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a conversation with lori about her sick daughter


Functional Medicine

“So I want to thank you again Dr. Schierling.  I enjoy reading your pages as you are not selling anything. Other pages I have visited with similar postings all seem to be selling their own supplements or services.  I reached out and you were honest about my daughter not being a good candidate for your form of treatment.  I’m not gonna lie, I wish you were closer to my area anyway.” Taken from Lori’s final email response to me.

Lori is correct.  I’m not selling anything on my website — even though I have built up enough traffic to make a killing doing so.  What I’m doing is providing you with information.  For those wanting to come see me from a DISTANCE, my goal is to weed out the people I know up front who are not good candidates for what I do in my office.  My goal is to treat only the people I truly believe I can help (HERE).  Below is a recent email conversation with Lori from somewhere unnamed on the East Coast, concerning her sick daughter (I SOMETIMES DO CASE HISTORIES for everyone to see).  Lori was wondering if I could help her daughter’s costochondritis For the record, costochondritis is an inflammation where the rib heads meet the breast bone.

Jan 27, 2016
Dr. Schierling,

My 13 year old daughter was diagnosed back in May with costochondritis.  At that time she had been battling multiple bouts of strep throat and possibly a second mono infection (she had mono at age 10).  She didn’t do anything strenuous over the summer (no camp, no theater, no dance, no amusement parks, etc).  She tried cheerleading for the first time in years in August and it set her way back.  

We went back to her doctor who sent us to pain management (for the chest pain).  They gave her lidocaine cream and advised physical therapy.   PT advised she was hypermobile and had weak muscles. He worked a lot on her hips to get them aligned. She came home from physical therapy bruised and swollen at times.

This prompted a visit to a Rheumatologist who didn’t do much other than order an MRI, which showed Pectus Excavatum.   She had been seeing an acupuncturist which provided a little relief but wouldn’t last.  It was a good counter to the pain caused by Physical Therapy.  Her echo-cardiogram came back okay, and we are awaiting her results from the pulmonary function test.

Her orthopedist thinks that musculoskeletal disruption from an acrobatic move she did months prior to the costochondritis diagnosis is causing her pain. She felt / heard a click or pop, and it hurt a couple of days but then she was okay.  While we wait for an appointment in late February for pain management (mind you, we only gave her Advil and topicals, and the Advil caused esophagitis so she had to stop taking that and start taking Zantac instead) we have started seeing a chiropractor.  The first gentle thing he did provided some relief (placebo effect?).  She was the best I had seen her in some time.  Shortly after he started working muscles, and she isn’t feeling so great. 

What I have learned so far during this is that all these things are kind of related yet they tell me they are not the cause of her problem.  She is hypermobile, has pectus excavatum, may or may not have costochondritis, has muscle spasms, her spleen tip is palpable again (mono) but they didn’t seem concerned, the chiropractor thinks she might have a hiatal hernia, X-rays and MRI seem okay other than pectus excavatum, mild scoliosis that orthopedic doesn’t even consider scoliosis because it’s so minor……..

Is she a candidate for what you do?  You are a long way away but I would consider it.  Our chiropractor is following the pain for now but even he says he really hasn’t dealt with something like this before.

Thank you,

Jan 28, 2016

A couple things.  Firstly, unless it is grossly severe, the PE has nothing to do with anything.  Secondly, she would obviously not tolerate what I do.  It sounds to me like a systemic thing — probably autoimmune (commonly triggered by viral infections such as mono — EBV / Cytomegalovirus — or any number of other reasons).  Sounds like there’s probably a history of lots of antibiotics as well.  Tons of info on my site about addressing these problems.  Read my post called “EXIT STRATEGY“.

Dr. Russ

Jan 28, 2016
Thank you for responding and for being upfront that she wouldn’t be receptive to your treatment. She seemed to do well with the electric stim and the basic adjustment, but not so much with the muscle work.  I will look up your web site.  Thanks again.  I do appreciate it.


Feb 12, 2016   (After spending a couple of weeks studying)
Oh my goodness,

After your initial response I have been reading your Facebook and website pages, and it brought me back to when my daughter was an infant – colic, severe and was given prescription drops.  She also had baby eczema.  Her first breathing treatment at an ER was when she was 10 months old.  She was later diagnosed with asthma.

My daughter has dealt with GI issues forever.  As a young child we finally went to a GI doc and went the psych route at the same time.  Celiac was negative and she was only mildly lactose intolerant so specialist said it was probably IBS, made worse by anxiety.  So we went with that to no avail. 

Psych meds had terrible effects on her – all the SSRI’s [antidepressants] with the worst being Zoloft.  I swore never again (so if the pain management clinic we go to in a couple of weeks even tries this road again they can forget it).  She was able to tolerate Buspar [anti-anxiety] but it did not help her GI problems at all.  Things got worse for a while with the start of her menstrual cycle, and for about a year she would get diarrhea, and a day or two later she would throw up — then the following week she would have her period like clockwork.

After that first year I thought the stomach problems subsided a bit.  Now I am thinking she just got used to it.  I am noticing she still has bouts of loose bowels and bouts of constipation, I guess she just doesn’t complain as much about it.   Any nausea complaints get dismissed by her doctors as a consequence of the pain.

I have since bought some items in the gluten free variety, and just today downloaded the FODMAPS diet. I don’t know if any of this will help her rib/sternum pain, but it might help her stomach.  If our current chiropractor is correct and she does have a hiatal hernia, I’m sure eating better will help that as well since she has been on the typical terrible teenage diet the last couple of years.

