Anita Farnsworth, Westport, Age 94
I have been seeing Dr. Joe and Dr. Carolyn for decades, but my confidence in chiropractic care began at the youthful age of nine. At the time, I fell victim to pneumonia, and after weeks of medical interventions and an emergency physician visit at 1AM one dreadful night, I was told there was nothing more that could be done—the doctor was certain I would not make it through the week. The next morning, my grandmother came and took me to my first chiropractic visit. She was willing to try any intervention at this point. After my first chiropractic adjustment, immediately my condition improved. I continued to see chiropractors throughout my life, with no two doctors having the same approach, but they have all helped. When I was older, I contracted a similar form of pneumonia after moving to Florida—the air was thicker than my body could handle down there. Without question, I drove to the nearest chiropractor and began adjustments. My condition improved instantly, yet again. I am now 94 years old, and I see Dr. Joe at least once a week. I appreciate Dr. Joe’s gentle approach and his ability to work with patients of all ages. I swear by chiropractic care, and I am certain it has saved my life at least twice.
Laura Steenburg, Wesport, Age 63
I was unable to walk for three long years. Within this period of time, I sought care under orthopedic doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, sometimes with twice-weekly appointments. Unable to walk, I had difficulty in standing and performing daily routines. I was forced to furnish my home with various handicap aids in order to be safe. I had diminished stamina and heightened brain fog. My condition was so devastating that doctors suspected I had Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I became dejected, assuming this was virtually the end of my life, unable to do much for myself anymore. As a massage therapist and someone interested in healing, I was ecstatic when I discovered Dr. Joe because his level of care and knowledge exceeds ANY other chiropractor I’ve ever visited, in 40 years of experience. Dr. Joe gave me hope, having faith that ALL of my health issues could be improved. After regular initial visits, I slowly cleared from the brain fog, gradually found my stamina increasing, and found myself able to stand and walk without assistance. I stopped crashing into things and falling. I went from almost fully disabled back to full health in a matter of a few months under Dr. Joe’s care. Previously, I have recommended my clients to chiropractors often and have NEVER seen fast and long-lasting results like what he achieves. Additionally, his own joyful zest for people and for life is utterly infectious. This is a very good man, a skillful healer, and a person with a kind and compassionate soul. If you’re not already going to Dr. Joe, please call me, because I will do my best to talk you into it, that is, if health and joy and happiness are your goals.
Jane Limberis, Plattsburgh, Age 71
I suffered for years with back and right shoulder pain. I was unable to take deep breaths, and I could not move without being in pain. In an attempt to improve my condition, I did physical therapy, holistic therapies, and saw other chiropractors. No therapy had a positive impact on improving my overall health. I was losing out on time with my family as a result, unable to participate in many activities due to the pain I was experiencing. I started seeing Dr. Joe, and he was able to help me in a way no other doctor could match. He was receptive to my pain, gentle in his care, and caring in his demeanor. Now, I can breathe and move without pain. His magic touch has changed my life for the better. Everybody should have a Dr. Joe! He’s my miracle man!
Mike Thibodeau, Champlain, Age 61
After slipping off a piece of machinery on the farm, leaving me barely able to walk, I ventured to the hospital where they pumped me full of muscle relaxers and told me I would need back surgery to fix my problem. I was unable to work and could not even get in my vehicle by myself. My wife and I discussed the hospital’s diagnosis and decided it was not our only option. When we had lived in Texas years before, I hurt my back there, as well, but I sought out the care of a chiropractor before going to a medical doctor, and I was back on my feet almost immediately. I felt chiropractic care was worth a try, once again, rather than subjecting myself to a surgical procedure that might be unnecessary. We decided to call Adirondack Family Chiropractic soon after my visit to the hospital, and they got me in immediately. Drs. Joe and Carolyn explained I had neglected my spine for years through the manual labor required of my occupation, but they also explained I did not need surgery. Receiving regular adjustments, it took only a few weeks before I knew I was getting better, and after only a couple of months, I was able to reach a point where I was no longer in pain. After experiencing such dramatic results, my wife began seeing the Drs. Clauss to help with headaches and her hips, which have always given her problems. We also brought our young children there, one who had chronic ear infections that soon disappeared altogether after regular chiropractic adjustments. After 20 years with Drs. Joe and Carolyn, we could not be happier with them as our chiropractors and health care providers. They are a very caring husband and wife team, and they continue to keep my family healthy.
