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Waking Up the Brain: Amazing Adjustments
A Balancing Act

For close to 30 years, Mariangela Pino suffered from a feeling of constant motion or vertigo that made normal life extremely difficult. Even ordinary tasks like leaning her head back in the shower were impossible. Conventional medicine was unable to diagnose or treat her. Finally, Pino consulted a chiropractor in Pasadena, CA, Dr. Kathleen Power, who felt the person who might be able to help her was one of Power's teachers, chiropractic neurologist Ted Carrick. Dr. Carrick and Ms. Pino each spoke with Body & Soul about her journey to healing.

Pino: I've probably been to 500 hospitals, and most of them on an emergency basis. Wherever I moved, I would always calculate how far is the hospital, and where's the entrance to the emergency room?

Carrick: It's important that what we're treating is something that is realistic -- that we know what we're talking about. It's not hopscotch or a throw of the dice that we're going to say 'You have vertigo, we're going to do this and see what happens.' Because with all cases of vertigo, even when symptoms are similar to Mariangela's, there can be entirely different lesions or pathology or scenarios.

Pino: So I said over the phone to Dr. Power, "I'm really, really sick. I'm actually a lot sicker than I told you, and I was wondering if I could come over there today and tell you the truth because I'm feeling really scared and lonely, and I need a friend."

Carrick: Dr. Power went through her physical examination, and was able to tell me about Mariangela's eye functions, her direction of spin, and her fragility. Also the long-term history of her suffering and the variety of treatments that she had had, as well as her fear of going through another barrage of treatments which may or may not be successful.

Pino: And then later Dr. Power told me about some people Dr. Carrick had helped -- people he had helped bring back from comas, and I said, "Do you know what? I feel like I'm in a coma, and I really want to wake up."

Carrick: My assessment was that Mariangela suffered a non-ablative left cortical lesion. Which simply means that there's something wrong with the functioning of the left side of her brain. The word non-ablative means that there's nothing structurally wrong -- for instance you may have a muscle that looks good, but if you can't move your arm, even though there's nothing wrong with the muscle, it's the function of the muscle.

Pino: So Dr. Power gave me this ball, and had me squeeze the ball with my right hand. And it actually helped a little. There was a feeling that things were coming into focus -- and I'm like, "Well, that's really weird."

Carrick: The treatment is specific to increase the integrity of the left side of her brain. So, my direction of treatment, especially in Mariangela's case, was to use whole body direction to increase the functioning of the left side of her brain, and decrease the dominance of the right side. Not only do we give them specific exercises, we tell them things they definitely shouldn't do -- for instance don't look in that direction. When you're sitting in a restaurant and there's a window, don't sit on this side of the room. So the exercises are very, very important.

Pino: In the first week I felt relief from the various exercises -- I was a really good patient. And I woke up one morning, and realized I had been able to sleep on my left side. There were a series of things I was able to do, that I had never done before.

Carrick: Although an exercise is very simple -- if I move my arm it's very simple -- the consequences of an exercise are not simple. Sometimes we do things that seem very, very trivial and there's a cure or a cessation of symptoms immediately. And I think that people must realize that it's not the magnitude of the treatment, but the consequences of the treatment. So, things that are trivial to some people, may be of great magnitude in the entirety of someone's life.

Pino: I'd been in treatment for about two and a half months. And I had an incredible response, waking up in the morning, shampooing my hair like a normal person, okay? And getting dressed to go for my treatment -- I did all my exercises... And I had this feeling of being brought back to life.

Carrick: I feel greatly satisfied in being able to do that, and at the same time I feel very frustrated that I can't do it for everybody. I like the feeling.

Program Description
A Balancing Act
Ted Carrick
A Life in Equilibrium
Tell Me More
Help YourSelf

Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.

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