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."
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.
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.
A Balancing Act
A Life in Equilibrium
Tell Me More
Body & Soul is currently airing Monday-Friday at 7:00pm and 8:30pm on PBS YOU.
home | program
list | tell me more | links | reading list
| who we are | how
it began | talk to us | companion book | program videos