At 23 years old, Carmen Robinson felt like a much older woman. There were days when her back pain was so intense, the Fairfield resident could barely walk. It made her job as a medical assistant at the NorthBay Center for Primary Care in Fairfield exceptionally draining. Her daughter, Tatiana, now 4, couldn’t understand why mom wouldn’t play with her.
“Back pain definitely affected my lifestyle and even my moods,” recalls Carmen. “I used to exercise, but I had to give it up because I was in too much pain. Even sleep was difficult; I was always tired.”
She started seeing a parade of doctors at age 15, when the pain first started. She even visited emergency rooms a time or two in her quest to find relief.
At one point, she had acute kidney failure and bladder disease, and the hope was that once she recovered, the back pain would abate, but it did not.
She was prescribed narcotics, such as Vicodin and Percocet, which were not a good option for someone going to school, and then later working a full-time job, Carmen explains.
The worst? When she was advised she should no longer pick up and carry her daughter. “We both lost out with that directive,” she recalls ruefully.
One day at work, she was telling a colleague of her pain when Zackery Wood, D.O., overheard. He asked a few questions and said he might be able to help.
“In a quick exam, he checked my bones, neck and spine and said he knew right away he could help.” Turns out, Carmen’s back was out of alignment.
She was nervous the first time she laid on the table while he adjusted her back, punctuated with a series of pops. “It sounded scary, but the minute I got off that table, my whole life changed,” she recalls. “Before the adjustment, I couldn’t touch my toes. He had me try. Afterward, I bent down with no problem whatsoever,” she said.
It may have seemed like a miracle to Carmen, but it is just all part of a day’s work for Dr. Wood. He frequently turns to Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine—or OMM— when a patient is suffering from a sore back or neck.
“I work on a person’s overall wellness,” says Dr. Wood from his Center for Primary Care office in Fairfield. “A doctor of osteopathy embraces a holistic perspective: mind, body, spirit.”
For patients with pain issues, especially involving the back and neck, OMM is his go-to choice. “I can prescribe pills, but that’s not the best treatment for everyone. So often, it’s an issue of alignment. Patients are often surprised at how quickly they can experience relief.”
OMM involves stretching, gentle pressure and resistance to ease pain and promote healing.
Dr. Wood comes from a long line of osteopathic doctors, including his grandfather, father, uncles and brothers. “Listening to medical discussions around the dinner table was common, and I looked forward to the day I began my own practice,” he says.
Today that practice is open to patients of all ages. “I like to educate my patients on how to become healthier people, not just care for a condition or disease,” he notes. “I consider each patient’s lifestyle and personal environment when making a treatment plan. It’s a lot like being a lifestyle coach. I try to help them make good decisions.”
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Wood at the Center for Primary Care, a NorthBay Affiliate, in Fairfield, call 646-5500.