Barry Yates, 69, retired Army Sergeant from the Royal Artillery
Jason has literally saved my life. I really didn’t want to go on because my back pain was so severe, so debilitating. Yet within a few months of seeing him, I was completely pain-free and I haven’t had pain in the nine years since then.
I shudder to think what I’d have done. My mum wouldn’t have had her son to look after her for the last years of our life, after she got cancer.
I would praise Jason’s services from the tallest tower.
Not long after I started seeing Jason, I found out I needed surgery for bony spurs on my spine. I’d had sciatica on and off for 20 years, and it had made me dependent on alcohol to ease the pain because the doctor couldn’t give me any stronger painkillers.
With Jason’s help, I never needed to have the surgery. I also stopped taking painkillers and alcohol completely.
Once you lose good health, every other aspect of your life goes downhill. Every time I speak to someone with back problems, the first thing I ask is if they have seen a chiropractor.
We do take out bodies too much for granted, especially our back. Until it goes, you don’t realise how you rely on it – you can’t even put a sock on.
I believe my back problems originated during my years in the Army. I’d joined the Junior Leaders aged 15 then did 17 years’ regular service after I turned 18. In the Royal Artillery, you have to keep the ammunition 80-100 yards away from the gun, so that if the gun is blown up, the ammo doesn’t all explode with it. So I was running around fields with heavy boxes of ammunition on both shoulders, or running up and down mountains with heavy backpacks.
I didn’t have any problems at the time, perhaps because I was so fit. The pain began around 1990, after I’d left the Army and begun to work in security.
I went to bed after a night shift feeling a bit uncomfortable, then couldn’t move when I woke. I got painkillers from the doctor and managed to get back to work five days later and thought nothing more of it.
Six months later, I had another episode – the sciatic pain was down my leg. Initially I had flare-ups every six to nine months, with the pain lasting three to five days. As I got older, the flare-ups became more frequent, the pain got worse and lasted for a longer period each time. I know now from Jason that even though I may have thought I was completely recovered after the first one, I was probably only 95% better. And each time I had a relapse, that percentage dropped a few points.
The last time was during the 2012 London Olympics and it lasted three months. The pain was so bad that my employer sent me to a specialist. The most frightening time of my life was being shot in Belfast in 1973, and this was the most painfully frustrating experience. It made me realise how vulnerable I was.
While I was waiting for MRI results, I remember leaning against the sink, in absolutely agony and taking an age to get washed. Painkillers gave me just half an hour of relief. I was asking myself, do I want to live like this? I really didn’t want to go on.
In desperation, I asked my GP whether chiropractic or osteopathic treatment would help. He suggested chiropractic care and directed me next door, where Jason had just set up his clinic. I hobbled in to see him. If there had been CCTV outside, you could have used me as before and after case. I walked out pain-free, for the first time in two months.
It lasted about four hours, and I used that time to sleep peacefully. Before I went in, I’d have given my right arm for four hours without pain.
The MRI showed bony spurs on two lumbar vertebrae and a compacted disc in between them – the neurosurgeon wanted me on the operating table within 48 hours.
I wasn’t keen on the operation and Jason’s treatment gave me hope so I refused the surgery. Surgery may have a high success rate, but as you get older you don’t recover so well and I didn’t want to be the small percentage of those who end up in a wheelchair.
Each time I saw Jason, the time without pain extended. It took just a few weeks before I was pain free. Initially I went every three days, then five days, then seven then 14. Now I go once a month, for maintenance, and I do some stretching exercises. The bony spurs and compacted disc aren’t a problem.
I’m not as sedentary as I used to be – I do a lot of walking, because I can now. There had been times when I just wanted to lay on the floor and vanish.
As the pain subsided, my quality of life improved. I felt confident with Jason. I just felt I was in the right place. In good hands.
The great thing is that the treatment is all external, even though it changes things internally, and there is no pain whatsoever. If I’d had surgery, I’d certainly have been in pain.
I will keep seeing Jason as long as I can, because he literally is a life saver.
I just wish I’d known about him earlier. Although I had heard of chiropractic and osteopathy, frankly I thought they were mumbo jumbo. However, if a GP had made the suggestion or if I’d asked my GP earlier, I probably would have done it. And if I’d had treatments at the start, I probably wouldn’t have had so many subsequent flare-ups.
I hope my experience will inspire people to at least try a chiropractor.