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Small changes, big relief

Chiropractor's treatment helps woman
overcome back pain
Chiropractic treatment helps Kathy Miiller overcome her back pain
After receiving treatment and education from Jeff Askew, MD, Kathy Miiller is free of constant back pain.
  As a lifelong athlete, Kathy Miiller, a former All-America sprinter at the University of Nebraska, stuck with familiar workouts when she visited the gym.

The regimen included power lifts such as squats, lunges and hang cleans.

When the Bismarck resident visited Jeff Askew, MD for back pain, the chiropractor had a tongue-in-cheek question for Miiller when she described her regular exercise routine.

“He said: ‘What Olympic event are you training for?’”
Miiller said.

The point was she no longer needed to look for short-term results as a high-level athlete, and she was free to trade in parts of her old routine for exercises that had a better benefit for her long term.

“I had to think differently about how I worked out and exercised,” said Miiller, who is now 38. “He gave me a lot of back-friendly exercises and workouts to strengthen my core.”

Such is the primary motivation for Dr. Askew of Sanford Health Chiropractic. While he does provide treatments and pain relief consisting of chiropractic manipulation, his ultimate goal is to provide his patients with long-term

solutions—home management and prevention strategies—so they don’t incur the expense and aggravation of repeated chiropractic visits.

“This is my favorite part of practice,” Dr. Askew said. “It’s my passion. I love to uncover those little posture or behavioral habits that people don’t even think about but that can make a huge difference in their lives. I love the detective work and then the teaching and motivational challenges of getting people to change these behaviors and replace simple activities with better techniques. I don’t want to only treat pain; I want to prevent it from recurring.”

Miiller was one who had persistent back pain, but after visiting Dr. Askew and using his tips on how to keep her back healthy, she’s pain free.

“I had been to a number of chiropractors through my high school and college careers, but I never met one like him,” said Miiller, who competed in the 1996 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials. “He focuses a lot on mechanics and not just fixing the immediate problem. He thinks about preventive measures.”

Miiller first started to experience back pain during her track and field career. When she started having children, the back trouble resurfaced. After her second child, the pain became so unbearable Miiller’s doctor suggested she seriously consider not having more children.

  Dr. Jeff Askew
Jeff Askew, MD

She had a ruptured disk and one or two bulging disks in her lower back, and caring for her children aggravated those injuries.

Until she consulted with Dr. Askew.

“He set up an hour-long session where we talked about just what I do during the day—especially as a mom,” Miiller said. “We talked about everyday things that make a huge difference in your back.”

Along with chiropractic treatments, Dr. Askew provided Miiller with a list of tips, such as changing her pillow, and advice on how to modify her daily routine to prevent back pain from recurring. Dr. Askew spent time teaching Miiller how to put the tips into practice.

“He showed me not just how to sit and to lift but how to take groceries out of my car, pick up a pot from the stove, empty the dishwasher, pick up and hold my toddlers and clean toys off the floor,” Miiller said. “When you do those things improperly every day, they can add up to a lot of back problems. I was amazed at the difference it made.”

After using what Dr. Askew taught her, Miiller’s back started to feel better than it had in a
long time.

Shortly after, she had her third child.

“It went well,” Miiller said. “I went to see Dr. Askew every few months after that, and, after a while, I really didn’t have to go back in.”

Not even after she gave birth to twins three years later.

Miiller now has five children ranging from 2 to 11 years old, and she continues to work out regularly, though she’s adjusted from power lifts to a routine of lower weight and higher repetitions.

“My back is a non-issue,” Miiller said. “I don’t have back pain in the morning. I never have to worry about it.”

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