Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Little-Known Chiropractic Treatment Saves Man's Life
The picture above is of James Tomasi, Laurie Degroote and Myself.
By BRIANNE SANCHEZ
September 23, 2009
After 12 years of living with debilitating pain in his face, James Tomasi decided to kill himself.
The former pastor from Oklahoma City, Okla., never understood what compelled men to jump from windows and take their own lives until he was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia (TN), a notoriously painful nerve disorder that causes sudden shock-like facial pains, typically near the nose, lips, eyes or ears.
"It's like being Tasered in the face," Tomasi said of the condition, which, for him, started after a root canal and continued off and on for more than a decade.
Medication didn't work. Neither did having all of his teeth pulled. Prayer wasn't healing him and a $40,000 surgery that couldn't guarantee a cure was out of the question.
Tomasi lost hope. He was frightened, discouraged and debilitated by a pain that forced him to become a recluse, spending two years in a darkened room. The only relief he was certain of would come through death.
"I began to see that I could take control of my life again," Tomasi said in a phone interview from his home. "All I had to do was kill myself and the pain would be gone. When you're hurting so bad, all of a sudden those thoughts make sense."
He decided to end it all on a Tuesday evening in February of 1997, using the pistol he kept near his bedside for protection. But, unaware of her husband's suicide plan, Tomasi's wife, Rhonda, scheduled him for an appointment that Tuesday morning at a local upper cervical chiropractic clinic.
For Tomasi, the upper cervical treatment, a gentle form of chiropractic that focuses on correcting a small misalignment of the upper neck, was a life-saving solution. He walked out of the office feeling relief, and after several visits was pain-free. Since then, the Tomasis have dedicated their lives to raising awareness of upper cervical care through speaking engagements all over the country.
On Friday, at the invitation of Ames-based upper cervical chiropractors Dr. Barbara Read, of Read Health Center and Dr. Zachary Ward of Ward Chiropractic Group, Tomasi will tell his story at the Hickory's Hall Banquet and Events Center in Ames.
Although only a small selection of the population is affected by TN, advocates of upper cervical care believe the technique is beneficial for people with a wide range of chronic symptoms, from asthma to fibromyalgia. "I want to help people who ask, 'Is there a way out of this?" Tomasi said. "This perhaps will give them hope."
Seven members of the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA) practice in Iowa.
"We address the entire spine from the upper cervical area (between the head and neck)," said Deb Sesker, of Balance First Chiropractic Center in West Des Moines. "We don't focus on a complaint as much as structural realignment. We know that structure relates to function and function is controlled by the nervous system."
A NUCCA correction involves an analysis to determine if the patient's head is sitting at the proper angle and if a patient's weight is distributed evenly. Doctor Sesker said that the process begins by checking the patient's "postural distortion," or how far the body is out of alignment. An X-Ray of the head and neck is also taken to determine the angle of correction. Unlike stereotypical chiropractic techniques, there is no thrusting adjustment. The patient lies down and the doctor applies a light, targeted touch behind the ear. A post-procedure X-ray shows the new, realigned position of the body.
"I want to open up the awareness of the power of upper cervical chiropractic," event co-organizerRead said.