Joseph Belli, Retired Middle Manager, Peru, Age 76
Thirty years ago I was 46 years old, lying on the floor in devastating pain. The pain was so overwhelming, I didn’t know if I could live with it much longer. A friend referred me to Dr. Joe, and the very first day I went to his office, I was angry sitting in his waiting room–I was surrounded by all of these people who were in good moods, laughing and smiling. I couldn’t understand how they could all be so happy when I was in misery; it wasn’t fair. After a few weeks, however, I began to understand why those in his waiting room behave as they do. In the beginning, I needed to see him twice a week, but I soon got the visits down to twice a month as the pain became more tolerable. You see, I was seeing physicians my whole life who were masking the pain with drugs. The thing is, pain is there to let you know something is wrong. What do we do to anything else in life when it’s broken? We don’t say the engine’s too loud and put on ear muffs! No! We fix the darn engine! After a short time under Dr. Joe’s care, I realized all I really needed to manage my pain was to see a chiropractor who actually had an interest in correcting my health issues, not providing me with a set of ear muffs. I’m now 76 years old, and I’m in better health and better shape than I was 30 years ago. People often ask me why I’ve seen a chiropractor for so many years–30 years is a long time. They say chiropractic must not work if I’ve continued my care for so long. Those people must not own a car, or they must not have anything in their lives that ages. If they did, they would realize everything needs a good tune up, and if you care for the things you cherish, they will be around for many years to come. I’ve got many more years left in me, and with consistent tune ups under Dr. Joe’s care, I plan to be one of the people smiling in his office into my 90s!
Renee Pelkey, High School Counselor, Cadyville, Age 39
My unborn baby was diagnosed at my OB office as breach. I did not want to have a version done to turn my baby, as our family believes in natural interventions, such as chiropractic care and Young Living Essential Oils, which I had already been using to help turn her. Our entire family of six sees Dr. Joe regularly, so during a routine visit I asked if there was something he could do to help our baby turn more naturally. He explained he is certified in the Webster technique, a specific sacral adjustment to help facilitate the mother’s pelvic alignment and nerve system function, which in turn balances pelvic muscles and ligaments, reducing torsion to the uterus. Dr. Joe was extremely supportive in our holistic approach! He adjusted me and then applied the Webster technique, which was quite an incredible experience! That evening, I could feel a lot of movement from the baby. About a week later, I went in for my OB appointment and had another sonogram. She was HEAD DOWN! I can’t tell you the relief our family felt knowing we had made the right decision in getting our baby to flip naturally! I have already had four successful vaginal deliveries. There was no way I was looking forward to a C-Section for baby five! Thanks to Dr. Joe, we will experience another more natural birth!
Anna Nardelli, Retired Educator, Plattsburgh, Age 81
My spinal discs in my neck and back are out of line, causing me to suffer from severe lower back and neck pain. Doctors prescribed pain pills and muscle relaxants, but these were not helpful because they masked the pain instead of treating the problem. I soon became discouraged, thinking I would live with this pain indefinitely, and I was hesitant about engaging in exercising, socializing, or even traveling to visit with family members. I was especially missing precious time with my grandchildren! Medicating my pain wasn’t working for me, nor did I feel it was the right path for me, so I decided to try chiropractic care. When I first met Dr. Carolyn, she made me feel that she was sincerely interested in my well-being—she did not like seeing me in such discomfort. After some quick x-rays, Dr. Carolyn shared her findings and concerns with me, and from the moment we had this conversation, I knew my problems could be resolved without medication! I finally met someone who cared about correcting the problem, not simply masking it. Early in my treatments we met approximately twice a week, and she was responsive to my pain, tenderly working on my lower back and neck. After a short period of time, I was so delighted to realize I was able to begin doing “normal” activities again—exercising, walking, household chores, and sleeping. This has all seemed like a miracle! I had the good fortune of working with Dr. Joe, also. There really are not adequate descriptors for these incredible professionals. They are outstanding in their field. The Clauss team is inspiring!
There’s never a bad time for an adjustment–just ask Brooke Townsend! Before exchanging vows, Brooke enjoyed the calming benefits of a chiropractic adjustment. She felt energized, renewed, de-stressed, and ready to enjoy one of the best moments of her life! Dr. Joe makes your health HIS priority, going out of his way to provide adjustments whenever and wherever he can!
