Ten Years of Back Pain Improved in One Month

Gaokgethelwe Seeletso is a mother of two living in Gabarone, Botswana. Just like 540 million other people around the world, she suffers from low back pain.

I was always picturing myself on a wheelchair or using crutches. Now, I can do many of the activities I was not able to do before.

It started over 10 years ago, when she was pregnant with her second child. The pain came and went, responding well to painkillers, but after a year it began to increase. She began a decade long process of seeking help from various healthcare providers. After x-rays and an MRI, she was given various diagnoses, ranging from arthritis to a disc bulge. “I was advised to lose weight, not to lift or carry anything more than 5kg, not to clean the house, nor hold babies in my hands.” She began treatment which included physiotherapy and rehab, medication, and was put on 5 days sick leave. Unfortunately, she says, “it did not get any better.”

A friend of hers worked at Mahalapye District Hospital and recommended she visit the World Spine Care clinic located there. She was greeted by World Spine Care’s Clinic Supervisor, Dr. Mufudzi Chihambakwe, a chiropractor from Zimbabwe who trained at Durban University, South Africa. “At first, because of his body size, I did not realize he was the Specialist Doctor,” explained Gaokgethelwe.

After a thorough history and examination, Dr. Mufudzi asked her to lie on the treatment table and “started working on my spine such that the spine and rib bones made a very unusual noise, as if cracking.” She expected to be given a prescription for medication and was surprised that she was given a set of exercises to perform at home.

That evening, Gaokgethelwe says, she felt very tired, as if she had been working in the fields all day. But during the night, for the first time in nearly ten years, she slept like a baby. “After two days I could walk better than the previous months. By the fourth week, I was now a changed mother of two. My husband and children were amazed at how quickly my health had improved.”

Before being introduced to World Spine Care, Gaokgethelwe had imagined that her back pain would worsen. “I was always picturing myself on a wheelchair or using crutches. Now, I can do many of the activities, especially at home, which I was not able to do before.”

Clinical Snapshot

Diagnosis: Chronic, non-traumatic discogenic low back pain (L5/S1) with left radiculopathy.

Initial pain rating: 3/5 (Wong-Baker Faces)

Treatment: End-range loading (extension), lumbar spinal manipulation

Final pain rating: 0/5

World Spine Care’s vision is a world in which everyone has access to the highest quality spine care possible. We are thrilled to hear success stories from patients like Gaokgethelwe, but we need your help to continue providing evidence-based spine care to underserved communities around the world. Consider making a donation or joining our Helping Hands Campaign this October.

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