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bad orthotics

Posted by BarbP on 12/14/04 at 08:00 (165604)

My chiropractor sold me $350 orthotics in June and told me they would reduce the amount of adjustments I need for my back. He elevated the left orthotic to level my hips from scoliosis. 2 weeks after I started wearing them I suffered from a herniated disc. I have a long history of low back trouble, nothing as bad as what I just experienced, so there was no telling if the orthotics were the cause. He insisted that I needed to wear them all the time to recover. I've worn them everyday for the last 3 months. Recovery has been slow, but I have been in his office for pain 1-2 times a week. I stopped wearing the orthotics a few days ago when I realized that my health hasn't been the same since I purchased them and am taking the antiinflammatory the orthopedist gave me to recover from the disc problem. I am also taking an antidepressant due to the emotional stress I've endured. I am to embarrassed to tell my orthopedist about the orthotics, plus I am scared of epidural steroid shots and surgery that could follow if I don't recover on my own. Please let me know what you think.

Re: bad orthotics

Richard, C.Ped on 12/14/04 at 08:07 (165605)

I suggest that you tell the orthopedist about your visits to the Chiro, as well as the 'orthotics' he sold you.

I am not a doctor, but everything I learned about orthotics and lifts is that you do not do it for scoliosis. I could be wrong and some cases may be ok to use them. I am going to do some reading on this.

Do tell the orthopedist.

Re: bad orthotics

Julie on 12/14/04 at 09:12 (165607)

Barb, I am sure that Richard is right. I am surprised that your chiropractor prescribed orthotics with a heel elevation for someone with scoliosis. When one hip is higher than the other due to a genuine leg length discrepancy, a lift can help. When the cause of the imbalance is scoliosis, a lift is very likely to make matters worse. If you think about it, it's obvious that shoving the hip higher is going to push the spine even further out of line. In your case, as you have a history of low back trouble (doubtless also related to the scoliosis) the elevation was enough to push that disc over the edge.

You should certainly tell the orthopedist about what has happened. Don't be embarrassed: he needs to know. Discs do heal: don't assume that you are going to need injections (though they can help) or surgery. If you are in a lot of pain, ask for a heavy duty painkiller to relieve it, especially if it is interfering with your sleep.

And I would be inclined to change chiropractors.

Re: bad orthotics

Kathy G on 12/14/04 at 10:29 (165613)

Good advice, Julie and Richard! A chiropractor shouldn't be giving out lifts and orthotics and you should get a new chiro, Barb. And don't worry about telling your Ortho about going to a Chiro. He's heard of people doing worse, I can assure you. He'll probably shake his head and say, 'Tsk. tsk.' but he won't hold it against you. When one is in pain, one turns to whatever source they think will give them relief. The biggest mistake you can make is not letting him know that you tried a different remedy.

Good luck. I hope you find the right combination of therapy and orthotics that work for you!