Lynne Goepper, Retired Counselor, Willsboro, Age 78
Yes, you can benefit from chiropractic care even after having neck or back surgery! In August of 2014 I was in a life-altering accident that broke my neck–crushing my second, third and fourth vertebrae–and almost rendered me unconscious. I was rushed to the hospital, where they inserted two metal bars in my neck, one with two screws, another with three. Later that month, my husband and I celebrated 50 years of marriage, but he passed soon thereafter, leaving me in a difficult position. I was terribly confined and limited in my ability to do anything, which would not have been as trying with my husband around to aid me with my struggles. My friends continued to be a wonderful support system, but I could not allow myself to become reliant upon them. I was not their responsibility. I was placed in physical therapy until February, and my condition was slowly improving, but my benefit coverage began to run out, leaving me with a $200 bill per visit if I decided to continue my care. This was not a realistic option in my life. My friend had been asking me to see Dr. Joe for months, and one day I agreed, thinking I must be out of alignment after suffering such injuries. The transformation that overcame me whilst under Dr. Joe’s care has been remarkable. I have many “loose-ended nerves” as a result of my accident, and sometimes I will scream if people so much as touch me–physical therapy wasn’t able to improve this element of my condition. Now that I see Dr. Joe weekly, the pain is nowhere near as significant as it had been. What I am most thankful for being under Dr. Joe’s care is his caring demeanor, his commitment to improving my overall health, and his desire and drive to go out of his way to ensure I am receiving the best care possible. He spoke with a variety of doctors and neurologists of his own volition to validate the surgeries I underwent. He is looking out for what is best for his patients!
Tina Ryan, Beekmantown, Age 50
I suffered from awful migraines after experiencing a mild stroke and brain aneurysm in 2006. Most days, I kept myself shut up in my room with the curtains drawn, to keep out the oppressive light that further intensifies my migraines. Simple tasks were exhausting, and I rarely left my room due to the pain and fatigue, which was difficult as I was someone used to being always on-the-go. I was desperate to improve my condition, and after much prodding and some serious persuasion by my husband, who sees Dr. Joe for his own ailments, I reluctantly agreed to try chiropractic therapy. I walked into Dr. Joe’s office convinced chiropractic care could not help improve my overall health and walked out of my first appointment adamant that this type of care was not for me. That is, until my husband encouraged me to return. After a brief chat with Dr. Joe, who explained that results take effect over time, I decided to give chiropractic another chance. In only a couple of weeks, I could not believe the positive changes I experienced. When I do get a migraine, which is not as common, they are more tolerable. The renewed energy I now possess is by far the greatest gift! I am able to go out for hours now and live my life without sitting alone in the dark all the time, waiting for the pain to subside. I planted flowers this year and finally had the energy to reorganize my home! I went from never wanting to enter a chiropractor’s office to loving and looking forward to my visits with Dr. Joe!
Glenn Gentiles, Retired Military, Cadyville, Age 33
I was injured in combat in 2006, which left me with debilitating pain I masked with narcotics for over eight years. Even after seeing over 30 doctors and therapists, I was unable to participate and take pleasure in activities I had once enjoyed–hiking, playing sports, enjoying the outdoors with my children. The most insignificant physical activity aggravated my body, elevating my pain and causing intense mood swings. I became detached from friends and family, as I was unable to leave my home due to the pain I endured. When I started seeing Dr.Joe, my pain began to subside. After only a few months, I was able to wean myself off of my pain and nerve meds, which I had relied on for almost a decade. I am now able to do more with less pain; some pain still lingers, but then I see Dr. Joe and it diminishes. Dr. Joe has enabled me to play an active role in my family’s life once again. He has changed my life for the better.
