Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Dr. Steven Komsky, a Chiropractor, Who Can Help Those Suffering from Headaches & Neck Aches
We are speaking with Dr. Steven Komsky, DC. on how chiropractic adjustments can relieve some of the symptoms such as headaches, neck pain and lack of energy commonly associated with extended sitting at computers.
Tell Us a Story About a Patient with Headaches and How You Helped
Janine, a woman in her mid-forties is an analyst and spends an excessive amount of time on the computer. Three years ago, a friend of hers who is a patient of mine, referred Janine to my office to explore the opportunity of chiropractic adjustments to help with her headaches and tightness in the neck that she had been suffering with since she was a teenager. Not only did Janine have to deal with the excruciating migraines, she also was experiencing a lack of focus and concentration problems, difficulty sleeping and low energy. These symptoms were affecting her productivity at work and interfering with her social engagements as well as her physical exercise regime.
What had the patient tried before seeing you?
Janine had previously sought help from her general practitioner who prescribed medication. The medicine, however, made her groggy and did not do such a good job of addressing her complaints.
She next tried massage therapy which gave her short-term temporary relief of the neck discomfort but nothing else.
How did you arrive at your course of treatment?
In my office, we first sat down with Janine one-on-one and listened intently. This Q & A session is so important since me a lot of information is revealed that I incorporate into the diagnosis and treatment plan.
Janine described her headaches as migraines that lasted from 3 – 5 days on one side of the head. Then occasionally she would have 2-3 days reprieve and then the headache would return on the other side of the head. The intensity was severe and sometimes debilitating where she would have to leave work to go home and lay down in the dark. The pain in the neck was generally in the upper cervical region under the back of the skull and was present at the same time as the headaches.
There was no history of accidents or trauma precipitating the onset of her headaches. She had no extensive dental work. At the time, she followed the Standard American Diet.
During an initial evaluation our focus is to determine if there are any abnormalities with the function and balance of the nervous system, which may be related to / or connected to the patient’s presentation. We perform:
- A computerized spinal nerve assessment
- An autonomic nervous system evaluation
- A stress response evaluation of the brain and central nervous system
This last testing is done, only if determined from the previous tests to be necessary. It can include a brain EEG, heart rate variability and other autonomic nervous system parameters.
I then proceed with physical and neurological examinations followed by radiology of her neck and spine. Physical examination includes evaluation:
- Palpation of the related structures
- Ranges of motion
Janine’s test results showed an unbalanced nervous system. I was able to identify stress deviations from normal, dysfunctional spinal segments accompanying inflammation of the joints and spasms in the muscles.
Please explain the significance of stress deviations and dysfunctional spinal segments
Ideally the nervous system when functioning properly can handle a stressful event – whether it’s a thought, emotion, toxin or trauma – and recover back to base or what science terms homeostasis after the event is over.
Our evaluations can determine where the nervous system deviations have resulted in the inability of the system to return to balance and relax. It will also reveal the pattern that the nervous system is in, i.e. over-aroused, chronically stressed etc.
To borrow a phrase from the Neuroscientists,
“Nerves that fire together will wire together”
Translated, this means that as our bodies are trying to deal with chronic stressors, the brain and nervous system can get rewired out of balance from repeatedly trying to adapt to the stress.
A dysfunctional spinal segment is a segment or vertebrae that is improperly aligned. This can result in joints not performing correctly having abnormal or aberrant motion.
What modalities or therapies did you implement?
From Janine’s evaluation, I utilized a neurologically based chiropractic treatment protocol which gently stimulates the joints and neurological mechano-receptors. This protocol helps relieve the stress on the nervous system and restores function to the joints of the spine, pelvis and cranial bones.
Treatment involved gently adjusting dysfunctional areas in the spine, pelvis and skull utilizing specialized instruments. There is a specific manner, location and order in which the treatments are done that is based on the patient’s individual neurological pattern.
The treatments are designed to restore a more appropriate balance to the nervous system improving its adaptability to stressors while improving the mind-body connection. Think of it as a computer programmer rewriting code that was corrupted to restore the proper performance of the program. Biofeedback and neurofeedback programs can be incorporated as well to enhance and reinforce more appropriately balanced pathways.
What was the course of treatment and what was the outcome of the services you provided?
Janine started noting improvements within the first 2 weeks. Some weeks were better than others (more relief vs. less relief) but it was easier to overcome her challenges. She continued to progress and move forward. The more consistent she was with treatment the better she felt.
The total number of visits for situations like this varies but the duration of active care for Janine was approximately 9 months. After which she followed a wellness protocol. Each patient’s maintenance is individually base on their needs, some are monthly and some are weekly. Janine’s specific maintenance protocol was check-ups every 3 weeks.
Now, three years later, except for occasional flare-ups, Janine no longer suffers from the relentless debilitating migraines and neck pain. For the most part she has been able to return to full participation in any exercise of her choice and resume unrestricted travel.
As a result of this approach Janine experienced improvement in her productivity at work. She was finally getting some good quality sleep and was most pleased that this health enhancement had such a great impact on her social life.
Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?
I just never like taking medication as a child or adult. While going through school my father got injured at work and was helped a lot with chiropractic care. I started to realize that there were other means to help people improve their health besides medicine and surgery. So I decided to learn about it and then pursued it myself.
What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?
In one sentence “never say never” ! I have been practicing since 1990, 30 years now, and I have seen patients improve that you would think were impossible. The human body is capable of amazing things, it just needs the correct environment to achieve them. Everyone needs love, respect and the opportunity to change their health.
I have an undergraduate degree in Biology from State University of New York – Binghamton. Doctorate of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College (now Life University) I have been licensed in New York and Florida.
I live and practice in Tampa Florida. I have advanced training and certifications in Koren Specific Technique, Torque Release Technique and advanced post graduate training in Cox Flexion Distraction Technique.
Steven Komsky D.C.
Burns Family Chiropractic Center
Tampa, Florida United States
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