back problems started to go away. My posture improved. I was sleeping better, and most important, I became aware of my body. I could tell when I was not eating right or exercising enough or just feeling lopsided when I walked. I could actually feel the dis-ease taking place, and the next adjustment took care of it. (I was going monthly now). I would even sense problems before they happened or I did something stupid, like pick up a heavy box the wrong way. My body just didn’t “feel right” as I bent over and I would stop, reposition myself and voila I didn’t wrench my back out!
In high school, I dropped off my chiropractic visits (who has time when you are in high school?) and only went for adjustments if I had a sports injury or I lifted something the wrong way. It was during one of those infrequent sessions that the doctor asked me about my left wrist. I had been favoring it and he noticed. I told him it was nothing, just that I seemed to have strained it or something. He asked me how long it had been hurting me, and I thought about it-maybe 15 months? He told me to get back on the table and he would try something. He counted down to the 7th cervical vertebra (I think), did a really sharp adjustment, something he’d never done before. I saw stars and a flash of light and felt a sharp stab of pain travel down my left arm, then up again. I got off the table and stared at the doctor, the wrist pain was gone! He just smiled and said “Yeah, I thought it might be a pinched nerve there.” The pain has not returned in almost 40 years!
When I moved to California, I found a chiropractor and a great masseuse not far from my gym in Marin. But when I started working in the South Bay, it was too far to travel. I let things slip for a few years, until I started having back pains again. I found it harder and harder to get up from a squat, I couldn’t finish my normal exercise routine because of discomfort, and even walking became less enjoyable (a bad sign for a hiker). I also found that I couldn’t sit for more than about an hour without developing a burning sensation on one side of my tailbone. My family physician recommended pain medication, but I don’t like to take system suppressants and analgesics because they can often mask problems. So I lived with this condition for another couple of years, then decided that I had had enough. I called my insurance and found a chiropractor down the street from my office. This time, it took months of twice a week sessions, instead of weekly adjustments for the dis-ease to get better (the effects of getting older I guess). But with regular adjustments and some new exercises, it did get better. And my improved sense of body returned so I could tell when my body needed work. I had been making excellent progress, according to my practitioner, and we had just started working on the burning sensation (it was still there but much less frequent). But I changed jobs and it was not practical to continue with that chiropractor.
Fortunately, I found a good one near my home who has been helping me ever since. In fact, he was the only one who suggested that I get an MRI to see if the burning sensation was due to any soft tissue damage. My family doctor agreed that I should get the tests (while I was a little surprised that he had not suggested them). Sure enough, the MRI showed severe lumbar stenosis in 2 places, right where my chiropractor said to look. Surgery is the recommended treatment and while usually successful, it involves some risk of spinal damage and frequently involves follow-up surgery every few years.
While I might still need surgery in the future, my current regimen of regular chiropractic adjustments coupled with exercise and reasonable diet seems to be working well. My back pain is rare and quite manageable when it does occur, and all without medication. I avoid 12-hour plane flights, and I often use the excuse of my bad back to get out of sitting in boring meetings after an hour.
I am a skeptic by nature. I don’t put much stock in homeopathy, naturopathy, Ayurevedic medicine or new age health practices. But I’ve had personal experience with chiropractic for four decades now, and I find this “hands on” approach to treating many forms of disease to be effective, understandable, economic, and a great long-term investment in my health.”