Julie Casper: Paraplegic on the Way to Walking After Treaments from ACOS Alumni

Julie Casper, an ACOS alumna, recently returned to Nelson with a paraplegic patient to work with the experts at Summit Gym and take treatments from Dr. Warren Fischer. Julie has been working with this client in her clinic in the U. S. with great results and felt that further work with Ed Fuez from Summit Gym and some treatments from Dr. Warren Fischer would be beneficial. Julie picks up the story below:

“In 1972, the patient fell from a roof and fractured C6, C7 vertebrae with profound myelopathy at C8 segment. He lost sensory motor function below the T5 level bilaterally with a flaccid paraplegia. A note of importance in his medical report from that date is “Only the slightest flicker of flexion is obtained on plantar stimulation.” Since this time he has moved around via wheelchair and short transfers with crutches, 37 years.

The patient came to me in hopes of preventing three surgeries which he was scheduled for, and to reduce his pain. He had a severe rotator cuff injury in his right shoulder with bone spurs, prominent tears throughout the supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons and other pathologies within the shoulder complex. He also was suffering from severe carpal tunnel syndrome in both wrists.

Six weeks of twice-weekly acupuncture therapy, along with herbal therapy (internally and externally) gave him pain free movement in arms and wrists with much improved ROM. I then gave him exercises to increase the ROM in his shoulders and wrists. He continues with weekly acupuncture treatments.

During acupuncture treatments, it was noted that insertion of needles in his feet would elicit a motor response, causing rather forceful spasms in his legs. This meant that the nerve response was traveling in both directions along his spinal cord, as was noted above in his 1972 medical report.

Because of my training with Ed Fuez at Summit Gym while I was attending ACOS, I knew this meant that, with the right exercise program, the patient could gain back some function in his legs, and perhaps even walk again. After several discussions with both the patient and Mr. Fuez, it was decided that it would be worth taking a trip to Nelson to work with the people at Summit Gym and develop a program for the patient.

Our trip there, though being a large amount of work, was extremely successful. Over our 8-day stay, the patient was able to pass all of the physical tests needed for him to be given a program that will likely have him walking again in 1 to 2 years. It is a lot of work, 3 hours per day for his program, with an assistant, but as his strength and ability improves, his independence will improve along with it.”

It was great to see Julie around the school while she was in Nelson continuing her work with her patient. Julie had a chance to observe Dr. Fischer treating this patient and after many, many hours spent observing Dr. Fischer as a student it must of felt good to be there with the patient in the capacity of a fellow acupuncturist. We wish Julie and her patient all the best for the future and commend this patient’s hard work and perseverance. It is exciting to see our alumni making such a difference in patient’s lives.