Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Watching back pain vanish
A retiree suffered for 20 years until spinal disc decompression gave him relief.
By CHANDRA BROADWATER, Times Staff Writer
Published December 14, 2007
The Spinemed unit at Dr. Tim Terlep's chiropractic office slowly and painlessly stretches patient Harry Dunleavy's back, relieving chronic pain and providing an alternative to surgery.
[Ron Thompson | Times]
[Ron Thompson | Times]
Chiropractor Tim Terlep checks on patient Harry Dunleavy as he undergoes spinal disc decompression therapy. He can watch his progress on a monitor above him.
The pain used to shoot down Harry Dunleavy's back and through his left leg. The 75-year-old could barely walk. Sleep rarely happened.
Since his accident 20 years ago, pain has been a way of life. The retired New York City pipefitter fell 14 feet when the ladder he stood on during a job collapsed. He was left with a broken back and broken knees.
Two herniated discs and a pinched nerve were later added to the collection of afflictions. Aside from pain management therapy and shots in his back, it seemed as if surgery was the only alternative.
But then his longtime chiropractor, Dr. Tim Terlep, told Dunleavy about a new therapy called spinal disc decompression. Three weeks into the treatment at Terlep's office, the shooting pains are nearly gone.
"I didn't think it was going to work," Dunleavy said Thursday morning just before one of his daily sessions. "I still have a little bit of tightness on the left side of my back. But the pain is nothing like I used to have before. It really is like a miracle worker."
Spinal disc decompression works like this: a patient lies down on a special, computerized table that reacts to muscle movement in the body and applies pressure to areas that require it. What results is more fluid build up in the disc, which reduces the pressure and the pain.
Terlep, who has practiced in Spring Hill for nearly 20 years, said that the machine actually responds to the postural muscles more quickly than the brain - every 2.5 milliseconds - and then adapts force and direction used more accurately. Patients, who are strapped onto the table, have the option of watching a monitor that traces the force applied to their backs.
"The use of poundage is a lot smaller," Terlep said. "It's a lot different than older treatments that used traction or pulley and rod systems. Those use about 200 percent more force to accomplish what we are by simply angling the table. And it's more comfortable. Most patients fall asleep."
The typical session lasts about 30 minutes, and goes daily from four to six weeks. With the right stretching and exercise, Terlep said results can last for at least three to five years. Patients with more degenerative or arthritic conditions might have to start treatment again earlier.
Terlep started offering the treatment about three months ago after researching it for about two years. He finally invested in what he thought was the latest technology available in the field with his high-tech machine. In total, spinal disc decompression has been around for about 25 years.
Not covered by most insurance companies, it costs $3,995 for four to six weeks of treatment. Terlep said that includes anything a patient may need during the daily regimen. And though it may seem costly, it often ends up costing less over time than surgery and continual pain management.
While lying on the table, Dunleavy talked about how he was able to have his insurance company cover the therapy. He said that being able to walk again is great.
"The last thing I wanted to think about was surgery," he said. "I know guys that had it and ended up on pain killers for the rest of their lives. While it might work for some, it wasn't for me. So far, this machine saved me. But I still can't golf yet."