When Kelly Weaver arrived at the emergency room in November 2016, she couldn’t see a way out of her pain. She was suffering from an acute sciatic episode, and her agony was severe. Because she was struggling to get up at home, her husband, Dev, had to stay home from work to take care of her and their daughter. It was Dev who took her to the emergency room in a wheelchair, looking for a solution.
The attending physician in the ER referred Kelly to Dr. Carlo Ammendolia, Associate Scientist and Chiropractor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital – and her journey to recovery began. From the first time Kelly met Dr. Ammendolia, she felt relief. “He was the first person who understood how I really felt — how much pain I was in. He was very reassuring. He told me I was going to get better, but that I was going to have to work hard.”
The first-step to recovery
Kelly enrolled in Dr. Ammendolia’s boot camp program for low back pain (LBP). The program is aimed at addressing the multi-faceted aspects of LBP. It combines manual therapy, conditioning exercises and instructions on self-management. The goal is to restore function, reduce disability and improve quality of life.
In her program, Kelly carried out a set of (sometimes painful) exercises twice a day, slowly moving to once daily. Dr. Ammendolia shared a booklet of exercises with Kelly, teaching her how to perform each one properly at home. Kelly said that Dr. Ammendolia was very straightforward. “He told me I would need to do these exercises every day for the rest of my life to keep my back healthy. He instilled in me that recovery is up to me — not his treatments.”
When she worked with Dr. Ammendolia, Kelly always felt heard and supported. “He told me I could contact him anytime — even on the weekend — if I was having trouble or had a question. He listened to my concerns and provided direct answers. He was so knowledgeable. He always focused on how I was going to get better.”
After she began the boot camp, Kelly felt more mobile. The rigorous schedule sped up her recovery. But Kelly knows she must keep up the exercises to maintain her healthy back. Kelly repeated Dr. Ammendolia’s words, “What we’re trying to do is prevent it from happening again.”
Even Kelly’s doctor was impressed by her dramatic progress after Dr. Ammendolia’s boot camp program. The doctor transformed from a chiropractic skeptic to a believer. She now regularly refers her back-pain patients to Dr. Ammendolia.
Kelly says that Dr. Ammendolia will always meet you wherever you’re at. Since her episode in 2016, there was a period in her life when she was unable to complete her routine. “He understood and started me back up with exercises, encouraging me once again.”
Where is Kelly today?
Kelly still sees Dr. Ammendolia every three months. “These are quick check-ins for me to ensure everything is ok with my back. He really doesn’t want you to rely on him.”
Kelly’s quality of life has changed dramatically since completing Dr. Ammendolia’s boot camp. “I went from not being able to do anything, to doing just about anything. I walk around mostly pain-free and, by doing the exercises daily, I continue to be very active. Those exercises help in every way!”
Dr. Carlo Ammendolia is the Director of the Chiropractic Spine Clinic and Spinal Stenosis Program at the Rebecca MacDonald Centre for Arthritis & Autoimmune Diseases. He specializes in lumbar spinal stenosis and other chronic spine related disorders such as chronic low back pain, chronic neck pain, sciatica and ankylosing spondylitis, as well as musculoskeletal conditions like osteoarthritis of the knee and hip and persistent shoulder pain. He is a Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (CCRF) Research Chair in Spine Research, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and an Associate Scientist/Chiropractor in the Department of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Learn more about Dr. Ammendolia’s boot camp program here