Today you posted about NSAIDS and I almost commented but decided against it (for privacy issues I guess) but you may post the info if you like….  It was ibuprofen use (the thing the doctors told her to take) for her pain, which was round the clock during physical therapy, that caused esophagitis.  That pain was probably worse than her original pain and scary for her because she felt like she couldn’t get a good breath and had to find awkward positions to lay in to get some relief and rest.  I knew long-term use could cause stomach problems and possibly an ulcer but I thought that would be very long term use.  I had no idea that it could irritate the esophagus in such a short period of time. 

So I want to thank you again Dr. Schierling.  I enjoy reading your pages as you are not selling anything. Other pages I have visited with similar postings all seem to be selling their own supplements or services.  I reached out and you were honest about my daughter not being a good candidate for your form of treatment.  I’m not gonna lie, I wish you were closer to my area anyway.


Let me first say that the following is entirely speculation — an “educated guess” if you will.  The cool thing is that even if I am wrong, the method I recommend to start her down the path of solving her problem will be quite similar.  And unlike the numerous drugs she has taken, there are no real side-effects from using THIS APPROACH

Due to her history of ECZEMA and IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, we can be pretty sure that she is AUTOIMMUNE (does she have a positive ANA blood test? — not a great test but a start).  The ASTHMA could possibly be due to Antibiotics taken as an infant (HERE and HERE).  Coupled with her symptoms of Rhinitis, it might indicate Lori’s use of ACETAMINOPHEN when she was pregnant.  It might also be the result of her daughter’s ANTIDEPRESSANT use (also in previous link).  It could also be the result of VACCINES.  Please note that I am not picking on Lori here, as all of these things are promoted by the average physician as completely safe, whether pregnant or not.

Add COLIC and ANXIETY into the mix, and we can rest assured that Lori’s daughter has some pretty serious GUT HEALTH issues (I would be surprised if she does not have both DYSBIOSIS and a LEAKY GUT).  Although these problems are easily tested for, they are rarely tested for in mainstream medicine, mainly because 99 times out of 100 they are caused by the very drugs being used to treat them — the worst offender being ANTIBIOTICS.  Particularly disconcerting once you realize that 80% of your body’s entire Immune System is made up of the BACTERIA THAT LIVE IN THE GUT (aka your ‘Microbiome’).   On top of everything else, the fact that this girl has had mono twice, tells me her Immune System is extremely weak (Mayo’s website says, “Most people who have infectious mononucleosis, or mono, get it only once. Rarely, however, mononucleosis symptoms may recur“).

All of this leads me to believe that she probably has something called HYPOCHLORHYDRIA (not enough stomach acid).  Because the symptoms are erroneously believed by most doctors to be caused by too much stomach acid instead of not enough, she was given a PPI DRUG (Zantac), which in reality, makes the problem worse.  Now add in NSAIDS, whose number one side effect is destruction of the GI tract, and you have a living, breathing, nightmare on your hands — a nightmare that the average doctor is clueless about solving.   As you can see from her history, they love to order tests like MRI’S, but don’t understand basic physiology, like the importance of having plenty of strong Stomach Acid (see link at top of paragraph).

A couple of observations.  Because Lori mentions it, I will second the motion that the TYPICAL TEEN DIET is bad — probably far worse than most parents can even comprehend (dietary stress, like other forms of stress, leads to ADRENAL FATIGUE).  Also, the FODMAPS DIET is a good starting point.   Be sure to realize two things.  Firstly, that most “GLUTEN FREE” foods are just as bad as their gluten-containing counterparts — only without the gluten.  Secondly, the fact that she did not test positive for Celiac means little more than she is not mounting a wheat-induced autoimmune attack against her own small intestine.  If you understand NON-CELIAC GLUTEN SENSITIVITY (far more common than Celiac), you will realize that GLUTEN (or its CROSS-REACTORS, of which milk is one) could be inducing autoimmune attacks against any one of the millions of other tissues in her body besides her small intestine.  This is not my opinion.  It’s what the peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals over and over again.

As for the “costochondritis”, it’s extremely difficult for me to make a judgement about this.  Just guessing, but I am not convinced it is either a RIB SUBLUXATION or a RIB TISSUE PROBLEM (or for that matter, a hiatal hernia).  There are any number of points (the ‘Liver Point’ on the 3rd rib to the right of the sternum, Chapman’s Liver / Gallbladder, and Pancreas Points, and Murphy’s Point, just to name a few) that indicate pain being reflexed to the chest / upper abdomen from internal problems (often digestive).  It could also be part of the whole autoimmune thing.  Be aware that because we only have tests for a relatively small number of Autoimmune Diseases (HERE is a short list), many — maybe even the majority — go undiagnosed.

Unfortunately, cases like Lori’s daughter are common.  No; I take that back.  They are the norm — and all too often they are either being caused or heavily contributed to by the medical profession.  The crazy thing about the practice of medicine is that even though “BEST EVIDENCE” proves that much of what they are doing on a day-to-day basis is not nearly as “evidence-based” as we have been led to believe.  But the band plays on.  The prescriptions continue to be written in record numbers.  The money continues to pour in.  And little seems to change.  It’s business as usual.  And who suffers because of it?  The millions upon millions of Americans struggling with CHRONIC PAIN and CHRONIC INFLAMMATORY ILLNESSES.

BTW, Chiropractic Adjustments do much more than deliver a “placebo effect” (HERE is a cool example that I cannot personally take credit for even though I was part of).

I wish you well Lori, and please keep me in the loop as to what you figure out with your daughter.  There is likely someone well-versed in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE quite close to you.
Dr. Russ

TODAY: FEB 15, 2016
Wow, that was amazing.

I expected a small excerpt maybe about the NSAIDS causing worse problems not the entire history and blog about her. I literally read your blog about the low stomach acid last night!  I will absolutely let you know what comes of all this. I will also reach out to a functional medicine practitioner as I think I have an idea of how our pain management visit is going to go.

Thanks so much,


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