Dr. Terry Yochum, Dr. Norman Kettner, Dr. Joseph Howe and Dr. James Cox
Salvaging athletic careers, creating pain treatment methods and working to understand the effects of both physical and psychological pain are just some ways Doctors of Chiropractic are contributing to health care. Three eminent DCs specifically shared their experiences with these topics during the 10th Annual Joseph W. Howe Oration in Diagnostic Imaging, an event held May 25 at Logan to honor the contributions and achievements of Dr. Howe.
Speakers included Terry R. Yochum, DC, DACBR, James Cox, DC, DACBR and Norman W. Kettner, DC, DACBR.
Dr. Terry Yochum – Saving a Career
Dr. Yochum discussed a case highlighting a 16-year old female soccer player who was slated to join the United States’ Junior Olympic Soccer Team. The patient was experiencing low back pain on her right side as she kicked the soccer ball and extended. Dr. Yochum concluded that she had developed spondyloysis and his answer was to put her in the Boston Overlap brace and reduce her activity.
Dr. Yochum noted that athletes are the hardest patients to manage because as soon as the pain goes away, they want to play. However, he praised this aspiring soccer star for following orders. He said the key is to remind athletes, parents and coaches that the brace is not a career-ending activity, but it is ultimately a career-saving activity. As a result, the patient fulfilled her goal and was selected for the Junior Olympic soccer team. Dr. Yochum has performed this treatment with hundreds of patients, in addition to the soccer player, without one reoccurrence.
Dr. James Cox – Treating Post-Surgical Patients
“The suicide rate is high…the depression rate is high,” said Dr. Cox empathetically during the Howe Oration, as he discussed the chiropractor’s obligation to meet the challenges of post-surgical, continued-pain patients.
Dr. Cox shared a study he and other colleagues conducted to address the pain patients often continue to feel after undergoing spinal surgery, which may lead to severe depression or even suicide. They found that 10 to 40 percent of patients will experience pain after surgery. Dr. Cox and the participating chiropractors performed chiropractic distraction spinal manipulation on patients and were pleased to record 81 percent of these patients experienced more than a 50 percent relief in pain.
Chiropractic distraction spinal manipulation is a method aided by an instrument called a transducer, which helps teach doctors how much force to apply. Dr. Cox noted that the transducer is valuable because one of the hardest things with this method of spinal manipulation is teaching doctors how much force to apply to a joint.
Dr. Norman Kettner – Pain & The Brain
The Oration concluded with Dr. Kettner addressing the human brain and the importance of understanding the brain’s adaptation to chronic pain. He described the models of functional brain dynamics, reviewed the dynamics of nociceptive and anti-nociceptive peripheral and central networks, provided an overview of the techniques of functional neuroimaging and examples of data demonstrating how neuroplasticity of chronic pain may be modified by interventions such as acupuncture and spinal manipulation.
Dr. Kettner stressed the importance of understanding the biopsychosocial model which combines anatomic, physiologic and psychosocial patient-doctor interactions. “We will fail unless we integrate this principle into education and clinical practice,” he said. “It’s the integrative relationships between networks of molecules, cells, systems and the psychosocial dimensions that is more important than the individual components.”
Over the years, Dr. Kettner has authored numerous publications in the field of chiropractic radiology and functional neuroimaging including prestigious journals such as Brain, NeuroImage, Human Brain Mapping and Pain.