Eric Zack, my 8-year-old son, began seeing Dr. David Spears at Body of Light Family Chiropractic on September 8th of 2004. We met Dr. David at the Lane County Fair at his demonstration booth offering free chiropractic evaluations. Dr. David looked at my other child and found nothing to speak of. He looked at Eric’s posture, neck, back etc., and began to ask me questions…
I had never considered that something that happened at birth would affect my 8-year-old child but it had. I scheduled a follow-up evaluation in the office and filled out the questionnaire on his health that was mailed to me. It read like Eric’s medical record checklist: Assisted birth–YES; chronic ear infections–YES; asthma–YES; allergies–YES; cavities–YES; glasses–YES; trouble sleeping–YES; trouble reading–YES.
The list of my son’s illnesses goes on and on including 6 trips to the emergency room, two hospitalizations, a breathing machine at home, tutoring, glasses, and structured diet. I have heard other parents refer to my son as “delicate” or “sensitive.” We have moved, bought goats, changed our diet and spent many a night with a sick child. I cannot convey to you how many bizarre illnesses he has had: blood born bacterial infection, teenage case of mononucleosis at 4-years-old, fevers that caused hallucinations, tubes in his ears, rotten teeth due to the large amount of antibiotics he took. At 7 he was tested for rheumatoid arthritis due to his medical history and bone spurs which appeared on his heels. All the while, my husband and I wondered, what else can we do to help him?
We had sort of resigned ourselves that Eric was “delicate” and “sensitive.” As he got older and began school, the disappointment for us as parents continued. No matter that we volunteered in the classroom, read to him daily, did everything they say to “give your child a head start in school” we were disappointed. I was told he needed tutoring. He was at “high risk” but fell through the cracks to get help at school. He missed tons of days of school, could not complete assignments on time, and got frustrated to the point of hating himself. It was awful. So $30 per hour tutoring we did. That was not enough.
We took him to the optometrist hoping for someone to explain why life was so hard for Eric. We got an answer, he needed glasses! He had some sort of visual tracking issue that made it difficult for him to focus on anything, especially close up. Being the optimistic parents we were, we were thrilled! But it didn’t help as much as we had hoped. He felt awkward with the glasses on and would forget them; he would just get more irritated and frustrated. I took the summer off. I did not make Eric pick up a book on his own and he was happy.
So about August, I decided that if he could get through school, he had enough great things about him that maybe he would be okay just being a marginal student. Although disappointed, I had resigned myself to that. Then came the Lane County Fair and Dr. David. That was only 2 short months ago. Dr. David met with our whole family and took a complete history of Eric. We saw him 3 times per week for adjustments and have gradually decreased our visits due to Eric’s improvement. Oh yeah, the good part!
We noticed a change in Eric within 2 weeks. He played soccer better, woke up better, was happier. We discussed it and decided to continue because it seemed to be helping him. Now came the first test, flu season. We got through without a hitch. Even my daughter, who never gets sick, got the croup, not Eric! We were amazed. His class was dropping like flies; he did not and has not missed one minute of school yet this year due to illness. Health exam at school came, eyes–perfect, ears–perfect? What? This was too weird, impossible even. So, back to the eye doctor we went to confirm this miracle of modern (or chiropractic) medicine (or lack thereof!).
We all see the same eye doctor and have for 2 years so he knows us pretty well. Likewise, we know him; he is skeptical, analytical and very thorough. I entered the exam room with Eric and did not let on that anything may have changed. After about 5 minutes of examining him, Dr. Cleveland literally scratched his head and looked at me. He stated, “If Eric were seeing me for the first time today, I would not prescribe glasses for him.” I began to tell him about our work with Dr. David and how we had just stopped tutoring for Eric due to his dramatic improvement in reading. Dr. Cleveland told me that given the changes in Eric’s eyes he would expect his reading to improve greatly. He told me that he had never seen such a dramatic improvement in eyes in a child this age! I was shocked, but only for about 2 seconds based on the whole life turnaround Eric has had. I connected the two doctors and they are talking about referrals and producing more clinical data like they saw in Eric. Totally empirical data that shows this treatment works. I was sold! So the next week it was time for yet another test: School Conferences.
Eric’s teacher and I met and she was thrilled. “Eric has improved so much since last spring it is amazing! Look at this.” She proceeded to show me example after example of his miraculous improvement in such a short time. But at this point, I expect this! Yippee! This is OUR story, it is real and it is amazing. If you had an assisted birth, forceps, vacuum or otherwise —get your child checked. Don’t wait until they have lived the life Eric had to endure for 8 years. The problems caused by assisted birth can be corrected when your children are young. Now that we have been through this ordeal, I would like to shout it from the rooftops, fund a study, and do anything I can to help get the word out! If this is your family, your children, someone you know, do something. I am happy to personally talk to anyone about Eric’s story. The moral of the story is HUGE! I wonder how many children out there are in Eric’s boat or worse. Overmedicated, ill, discouraged and uncoordinated. Get educated on the subject of children and chiropractic care and change a life for the better.
Drs. David and Melody Spear are ICPA members who practice at: Body of Light Family Chiropractic, Eugene, OR. Their family-oriented chiropractic practice sees many children.
This article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #05.
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