Finally, a pain-free life for West Bend teacher
Silverbrook Middle School teacher Charlene Jahnke had pretty much resigned herself to living with a bad back... and shoulders... and neck. After all, the West Bend resident had learned to deal with pain for more than 30 years.
"I simply didn't do much of anything when I was in pain," Charlene explains, "and when I wasn't experiencing a problem, I wouldn't do anything that could hurt my back."
It was a survivalist attitude and way of life that limited her involvement in physical activities and sometimes even favorite pastimes like furniture refinishing that involved a lot of bending and reaching. By her early 30s, Charlene's problems were simply a given, but students always knew when their English teacher was having a bad day. She'd stay seated behind her desk all day with a heating pad wrapped around the part that hurt the most.
Several years ago, Charlene's husband needed to see a chiropractor for a problem he was having with his back. When he came home, he had high praise for Eric Kirk, a doctor of chiropractic, and suggested his wife give him a try.
"I was skeptical," Charlene recalls, "but I went anyway."
Though it took several months to unravel the musculoskeletal problems that had accumulated for three decades, eventually Charlene's pain was gone.
"It was unbelievable," she says, "I was living with these problems for decades, and low and behold, I can now do anything I want."
Dr. Kirk's treatment of Charlene primarily focused on "spinal adjustments" or "manipulations" to restore function of the vertebrae in her spinal column. He also recommended massage therapy along with physical therapy and exercises to strengthen her back.
"My approach to chiropractic care is to thoroughly diagnose and treat the problem so that the muscles are addressed as well as the joints," Dr. Kirk explains.
Since that initial series of treatments five years ago, Charlene has returned to Dr. Kirk for minor concerns before they had a chance to develop into bigger problems. Recently, for example, she pulled a muscle in her lower back lifting furniture. She also went to Dr. Kirk for neck pain that prevented her from looking over her shoulder when driving. In each instance, Dr. Kirk was able to get Charlene back on track in one or two office visits.
"I expect the majority of my cases to be pain free or resolved within four visits or two weeks," says Dr. Kirk, who has recently relocated to the Aurora Health Center in West Bend. "To prevent a recurrence, I'll sometimes recommend physical therapy for improved stability. We have a very good working relationship here with our physical therapists, physicians and other providers. We're all working together to restore our patients to good health. That integrated model to meet individual treatment needs gets the best results," he says.
It certainly worked for his patient Charlene, who now walks three miles a day after years of not being able to make it around the block. She's also enjoying being a new grandma who can lift, carry and crawl around the floor with her baby grandson, something she never imagined being able to do.
"I'm so happy now," says Charlene. "I can't thank Dr. Kirk enough. He changed my life."
For more information or to make an appointment with Dr. Kirk, call the Aurora Health Center in West Bend at (262) 338-1123.