HOW CHIROPRACTIC HELPS SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN
“A MOTIVATING AND INSPIRING STORY ABOUT THE POWER OF CHIROPRACTIC.”
A childhood like none other
Mohamed had spent most of his five years of life in a bed or hospitals, feeling paralyzed by his diagnosed genetic disease, Spinocerebellar Atrophy, also commonly referred to as Friedreich’s Ataxia Disease. This condition causes the severe loss of muscle coordination, due to the degeneration of the spinal cord and the cerebellum (the base of the brain behind the brain stem). He could not walk, sit or stand on his own, open or close his legs, nor could he see past his hand. He couldn’t rest at night due to sleep apnea, nosebleeds, labored breathing, and heavy snoring. His nosebleeds were so severe he would choke on his own blood at night. He suffered from asthma and painful bunions. Often Mohamed would find himself in the hospital seriously ill due to his poor immune system.
He was placed in classes for the mentally challenged due to his condition, despite the fact that his mind worked just as well as a normal child’s. His self-esteem had been crushed. The fear of being “different” made him afraid of social situations and interaction. His condition prevented him from living the carefree life children deserve.
This is the amazing story of how young Mohamed’s health and life have been totally turned around with the help of one determined chiropractor.
Meet Dr. Lackner
Dr. Nicole Lackner, a Peoria chiropractor, first came in contact with Mohamed ‘s family when the little boy’s aunt began receiving adjustments following injuries from a car accident. Her husband (Mohamed’s uncle) soon began receiving care from Dr. Lackner, too.
How one article changed a life
Once a week Dr. Lackner hands out articles about health and chiropractic issues to her patients. One featured a March of Dimes poster girl standing with her crutches. By chance, Mohamed’s uncle read that week’s article and immediately thought of his nephew.
The story explained how, after 2-1/2 years of care from the March of Dimes program, the little girl didn’t improve at all. Then, when her grandparents desperately looking for alternatives, they took her to a chiropractor. With no financial help or support from the March of Dimes program, her chiropractic adjustments had her walking within six months.
When Mohamed’s uncle read this article, he came right back through the door and needed to speak with Dr. Nicole Lackner. He told her about his nephew, Mohamed, and asked if she could guarantee he could walk with the help of her care. She couldn’t guarantee he could walk with the help of her care. She couldn’t guarantee him, but said he should expect some positive results. She confesses she knew deep down that chiropractic treatment would work. “I just knew in my heart he would walk,” she said. This marked the beginning of Mohamed’s adventure in the United States.
It took two letters to Customs explaining Mohamed’s condition and the planned six-month treatment before gaining clearance for Mohamed to come to the U.S. The first letter was rejected because the price for Dr. Lackner’s chiropractic care was so much less than anything Mohamed had gone through in Saudi Arabia. The Customs office thought it was a fraud. The second letter finally granted clearance, but only Mohamed and his mother were allowed to come. She couldn’t speak any English and she had to leave two small children and a husband who worked full time. To her, finding a cure or at least some relief for Mohamed’s condition was simply too important. She had already lost a three-year old daughter to the same disease that plagued her son.
Little Mohamed arrives
When Dr. Lackner first met Mohamed, she saw a young boy who couldn’t walk. He was exhausted from always feeling ill and unable to see past his own hand. Even watching television was a challenge. His legs wouldn’t work independently of each other, preventing him from opening or closing his legs. To try helping his body become more flexible, doctors in Saudi Arabia had severed his Achilles tendons and adductor muscles (inner thigh) bilaterally. Unfortunately, the surgery provided him no beneficial effect.
Mohamed’s body was severely misaligned; so on his first visit Dr. Lackner began the first adjustments. Amazingly, he shot down; the hall immediately afterward, walking easier, but still needing to hold onto the wall to stay balanced. Three times a week Mohamed would visit, every time taking more steps on his own and showing improvement in his overall health.
His first milestone came on his fourth visit. When Dr. Lackner adjusted his A-S Occiput (skull bone), suddenly his vision returned. Now he could watch television without sitting right up to the screen. With so much progress and renewed hope, Mohamed’s self-esteem and attitude began improving. Within days he began walking without assistance or using the wall. With each visit, his progress was recorded by Dr. Lackner as his steps and attitude amazed and marveled those around him. As Mohamed began walking, he could keep his balance for longer periods of time each day.
