Relieve Backaches Without Drugs, Surgery

Former soldier, triathlete reclaims his life with chiropractor’s help.

Travis Walker first hurt his back as a young soldier while training at Fort Carson, Colorado in 1998.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Travis Walker

“I was doing a rack run, where you run with a pack on and boots,” he recalls. “I fell into a hole and herniated three discs in my back. I was nineteen years old then and I’m thirty-nine now, so I’ve been dealing with it for about twenty years.”
Travis’ job in the Army was operating a mortar, a weapon that launches explosive projectiles. Because his injury left him unable to lift anything heavier than 15 pounds, he was assigned to the medical unit. Travis spent his days walking around a track when he wasn’t at a chiropractor undergoing a then-experimental therapy called spinal decompression.
“It wasn’t as effective as the stuff I go to now, but it did work,” he recalls. “It took me about six months to fully recover.”
Travis returned to regular duty and was sent to South Korea about 18 months later. There, he hurt his back again during rappelling training. This time, he gutted out the injury so it wouldn’t disqualify him from a three-week stint at Air Assault School, where he learned to transport vehicles by helicopter and rappel out of the chopper.
“It took a lot of hidden tears and much pain to get through it,” Travis acknowledges. “But I knew as soon as I reported the injury, they would’ve taken me out of that school.”
After returning to his unit, Travis limped through and sometimes had to drop out of morning runs. Back to a chiropractor he went, this time for traditional treatments: adjustments, heat therapy and massage.
“I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t get the spinal decompression, but my back has never been right since that second injury,” Travis reports.

More Setbacks, Pain

Travis’ Army career ended after three years of active duty, and he followed that with three years in the National Guard. Getting himself moving in the mornings was challenging, and periodically, he threw his back out and had to see a chiropractor or physical therapist.
Still, he managed to work as a carpenter’s helper, carrying heavy boards and driving stakes into the ground with a sledgehammer, and then built custom sport fishing yachts. He also competed in triathlons and worked out more than 20 hours a week.
Just after Christmas 2014, Travis was taking down his mother’s outdoor holiday decorations when he descended a ladder, bent over – and couldn’t straighten up. He continued to work without seeking treatment until he could no longer crawl around in tight spaces or do other necessary parts of his job.
He had an MRI and spent several weeks with a chiropractor, who ultimately decided he could do nothing more for Travis. Four surgeons recommended an operation, but he rejected that advice despite developing sciatica in both legs and suffering “excruciating” pain. Travis couldn’t work, drive or dress himself without help; he couldn’t walk, sleep, sit or stand comfortably.
“I slept, on average, ten hours a week,” explains Travis, who had become dependent on his girlfriend and family. “I was in very, very bad shape.”
About that time, Travis read about Coastal Health Group, formerly RevitaSpine, on social media and scheduled a free consultation with Jonn McClellan, DC.
“He told me my condition was very far advanced and that if he was going to help me, we literally needed to start treatment immediately,” Travis says. “I had an extrusion, which means the gel inside my herniated disc had shot out and gone down into the space in my hip bones, where the nerves pass through into my legs, and was pinching my nerves.”

Safe, All-Natural Solutions

Dr. McClellan suggested spinal decompression, a drug-free, nonsurgical therapy that reduces disc pressure, relieves nerve root compression, improves blood flow and relaxes muscles by applying controlled, consistent traction force that mimics hands-on therapy.
The Chattanooga Triton DTS® machine gently changed the position of Travis’ spine and relieved the pressure it exerted on itself, allowing his discs to slide back into proper placement. That, in turn, took the pressure off his nerves and promoted the movement of water, oxygen and nutrient-rich fluids into his discs so they could heal.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Spinal decompression helped
Travis overcome a lifetime of back issues.

Travis found overall relief after three months and continued to improve “by leaps and bounds” after each treatment over the next three months. Having completed at least 28 treatments, he was on weekly maintenance sessions and working as a supervisor for a landscaping company when he suffered a “huge setback” in October 2016.
Travis’ pickup fishtailed on wet pavement, hit a wall at 65 mph and flipped.
“The medics asked me six times if I was really the one driving the truck because they couldn’t believe whoever it was had survived, let alone was walking around talking to them,” Travis recounts.
Not only was his back sore again, but now his neck hurt, too, and a pinched nerve rendered his right arm nearly unusable for a couple of weeks.
Once more, Dr. McClellan and spinal decompression helped Travis reclaim his life. Though he improved, he needed additional relief, so Dr. McClellan’s associate, interventional pain specialist Mikhail Artamonov, MD, administered an epidural injection.

Achieving Maximum Benefit

“I’m a big believer in using whatever works,” Dr. McClellan stresses. “I can’t help every patient who walks in my door, and that’s why I partnered with Dr. Artamonov more than a year ago. By blending what we both do, we achieve a greater outcome.”
Coastal Health Group offers other regenerative therapies: stem cells; PRP, or platelet-rich plasma therapy, which involves injecting platelets from the patient’s blood into damaged tissues; and Prolozone®, in which collagen-producing substances and ozone gas are injected to reconstruct connective tissue in and around joints.

“I feel excellent now. . . . The recovery is like night and day.” -Travis

“What we use depends on the patient’s needs,” Dr. McClellan notes.
Travis credits the chiropractor for pushing him beyond his comfort zone to get the epidural, which Dr. McClellan describes as key to Travis’ recovery.
“Dr. McClellan treated me for much longer than most other chiropractors I’ve ever been to, and the reason was because he really cared about getting me better,” Travis observes. “I feel excellent now.
“About two months ago, I was able to run for the first time in about three years, and now I’m up to ten to fifteen miles a week. I go to the gym five days a week, and I just started doing four miles-plus on weekends. The recovery is like night and day.”
Travis isn’t sure whether he’ll return to competing in triathlons the way he once did. If he does, he says, that will be a bonus. “For me,’’ Travis states, “the most important thing is to never go back to having that pain.”

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    • Coastal Health Group

      Coastal Health Group is a total healthcare service which was born out of the idea there must be a better way to deliver high quality medical care. After spending years in the ‘typical medical model’ the physicians of CHG decided to come t... Read More

    • Jonn McClellan, DC

      Jonn McClellan, DC, graduated cum laude with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Life University in Atlanta in 2009. A longtime South Florida resident, he attended Ohio Wesleyan University on an athlete grant for football and intended to p... Read More

    • Mikhail Artamonov, MD

      Mikhail Artamonov, MD, known as “Dr. A,” earned his medical degree at 1st Moscow Medical Sechenov School and a Master’s degree in Oriental Philosophy and Linguistics at Tianjin University in China. He trained in psychiatry at Hannover Medi... Read More