Travis Doner, Pre-sell Account Manager, Age 25
I was suffering from TMJ for two weeks. My jaw would pop and crack, and when it did release, I would be in extreme pain. It was painful to eat anything. Occasionally, when I would to talk it would pop and lock up; yawning was absolutely dreadful and unbelievably painful. When the pain was no longer tolerable, I went to my primary care doctor, who took X-rays and blood work, but I was just prescribed an anti-inflammatory and told to avoid chewy foods. I was told of a TMJ specialist in VT, whom my girlfriend saw for this same issue. Her experience with the specialist was very time-consuming–many times she would have to take the day off from work to drive to VT just to have a 10-minute checkup then drive home. Due to my work schedule, I can’t take off multiple days per month to go see someone, so I was out of luck there. That is, until I started seeing Dr. Joe! I thought his approach was perfect. I noticed a change after only TWO visits. My jaw feels 10 times better and it doesn’t pop or grind any longer. I have decided to continue seeing Dr. Joe, and even my back feels better! Seeing Dr. Clauss saved me a ton in fuel, ferry tickets, and time. I’m glad I went to see him rather than go the other route. I highly recommend chiropractic therapy as an option everyone should look into before loading up on pills and traveling anywhere to see a “specialist.” I never would have thought chiropractic care would solve this problem, but I was turned into a believer!
Jessica DeMorris, Real Estate, New York, Age 26
I had been suffering from migraine headaches, blurry vision, and an overall feeling of being unwell for over ten years. Before seeing Dr. Joe, I would wake up every morning feeling stiff and achy. I had seen neurologists and optometrists for my vision problems and migraines, with my vision prescription changing every three months. The neurologists could find no reason for my symptoms, yet my eyesight and migraines kept getting worse. I felt there was always something “wrong” with me. I was not enjoying life fully, neglecting time with family and friends because I was too busy not being well. The migraines I experienced had caused me to call out of work a number of times. I tried chiropractic treatment in the past, but the doctors I saw always left me feeling worse after their “adjustments” than when I first arrived at the office, already in pain. Enter Dr. Joe! Dr. Joe took no hesitation in giving me the adjustment I so desperately needed. After the first adjustment I could see more clearly! My headache was instantly gone. My entire body felt as if it had been revved up to high gear. I suffered for ten years, and all I needed was Dr. Joe’s care! Now, I have more energy, my vision has been restored, and I have not had a single headache since the adjustment. I am convinced 100% that chiropractic care is the ONLY treatment that can restore my health.
Roger Connor, Manual Labor, Age 53
I have had on-going back issues for about five years, and working in manual labor has further aggravated my pain. When I was younger, I was involved in a couple of vehicle accidents, which has also exacerbated my current issues. I went to a few doctors before seeing Dr. Joe, but I was never satisfied with the treatment I received, nor was I impressed with the staff. Since beginning my care under Dr. Joe, I have been feeling better after each visit. He has far and away exceeded the care I received under other doctors. He listens and is receptive to my concerns before treating me. Through his techniques, he has allowed me to carry on in a productive way that is pain free! I now have the strength to keep working, which is vital to my livelihood. I know I made the right choice in chiropractors when I chose Dr. Joe. Thanks for the great service you and your staff provide–you are all beyond professional in all aspects of the chiropractic field!
Sandy Vann, CVES, Saranac
For years, I have had shock-like pains radiate from my neck, through my ears, up to my head. The pain and migraines I suffer during these episodes is debilitating. I decided to seek out medical attention in hopes of identifying and remedying the issue; however, according to my nerve study, there was nothing wrong with the nerves in my neck. My gut, and the agonizing pain that jarred me awake in the middle of the night, had me convinced otherwise. I was a reluctant chiropractic patient at first, having been scarred by past experiences that were too aggressive for my comfort level. After being upfront with Dr. Joe about my anxiety, his easy-going personality and warm demeanor allowed me to feel more comfortable and confident in pursuing my care. Dr. Joe took x-rays and talked me through the films using language to which I could relate. He explained I was in phase four of subluxation degeneration, having endured the condition for most of my life without correction. But there was still hope! I started going twice per week for a little while, and during this time I began to trust him. He did not approach me aggressively, being receptive to my anxieties about my previous experience. My pain began to be less frequent, allowing me to receive only weekly adjustments, but I go faithfully, fearing the pain will return if I allow my spine to get too far out of alignment. Before Dr. Joe, every night was a bad night, but under his care, I have only one or two bad nights per week, not seven. I have even been able to wean myself off of my sleep medication as a result of the progress I’ve made. Thank you, Dr. Joe! I love what you’ve done for me, and now I look forward to my adjustments! Sandy Vann, Saranac
Elena Normandin, Dairy Farmer, Ellenburg Center:
My sciatic pain began in January with pain radiating from my lower back down my right side. I was only able to alleviate some of the pain by laying on the floor. Resting, let alone sleeping, was almost impossible, and I needed to supplement with ibuprofen every four hours in order to endure the discomfort. I became less able to work on my farm, and I could no longer participate in one of my favorite hobbies–horseback riding. I initially saw a different chiropractor, which helped for a little while, but when I switched to Dr. Joe I felt more confident in my care–right from the beginning he said he could help me, having relieved the pain of myriad patients who suffer from sciatica. His office staff is great, too, which is also an important part of the entire package. It is now July, and I am happy to say I am living a better life. I am able to ride my horse again and do my work on the farm as I did before the sciatica became so debilitating. I’m so glad I made the decision to see Dr. Joe. Thank you, Dr. Joe! You’re my hero!
