The Bulls

Posted On: July 7, 2017

This is the eighteenth case review from my past practice. I am Dr. David Johnson a chiropractor and physical therapist in Highland Park and Lake Bluff. I am the director of North Shore Spinal and Sports Rehabilitation. I started as a chiropractor in Lake Forest, Il in 1988. I integrated physical therapy into my practice in 1990.

This is a case where I was called by the trainer of the Bulls to consult with me on what to do with a starting power forward who was having lower back pain. This was in the nineties and the Bull’s were beginning their dynasty years.

I was really honored to have the head trainer call me so I wanted to be helpful. We talked through all of the particulars of the case. The player had an MRI that was reported as normal. He had no sciatic pain only pain in his lower back area. When he bent forward the pain increased. He had been examined by the team doctor and was reported to not have frank neurologic signs.

I asked what they had done. They had used electric stimulation, ice and had been stretching his back and legs a lot. I asked if they were doing the knees to chest exercise and the trainer said a lot. I asked if they had tried doing prone press ups, an exercise popularized by Robin McKenzie. He said they had not.

He asked what I would do. I told him I would examine the patient and figure out which direction I would take the patient with exercise. I told him since flexion had not worked I would probably end up extending the patient’s spine. I requested that he send the patient over and let me take a look at him. The trainer said no he would just do the exercises I had suggested and see how that worked out. He thanked me and hung up.

I never got to see that player but I heard through the grapevine that he improved with the extension therapy I had suggested.

The next time I heard from the Bull’s, I again was helpful but not so forthcoming with what I would do. I instead ended the conversation with, “you should send him in and I will figure it out.” This approach allowed me to help a lot of the players during those championship years.

It was fun to take care of the players and be invited to attend a game here and there. When the dynasty came to an end and all the players were traded away my work with the Bull’s ended, but it was fun while it lasted. It was great to have contributed somewhat to their success as a team.

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