Turning The Table

Advanced treatments alleviate neck, shoulder and back pain.

Deanna Kniola

With a boost from ESPN, which contracted to televise six tournaments a year across a new channel devoted largely to niche sports, the Women’s Professional Billiards Association reached a peak in popularity in the mid-1990s.

Deanna Kniola was among those who rode along on the ride to the top.

A self-proclaimed tomboy who found her niche beating the boys in pool, Deanna joined the WPBA tour in 1991 and, with the exception of one year in 1993, spent the rest of the decade touring the world as a pro.

“I competed in 9-ball on tour,” says Deanna, now 53. “I also played straight pool and 8-ball in one-off tournaments away from the tour and eventually reached the top 20 in the world. It was a pretty good living.”

Was is the operative word there. Deanna was eventually forced to give up her pool-playing career, in part because of the back and neck injuries sustained during a car accident a couple years after she turned pro. She was forced to leave the tour for a year, and while she rehabilitated well enough to resume her career in 1994, the rigors of tournament play and traveling forced her to shut it down for good in 1999.

“I was asked to come back in 2000, but I decided to retire because as a pro the tournaments you’re playing in are five-day, double-elimination events,” Deanna explains. “And, of course, you need to travel to wherever the tournament is.

“So you’re in a different bed each week, which didn’t help, and you’re in different cities with different climates and different humidity levels, and all that affected the areas of my neck and back that were hurt in the crash.”

Deanna says that her neck and back pain often radiated into her shoulders and was sometimes so intense she was left “immobile.” She eventually sought professional help for the problem, but nothing alleviated the agonizing discomfort.

“I tried everything I could think of to remedy this problem,” Deanna laments. “I tried traditional chiropractic care and physical rehabilitation. I even tried acupuncture. Nothing worked. And the older I got, the more the pain increased.

“It’s not just about reacting to a problem. You can take the initiative to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.” – Dr. Hunte

“I reached a point a couple of years ago where I was in acute pain all the time. There were days where I literally could not move without experiencing pain. I couldn’t get dressed or undressed without being in pain and I couldn’t sleep at night.

“One day this past December, I was speaking at a symposium where I met Dr. Hunte. The more he told me about his practice the more fascinated I became with what he does and his approach to rehabilitative medicine.”

Dr. Hunte is Bryan T. Hunte, DC of Advanced Spineworks in Bonita Springs, where he and his staff take “a highly scientific approach” to chiropractic care and physical rehabilitation.

“That’s what makes our facility unique,” Dr. Hunte says. “We don’t just stop at relieving someone’s pain. We focus on the corrective phase of care using equipment that cannot be matched by traditional approaches.

“This corrective phase of care is what restores the musculature around the injured area. When the musculature is restored, the patient experiences relief. And the equipment we use has a unique way of restoring this support even in the most severe of cases.”

Unique, Nonsurgical Device

Impressed by what she learned of Dr. Hunte’s practice, Deanna made an appointment to visit Advanced Spineworks for the first time in February. As he does with all new patients, Dr. Hunte began with a thorough examination.

“She came in with debilitating neck pain, bilateral tingling, and numbness in her arms and middle back pain,” Dr. Hunte reports. “The two areas we needed to address were her neck and middle back, so I suggested we start by testing her on the MCU machine.”

The MCU, or Multi-Cervical Unit, is a nonsurgical device that not only diagnoses weaknesses in the neck but also restores neck strength and balance through a specified workout regimen that is designed around the results.

Used in what doctors refer to as evidence-based medicine, the MCU records 16 different ranges of muscle movement for strength to determine the specific areas of the neck where weaknesses or imbalances are present and where there is a loss in range of motion.

The results of the MCU test done on Deanna revealed that she had several areas of weakness in her neck that were the primary cause of pain.

“Dr. Hunte said, “The pain you’re feeling is because there’s no strength in your neck muscles to hold up your head,” Deanna recalls. “He said my head was actually crushing my neck and that was causing the pain to radiate into my shoulders, arms and back.”

Based on the test results, Dr. Hunte recommended treatment on the MCU machine, which uses the data it produces to create a customized treatment program that strengthens and balances the neck muscles and corrects the underlying cause of the patient’s pain.

A typical course of therapy on the MCU consists of 27 sessions over nine weeks. During that period, the patient is tested three times and the treatment is adjusted based on the test results.

“It’s not just about reacting to a problem. You can take the initiative to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.” – Dr. Hunte

“We needed to stabilize Deanna’s neck and see where that brought us,” Dr. Hunte says. “But because she was also experiencing so much pain and discomfort in her middle back, I treated her using another one of our unique devices, the Eccentron™.

The Eccentron is a negative-resistance device on which a patient performs leg exercises that improve strength, balance and endurance. Like the MCU, it assesses the patient’s progress throughout the course of the workout and provides objective data.

An Eccentron program consists of 30 minutes of strength training. During that time the patient plays a game on a computer screen that results in the patient performing up to 670 repetitions that stimulate atrophied muscles and reconnects them to the nervous system.

The Sooner the Better

With the Eccentron workouts building up her middle and lower back and the MCU building up her neck muscles, Deanna began to notice a dramatic change in her physical status after only a few sessions.

Treatment on the MCU machine and Eccentron has allowed Deanna to resume her active lifestyle, which now includes riding motorcycles.

By the time she completed her regimen, Deanna was virtually pain-free. Now, not only is she playing pool again, she’s riding motorcycles, and she has resumed the active lifestyle that she prefers.

“The treatments I received on the MCU machine and Eccentron were amazing,” Deanna raves. “I no longer have any neck pain or pain going through my shoulder, arms and back, so I can work out with weights and resistance bands again.

“These treatments have given me back my life! I have only great things to say about Dr. Hunte and the work he does. I wouldn’t be doing all the things I’m doing right now were it not for him and the MCU machine and Eccentron. I definitely recommend them.”

Dr. Hunte recommends treating issues such as those experienced by Deanna sooner rather than later. People experiencing neck, shoulder, arm and back pain can save themselves years of suffering by addressing their pain issues sooner.

“If you’re someone like Deanna who has been in an accident or you’re experiencing neck, shoulder, arm and back pain, don’t wait a lifetime to address those issues,” he says. “Addressing these kinds of issues when you’re younger is so much easier.

“The sooner you address a weakness in your neck the better your structure is going to be later on. And that better structure will help prevent painful episodes from occurring in the first place. So there’s a preventative element to these treatments.

“It’s not just about reacting to a problem. You can take the initiative to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.”

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    • Advanced Spineworks

      Advanced Spineworks multidisciplinary approach using chiropractic and physical rehabilitation makes them your one-stop source for effective pain relief, rehabilitation and results. Whether you are dealing with back pain, neck pain, headache or a... Read More

    • Bryan T. Hunte, DC

      Bryan T. Hunte, DC, is a sports medicine specialist and chiropractor with more than 15 years of experience. He earned his undergraduate degree in fitness and cardiac rehab/exercise science and biology from Ithaca College. He received his Do... Read More