My journey to healing has been very roundabout.
In early spring of 2011, I began to feel unwell. I had more headaches than usual, I felt tingling in my head, dizziness and a feeling of tipping to the left. I couldn’t put my finger on what could be wrong and this led to anxiety. My anxiety led to panic, and before I knew it, I was at our (at the time) general practitioner’s office and she was shaking her head at me. Telling me nothing was wrong and that, in her opinion, I had anxiety disorder. I was told that if I didn’t get a grip on my anxiety, I would be at risk for ulcers, high blood pressure, and numerous other conditions. She sent me home to try relaxation techniques, see a therapist, and consider medication. I’m ashamed to say, the seed was planted. I felt broken. I hurt, I was constantly dizzy, and I was being told it was all in my head.
I went through the next few months taking Tylenol, trying to breathe and feeling like they were missing something horribly wrong, the anxiety elevated. Now on top of my regular symptoms, I shook. I had moments where I felt like my throat was tightening up, my hands were falling asleep, and my mind would often be so gripped in fear that I couldn’t even speak.
I went and saw a therapist. After four consecutive weekly visits, he still didn’t know my name. I had to keep reminding him over and over again why I was there. On the fourth and final visit, he confused me with another patient named Vanessa, and sat me down to break the news that he was going to have to report my DUI to the DMV. I had no DUI. My eyes filled with tears and I stood up, trying to speak through the lump in my throat. He didn’t even know who I was after 4 visits. I felt alone and out of control. Around July 1st I went back to the doctor and, this time, I started to cry in her office. I didn’t feel well, yet she said I was physically healthy. She convinced me to try Celebrex. I was failing as a mother and my work was slacking and I was convinced that drugs would be my cure all.
That night, I had a nightmare and tossed and turned all night. The next day, I couldn’t eat and my anxiety was through the roof. Before the drugs I had anxiety off and on all day, now it was 24/7. Three days in and I was eating barely anything. I was having panicky out bursts where I thought I might drop dead and I’d had two disturbing night mares; in the first one I gave away my children, and in the second one I took a bottle full of pills. After that night, I actually wanted to die. When I went back to the doctor and told her what I was going through, she doubled my dosage. Things got worse, time became a blur and after a few more days I found myself having a breakdown in the emergency room. By then I was such a mess that they thought I was suicidal drug abuser and I was admitted to the MHU.
I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, OCD, panic disorder, depression and agoraphobia. I was so heavily drugged that I didn’t even realize that I was being given a blood test. I didn’t want to live anymore. I didn’t want to return to my children like this. My friends and family called and I couldn’t talk to them. I felt like my life was slipping away and I just wanted, more than anything, to either die, or go back to the hardworking, upbeat mother I was before.
I begged to be taken off the meds and, I started refusing the sleeping pills and Ativan. I was told that I had a bad reaction to the Celebrex and should try Paxil. I was taken off everything for one day as part of the transition. In that one day, I ate, I showered and I consoled the other patients. My husband visited me that night and I was smiling and happy. The next day I started the Paxil, that day I stopped eating and sleeping entirely. My husband returned that night to find me worse than I had ever been. His eyes welled up with tears and, at one point, I’m not sure when because this timeline is still quite a blur to me, he took my nurse into the hallway to have an intense discussion about why I looked better without the drugs, but they still insisted I needed them. He was frustrated and I was gripped with too much anxiety to care. I ended up demanding early release from the MHU because I missed my kids and just wanted to go home.
