David Camp DC (Doctor of Chiropratic)
On April 15th 1998 while traveling to a Chiropractic convention outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado, during a blizzard, myself and 12 other Chiropractors were involved in a roll-over van accident. Two of us were unbuckled and were tossed around as the van rolled side over side several times, and at one point I struggled to keep myself and the passenger next to me from being ejected from the van as it rolled. After the crash I jumped out of the van and helped the others out. Then myself and 3 other Chiropractors hiked about 2 miles, in 10 inches of snow, late at night, in order to get help. Although we were at over 6000 ft elevation I barely broke a sweat on the hike which took nearly 40 minutes.
Immediately following the crash, I had some shoulder and low-back pain but I did not realize the extent of my injuries. I was 32 years old at the time of the crash and thought I was indestructible. I had been a college athlete and have exercised and trained most of my life and was currently training 3-5 days a week. My hobbies before the accident included weight lifting, backpacking, scuba diving, archery hunting, fishing, cross country running, played in the over 30 men’s hardball league, I built four wheel drive vehicles and log furniture, painted cars, played sports with my 2 young children, and would do any outdoor activity I was invited to do. Needless to say I was active and in great shape at the time of the crash.
As a Doctor of Chiropractic, my career is a physically demanding occupation. My days are spent pushing, pulling, lifting patients, and sometimes carrying patients into the office from their car when they are unable to walk in on their own. Before the accident I would see 70-90 patients a day on average, in an 8 hour day, 5 days a week. Following the accident, my life began to radically change for the worse. Over a period of 2 months I had increasing low-back pain. By July 1st, 1998 my lowback pain was so severe I could barely stand upright. My low-back became so weak that when I would bend over the adjusting table to work on patients my back would "go out"! I then had to reduce my office hours to 24 hrs a week and I worked Monday-Thursday ( I needed 3 days to recover enough so I could work again on Monday). For nearly 4 years I was unable to do ANY of my hobbies and had very limited ability to do basic things. I was only sleeping 2-3 hours a night, and even those hours were interrupted by pain. This made every aspect of my life more difficult. The pain robbed my quality of life and made it impossible to sit, bend, stand, or even lay for more than 30 minutes before the pain was intolerable. My intimate life with my beautiful wife of 10 years became non-existent. Overall, it was a daily struggle to survive and work day to day. Many times I considered taking my own life as I struggled to fight depression caused by pain, never did I have depression before the crash, but my Christian beliefs and love for my wife and children kept me from pulling the trigger. I would share these feelings with my wife and we spent many night shedding tears over this. My practice stats fell to treating 10-20 patients a day which severely hurt our finances and my desire to continue practicing. Each time I bent over my treatment table I had the fear that my low-back would go out and I knew it would put me on the floor for 1-2 months at a time. My spine was very unstable.
From 1998-2009 my quality of life spiraled downhill. I knew that I would need some form of surgical intervention at some point but the surgeons I saw recommended fusion. The MRI’s showed a torn and damaged L3 disc. I knew if I had fusion it would most likely end my career, since I had seen hundreds of failed low-back surgeries in my career, and I didn’t want to end up that way. I had heard there was some experimental artificial discs being developed but not in the USA, and I watched as they grew in popularity.
On January 1st, 2009, I was being intimate with my wife and my disc finally gave completely out. I spent 2 months in excruciating pain, unable to work at all. I had 2 very experienced Chiropractors working on me but they could not help me, like they had in the past. I had already missed 7 out of the last 14 months of practice for low-back episodes, and I realized now was the time to have surgery. Things couldn’t be any worse than they had been. I consulted with an ADR surgeon in Seattle and 2 German ADR specialists whom I met in Phoenix. The consensus was I am a great candidate for ADR, so I scheduled a date with the 2 German surgeons for surgery a month later. After I scheduled the surgery I didn’t have peace about my decision and I was very distressed. So I canceled the surgery.
I continued to research surgeons who do ADR and I found Dr. Bertagnoli at ProSpine in Bogen, Germany. His resume was impressive, and his experience seemed unmatched. I contacted Dr. B’s office and sent my MRI’s, CT’s and bone scans for them to look at. I was told that everything looked hopeful and so I scheduled surgery. I immediately had a sense of peace come over me that is hard to explain. I slept incredible that night.
I flew from Washington State to Munich, Germany, we were picked up and driven to Bogen. That day we met the ProSpine team and they were all awesome. I met Dr Bertagnoli and we discussed the procedure, what to expect, and outcomes. The following day I was admitted to the hospital. All the nurses at the Bogen hospital were caring and friendly and it felt more like I was staying in a hotel than a hospital. Even though we didn’t speak German, the nurses spoke enough English we had very little problems communicating.
The day of surgery, I felt some apprehension as it became real to me that I was going in for spinal surgery. A Chiropractor having spinal surgery? I had seen many failed surgeries and now I was consenting to having surgery? Have I lost my mind? Then a little voice in my head said "it will be alright. You can’t be any worse off than before". So I took the sleeping pills and went to sleep. I woke slightly in recovery. The next day I was able to sit up in bed with NO low-back pain, for the first time in 12 years. The second day I got out of bed and walked around my room and a little ways down the hall, again with no back pain, although my back felt a little "strange", like more flexible. On day 3 I walked all over the hospital grounds, ate lunch in the cafeteria, and went outside to enjoy the sunshine. Awesome, was all I could say! I felt like a new man! The only pain I had was the incision site, and it was minimal compared to the pain of the last 12 years. I was taking a light muscle relaxant and a 100mg pain reliever (not an Opiate), but even during the 12 years I rarely took anything for the pain.
The 16 hour flight back to Washington was not easy, but was tolerable. Once home I began a walking routine. I gradually added swimming and spinal exercises 6 weeks later. 4 months after surgery, I added weight training and gradually and carefully increased the weight. By month 6 I was back to work treating patients. I am as strong now as I was in 1998 before this crash.
It is a complete miracle! I have my life back….literally! And I am getting back into the hobbies I have missed for the last 12 years.
I can’t express enough my thanks and gratitude for the gift Dr. Bertagnoli gives to patients. It is all about quality of life and I am grateful for the expertise of Dr. B, and for the great ProSpine team, the awesome nurses at Bogen hospital, and the Artificial Disc technology. It has changed my life and my family’s life in a huge way. My only regret is that I didn’t have it done years ago.
Got to go for now, as I am leaving to go Snowboarding and skiing in the morning and I have to pack. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! You all are awesome and I consider each of my friends!
Best of health,
David Camp D.C.
President/CEO Camp Chiropractic Center Inc.
P.S. ProSpine has my expressed written consent to use my testimonial. Should anyone wish to ask me questions I would be willing to talk to them about my ADR experience.
Learn more at ==> Artificial Disc Replacement