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
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.”