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Paul Schrempp

  • Making all the right moves for back health

    Four spine surgeries before the age of 40? That’s what Paul Schrempp hoped to avoid.

    Sports injuries and a car accident had triggered his first three surgeries, the most recent of which occurred in 2006. He did fine until 2012. Just before an annual bow hunting trip, his back went out again. The 39-year-old teacher and father of two saw his doctor, who referred him to the Courage Kenny Spine Center.

    The Center offers specialized, non-surgical treatment for back and neck pain. A key component in the program is intensive spine strengthening using MedX equipment.

    Schrempp said that after the re-injury, his symptoms were as bad as they had been before surgery – including numbness down his leg and on the outside of his foot. He missed four days of work. It was painful to sit or stand for long periods, and a few times he even taught his fourth grade glass while lying on the floor.

    After an evaluation with a Courage Kenny Spine Center rehabilitation doctor, he began working with physical therapist Brenda Kern. The Spine Center staff believed that his symptoms could improve if he strengthened his core and spine muscles. Kern started him on the MedX equipment and his symptoms began to subside.

    Schrempp combined the MedX workouts with other exercises and stretches. “Eventually, I started feeling pretty good and I didn’t stick with the routine,” said Schrempp. Then the back pain returned.

    “That was when it became clear to me. I understand that this is life-changing. I can’t do the exercises for a little while and stop when I’m feeling better,” Shrempp said.

    He returned to the Courage Kenny Spine Center and redoubled his efforts. He used the MedX equipment and learned from his physical therapist how to modify his regular exercise routine to be safe for his spine. “I was the typical male in the gym, sometimes overdoing it,” said Schrempp. 

    “The biggest thing I learned is how important positioning is. Brenda taught me about which muscles need to be working, and how to get the bigger muscles working to relieve pressure on the disc.

    “She showed me that it’s not as important to lift heavy weights; it’s more about consistency. She also emphasized hamstring stretches. Initially, I could not fully extend my legs. I learned to do a good job stretching and keeping the hamstrings loose.” 

    Schrempp also incorporated Foundation training into his workouts, an exercise program that focuses on strengthening the core. He is convinced that the combination of these approaches saved him from a fourth spine surgery.

    Now he exercises every day. “This is something I’ve got to do if I’m going to keep my back healthy,” Schrempp said. 

    “The physical therapy I received at the Courage Kenny Spine Center was different from other physical therapy I had done,” he added. “There was a lot more involved and more discussion. I wanted to become an expert on my own back, and that’s what happened.”

  • Paul Schrempp