At home, I continued the Paxil, much to my husband’s dismay, and continued to get sicker. I was having many out bursts a day. I wasn’t sleeping or eating, I’d lost 10lbs putting me at just 103 lbs and I was having clashing feelings in my head from no sleep. My husband called the MHU to speak to the psychiatrist there about my situation. He said that if I didn’t get sleep, I would need to be readmitted. I was on day 7 of no sleep and minimal food (applesauce and nutritional drinks that my husband was forcing on me) and water. That night I was given Tylenol PM. I didn’t fall asleep, yet I looked asleep and couldn’t move. I desperately slurred to my husband that my mind was still racing and not shutting off at all, but I was unable to move, I was terrified. My husband called my parents and all three sat over me all night. I still remember the look of horror on my mother’s face as she sat next to me awake all night, patting my hair.
That was it for me. The next day I destroyed everything, every pill, every phone number, everything. I forced myself to eat, and to interact with my children for the first time in three weeks. By August 1st I was improving but still my old symptoms remained. For the next 9 months I put on a happy face, took Tylenol and got through each day trying to prove I was sane, and wondering each day, what the point was. Was this just life?
Early in May of 2012, I was online on Google searching my symptoms for the millionth time and came across someone who was just like me. Only instead of drugs this person turned to chiropractic care and was doing great. I was skeptical, but desperate. I went in to see Dr. Joe and on the very first visit he said “I can help you, it’s not in your head” my neck was seriously out of line, but could be fixed. I went home and cried. For the first time in over a year someone saw the problem as something real and was willing to help me. Over the first couple weeks of adjustments an amazing thing started to happen. Every few days I’d get a good day. No headaches, less dizziness, clear focus. The first time it happened I spent that day periodically crying, both excited for a positive change and nervous that it would not last. I had a few setbacks, but my one good day a week stayed constant. Soon it became one great day with several not so bad days. As time passed and my body healed the scale began to tip, and the good days out numbered the bad. My anxiety began to have enormous gaps, my headaches minimized and my dizziness began to fade.
I’ve been seeing Dr. Joe for over a year now and I feel incredible. My bad days still come, but only about once a month or so, and I think that my idea of “bad” is now much less severe than before. Good health is turning me into somewhat of a wimp, so while I still complain on those bad days, I know in my heart that they are nothing compared to what I’ve been through. I have energy now and a sense of well being. I know my life has purpose and that pain is not normal and dizziness is not in my head (well it is, but it is also real).
I will always be thankful for coming across that article and for meeting Dr. Joe, without him and chiropractic care, I cringe to think of where I would be now. I can’t even think about it without deep pains of sadness. Instead, I am happy to be strong and healthier than ever and to be the wife and mom that I want to be.
Whew! I know that this is so much to read, but if it helps even one person it’s all worth it. Just know that there are caring, well educated people out there, like Dr. Joe and Dr. Carolyn, who are willing to help you. A drug “fix” is not the answer, healing is.
Joe and Carolyn,
How can I ever thank you both. I’m convinced you saved my life.
On July 1, 2011 while doing a very deep back bend I heard and felt bones ,in the back of my neck, click and grate. I remember thinking at the time, “that’s going to be a problem,” but even I was unprepared for what followed and am still surprised at how something that seemed relatively small, turned out to be the worst injury I’ve ever sustained.
By July 3rd the headache started, a constant and dull ache. The neck pain began on the 4th two days later I could hardly lift my head off the pillow. Each attempt to pick up my head resulted in blinding pain as I felt the weight of my brain sink onto my brain stem and press onto my spinal column – where waves of pressure and heat radiated down my neck, upper back and through my shoulder blades. If I turned to lay on my right side I could feel the muscles of my left eye pull and if I turned over, the other eye tugged. Lying flat on my back it was impossible to move my eyes to the right or left without pain, all the while the headache growing worse. If I moved my head too quickly I could feel my brain lag behind a second, accompanied by that worrying sensation of your brain banging around inside your skull, which you usually only experience when you knock your head pretty hard. Why was my brain no longer snug inside my head? Was this a migraine? I had a million questions but by July 6th I knew I was in serious trouble and went to the doctor.
