Today, I have the privilege of sharing with all of you an interview with a truly unique and caring health professional, Dr. Eben Davis. I am a big fan of Dr. Davis’ Blog and recommend it to all my readers as a source of quality health information.
As always, I try to find care providers who can provide valuable insight into the back care system in order to demystify the process for every patient.
Dr. Davis continues to be a good friend of this site and is even now a member of our professional editorial board, many years after this interview.
Q: Can you please share your credentials as a care provider? What are your practice specialties?
A: My degree is D.C. Doctor of Chiropractic. I specialize in chronic back, neck and wrist pain. I use a treatment protocol of my own that I have taught hundreds of doctors around the world for CTS. And I use spinal decompression with the DRX9000 and DRX9000c for chronic back and neck pain.
Q: Have you ever suffered from back pain yourself? Any other chronic complaint?
A: Yes. I became a chiropractor because of my positive experience as a patient with severe migraine headaches. I was 26 years old and on disability from work as a stockbroker when a co-worker recommended I see a chiropractor. The rest is history. I ended up quitting my job and going back to school to become a chiropractor.
Q: How do you rate back pain in terms of frequency of occurrence in today’s society? Do you see any particular reasons why back pain is so rampant and often treatment-resistant?
A: About 80% of the US population will experience a severe bout of back pain at some point in their lives; usually low back pain. This is not good, because the #1 risk factor for a back problem to become chronic (last more than 3 months) is a previous episode of back pain. Most of the time the pain does not return. But, in some people the back pain returns and stays with them, which is why they seek treatment.
Q: How do you think that non-surgical spinal decompression has changed the back care industry?
A: It has provided a logical next step when conservative treatments, such as chiropractic, medications or physical therapy, fail to deliver favorable outcomes with disc patients. In the past, patients would have to learn to live in pain or consider surgery.
Q: What back pain treatment modalities do you embrace and for which particular conditions? What are your thoughts on diet and exercise as they relate to back pain?
A: Chiropractic. In my biased opinion, it is the #1 treatment method for back and neck pain. It has a very high patient satisfaction rate; over 80%. It is non-invasive, it is not expensive, it does not take a lot of time, and it is easy to integrate into a busy lifestyle. Nonsurgical spinal decompression would be next. Exercise and nutrition need to be a big part of a chronic back pain treatment regimen also. It’s very difficult to fix a back problem if a patient is overweight or obese, or de-conditioned from lack of exercise. I prefer a plant-based diet, which by nature is anti-inflammatory. I have witnessed amazing results with plant-based nutrition.
Q: Are there any back pain therapies you do not care for? Why?
A: I don’t care much for conventional traction when it comes to herniated disc pain patients. Traction stretches everything and can actually harm disc patients. And, I think patients should avoid surgery if at all possible. There are too many risks. But sometimes, it’s the only solution.
Q: How do you feel about symptomatic back pain treatment and in particular pharmaceutical treatment?
A: Medical care actually works quite frequently for new and acute back and neck pain conditions. But who really knows. Maybe the patients get better on their own, and there are always risks when you put chemicals into the body. Every year a certain amount of people die from aspirin and just about every other drug. I don’t like putting chemicals in my body or recommending them.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your blog (a personal favorite of mine)?
A: I wanted to create a forum where I could write about things that happen in the clinic. Everyone always asks, “where do you get all your ideas?” Well, I get them from daily interactions with patients and from a pretty rigorous online research regimen. As it turns out, I have readers all over the world, and was recently voted Best Chiropractic Blog in America. It is a very good patient education tool and has given me good visibility in the medical community. I have a lot of medical doctors that read my blog daily.
Q: Can you describe some of the more noteworthy or memorable cases of back pain you have treated?
A: I was at work on a Saturday, but I wasn’t working. I was waiting for a call from a friend, we were on our way to a baseball game. The phone rang so I answered and it was this lady who said she was to have surgery the next day and was scared to death. She wanted to meet me right then. She begged me. I canceled my plans and met her. She had 3 herniated discs in the low back, one was really bad. She was using a walker to get around. Anyway, she postponed the surgery and we did the DRX9000. It did not seem like it was helping as we were half way through the treatment. She was doing everything I recommended: plant-based diet, visualization, her home exercises, everything. Then, all of the sudden, almost overnight, things got better. She returned to almost normal function, lost 30 lbs, and has stuck with the plant-based diet. Three years later she is still doing great. There are many great stories, but this one was special.
Q: Are you familiar with the works of Dr. John Sarno? How do you feel about the field of mindbody medicine, as it applies to back pain?
A: Yes. He is the developer of Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) and treatment methods for same. I have a lot of personal experience with Mind-Body Medicine. I actually attended a school called the California Institute of Integral Studies here in San Francisco. I truly believe that this is the true cause of many chronic back, neck and extremity ailments, including RSI and CTS, even fibromyalgia.
Q: What advice do you have for patients who are struggling with back pain right now?
A: Well, in my biased opinion, chiropractic should be the first choice, then nonsurgical spinal decompression. Maybe a combination of both. But at the same time we need to adjust all the other lifestyle knobs in the right direction. Physical, chemical, and emotional factors need to addressed. The pillow you sleep on, the mattress you use, your chair at work, your water intake, your stress levels… everything. Not everyone will do this. But unless you do, you will never know what could happen if you did.
Thanks to Dr. Davis for his time and wisdom. Please check out his blog and be sure to pay him a visit if you require any of his services in the Bay Area.