Dr. Jake Lyhne
Senior year in High School, on a Friday night at a home game, my third year starting as a Varsity Center on our basketball team…one momentary incident changed the course of my life forever!
To this day I still recall the ‘thud’ sound and the immense pain in my low back as I came rocketing to the hardwood floor of our school’s gymnasium. It was one of those pains that I think you never forget.
My mom, a Registered Nurse, came down from the stands and ushered me off the court and immediately into the car on our way to the ER, confusing coaches and teammates alike. She knew something had happened to her son.
Otherwise a very active and athletic guy, with a youthful vision and dream of one day working with athletes as a Sports Physician, my experience with my own sports injury sent me into a whole other realm of healthcare than I had envisioned. But I’ll get to that in a minute…
I remember waiting in the ER waiting room at 9pm on a Friday night for more than 3 hours in immense pain and discomfort! With each passing minute the pain in my low back intensified and throbbed. To the point where I could no longer stand up straight. I was jack-knifed at the waist like a 150 year old man, and no one was there to offer help. Just my mother by my side comforting me.
It must have been close to 1am when I finally couldn’t take it. We left, with no solutions, no answers, not even a meeting with a doctor. I felt hopeless and distraught at the thought, “Is this it? Am I finished playing sports at 17 years of age?” I cried that night in my bed, fearing the worst.
The next day, my mom called the hospital to see if I could be seen by a Sports doctor. “Two weeks” was the answer she got. Two weeks!!! So, for days I hobbled around in pain, unable to sleep, to care for myself, unable to carry a backpack to school, even to bathe. I was partially crippled.
When the day arrived for me to see “THE leading Specialist” in sports-related injuries, I thought to myself, “Finally, this guy is going to fix me!” Well, to my disappointment the visit lasted less than 2 minutes. The doctor exited the room so fast my mom barely was able to grab the prescription note rifled at her. Before the door fully closed, I, otherwise VERY respectful towards not only adults but also doctors, muttered the phrase “That’s all you got!” It was as if somehow at 17 years of age I knew more than this veteran and highly acknowledged doctor did about the body. I knew there was more to this than just drugs. I received NO exam, barely a History, NO tests, NO X-Ray…nothing. Oh wait, I got a scribbled piece of paper with a prescription for pain and muscle relaxers. In other words: “Get out of my office, you’re wasting my time.”
When we came home, my dad anxiously wanted to hear how the appointment went. Not well. My dreams of becoming a Sports Physician went out the door in 2 minutes in meeting with that doctor. So, out came a videotape from the late 60’s, possibly early 70’s that my dad had somewhere in a dusty box in the attic from Denmark. It was a Chiropractor who had made a video (VHS mind you) of some simple low back strengthening exercises. My dad figured, “Hey, it can’t hurt.” I painfully complied, and after literally 30 seconds of performing one exercise, I was standing up straight. Within about 2 days, I was moving almost pain-free. By the following week, I was back at practice with my teammates!