I consider myself lucky that my doctor, didn’t start pumping me with pain killers, initially assuming migraine. But rather was immediately suspicious and concerned by the abatement of the pain while lying horizontal as well as the fact that I was ill the week previous with a sore throat and ear ache (what I assumed was mild infection/cold since it cleared up after just two days). He insisted I see a neurologist that day. After a brief exam by the neurologist, a history of the above and him witnessing my obvious pain and debilitating condition, he admitted me into hospital that evening. He took CAT scans, MRI’s, and performed a lumbar puncture to test for meningitis, which was his great concern on hearing about the stiff neck and previous sore throat. When meningitis was ruled out his conclusion was that I had a tear in my Dura. The Dura is the membrane that surrounds the brain, brain stem and the central nervous system inside the spinal column. This slow leak (possibly microscopic) results in reduced pressure of the spinal-cerebral fluid and the brain-drag pain that results is know as Low Pressure Headache Syndrome. This was his best guess after various blood tests and scans; ruling out the more sinister possibilities like cancerous brain tumors, etc.
The ‘cure’ for Low Pressure Headache Syndrome is rest and fluids. This neurologist was very conservative and explained that the body will heal the tear on its own (if it’s not too large – as is usually the case with spontaneous tears or those not caused by outside Intrusion into the membrane). Strict bed rest for up to one month was prescribed, along with a suggestion to take lots of caffeine. I was kept in the hospital for a week getting IV fluids and was sent home with instructions to come back in 20 days. If my condition was not greatly improved, which he expected it to be given the minor nature of the cause of the supposed tear, he would perform a blood patch. This entails taking my own blood, injecting it into my spine in the hope that it would travel around and clot into the tear. Sometimes this procedure has to be performed more than once, and if no joy is had by then, more serious measure would commence….injecting dye into the system to find the site of the leak and potentially, surgery. I believed every word, as I could feel the symptoms for myself. It seemed reasonable and since the initial course of suggested treatment wasn’t radical, why would I doubt the opinion of the neurologist? My husband Stephen, who has a considerable skepticism of the medical profession, insisted on an opinion from Dr. Joe.
By the time Joe was able to get to London, I’d been home from the hospital a further 5 days, my condition worsening each day. I couldn’t get up and was in pain constantly. I could feel all my muscles wasting and couldn’t imagine spending another 15 days lying there with nothing but the specter of permanent disability looming. Joe arrived on July 18th. By then I’d been incapacitated for two weeks, was facing another two+ weeks in the same state – hoping to heal sometime over the next three weeks, but preparing myself for the possibility that this was just the beginning. The mental strain was horrible.
After Joe’s examination, he looked me in the eye, and brimming with that infectious confidence says, “They’re Wrong! You don’t have a tear in your Dura, you have jammed your top vertebrae (C1) and the Atlas/Occipital bones are crushing the nerves that would control and regulate the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. That’s why the pressure is low!” “You won’t need surgery, or a blood patch test – and how ridiculous is the idea of making more holes in your Dura to find a suspected one!” “AND here’s the best part, you won’t need to be in agony for another three weeks, till they start poking around in earnest.” He adjusted me for the first time late Monday night July 18th, and I felt immediately different. I was still in a lot of pain and went to bed. The next morning I knew something was changed, I felt different, better, slightly less pain in the eyes, headache abating. What are the odds that the supposed tear, healed and closed over at the exact moment of Joe’s adjustment? Over the next two days Joe adjusted me pretty regularly and by Wednesday July 20th, I was up and went with him on a mile long walk. Admittedly my head did ache that night but by the weekend I was upright with little pain and confident that I would be 100%. If it hadn’t been for Joe where would I be? What state could any recovery possibly reach so long as those nerves were compressed? Could permanent nerve damage result if no one ever thought to check the alignment of my upper cervicals? What damage could result from radioactive dye or surgery just at my brain stem!
I feel so lucky to have access to the opinions and health care expertise of Joe and Carolyn Clauss. And while Joe was the one that came over for this emergency, it could just as easily have been Carolyn. Indeed I owe her a greater share of thanks- for holding down the fort at their incredibly busy practice, juggling the care of her amazing family and all the while advising me on nutrition, supplements and sending me her positive, healing love – which if you know Carolyn at all, is considerable. A similar miracle was performed 4 years ago with my husband Stephen, which is how we came to know the Clausses.
Suffice it to say, I will always remain,
Your ever grateful friend,