Mohamed hit a plateau when he reached 20 steps. For weeks, he had been increasing his step total, but now it was as if he had hit a wall. It simply didn’t make sense for his progress to abruptly stop. The mystery was solved when Dr. Lackner found out that because his vision had improved, Mohamed had begun playing video games on the weekends, keeping him from working on his walking exercises. When she explained to his mother to take the games away from him for a weekend, his progress once again continued at a high pace. When he eventually reached 100 steps there was no need to count anymore; little Mohamed could now really walk.
An emotional departure
When Mohamed left it was an emotional good-bye for the entire office. Dr. Lackner recalls, “I cried so hard when he left. It was such a surprise and he had to leave at the last minute. He looked at me and said, ‘Why you cry?’ I said, ‘Because I’m afraid I won’t see you again.’ Mohamed then wiped away her tears and said, ‘Why you cry? I love you.”
Mohamed was most excited about the opportunity to go to regular school. “I’m very happy because I’m going to go to school. I can walk now like my brother . . . I want to walk quickly without falling down. I will do it,” said Mohamed.
A happy plane ride home
At the end of the six-month program, Mohamed was as active as any normal child his age. Even today, Mohamed walks, plays and does everything else a normal kid enjoys. As expected, Mohamed and his mother had to return to their family in Saudi Arabia at the end of the six months. Although Mohamed and his family were scheduled to return to the U.S. for more chiropractic treatment in April 2003, due to the war in Iraq, they have not been able to come back.
When Mohamed’s family came to greet him at the airport in Saudi Arabia, they were astounded when they saw him walking and laughing for the first time. “When they saw him walk off the plane, they were overtaken by emotion,” said Dr. Lackner.
His mother explains Mohamed’s progress best, “He has changed completely. The doctors in Saudi Arabia told me he would never be normal. But now he acts like a normal kid. I want everyone to see him. He’s moving, he’s talking, I can’t control him at all. I keep trying to get him to slow down.” Mohamed’s mother is considering bringing her other two children – a son, 8 and a daughter, 13 – for chiropractic treatment from Dr. Lackner.
Mohamed continues to inspire
Dr. Lackner videotaped from the first day to the last day of Mohamed’s visits. She wanted to document every step of progress he made. She shows the Mohamed video at a variety of seminars and other chiropractic events to inspire and motivate chiropractors all over the country. A forewarning, watching the video has caused almost everyone in the room to cry.
In October of 2002 Dr. Lackner opened the Gonstead Seminar in Davenport, Iowa by showing the Mohamed video for the first time. Hundreds of chiropractors were captivated as they witnessed Mohamed’s transformation from a horribly sick child into a normal energetic boy. The crowd was then surprised as Mohamed and his family came out on stage, welcomed by a standing ovation. Mohamed’s mother spoke to the crowd using her brother as an interpreter. Mohamed proved he had overcome his fear of social interaction, and he did great shaking hands and greeting everyone. Once incredibly shy and scared of people, he was now comfortable with the attention and had no problem making hundreds of new friends. As Dr. Lackner said, “He became the little office greeter.”
The future looks bright
According to Dr. Lackner, Mohamed has a healthy future ahead of him. Instead of spending the rest of his childhood in hospital beds, you’ll find him running around like a normal kid, playing outside, and always finding time to sneak in a video game. “Not only did it change his health, it changed his whole attitude,” said Dr. Lackner. Mohamed’s story is becoming an inspiration all over the chiropractic world. While his health continues to stay improved, Dr. Lackner prays that she’ll get to see Mohamed again soon for a checkup. She remains hopeful, as Mohamed’s courage and heart remind her never to underestimate the resilience within the young boy. With the little English Mohamed knows, he easily found a way to say, “I love my doctor. She helped me to walk.”
Chiropractic care making a difference
Dr. Lackner has treated children with many types of disorders and misalignments. Her practice has an emphasis in chiropractic pediatric care. She continues to help children with many types of disorders, such as autism and other diseases that impact fine and growth motor skills, sensory deficits, and developmental delays. She hopes the Mohamed story inspires and motivates other chiropractors to realize that with the right commitment and attitude, there are no limitations. “I knew in my heart he would walk someday. When we don’t limit ourselves, there’s no telling how much we can do.”