A cancer survivor’s transforming chiropractic care

A cancer survivor’s transforming chiropractic care

When Starlynna Hautamaki was having a lot of back pain in summer of 2023, she was concerned her cancer was coming back. In 2018, this 55-year-old mother of three was diagnosed with breast cancer and then underwent double mastectomy and bilateral reconstruction surgery.

She was experiencing horrible back pain that wrapped around to her chest and affected her posture. She also had loss of her arm strength and sensations of water dripping down her arms.

“My muscles felt like a rubber band drying up,” says Hautamaki. “I couldn’t walk up the stairs and my arm fatigue was so bad I couldn’t scroll on my tablet.”

The pain had gotten to the point where she hadn’t been able to work for the previous year and a half. Due to her arm fatigue, her husband had to put pillows underneath her arms to make her more comfortable.

After her oncologist and imaging scans confirmed the cancer had not returned, Hautamaki was referred to Dr. Eric Kirk, a chiropractor at Aurora Health Care, for her pain. Within the first visit in August 2023, she was able to stand up straight and walk. She has been seeing Dr. Kirk regularly ever since and has experienced transformational pain relief.

“It’s been remarkable,” explains Hautamaki. “The care has been so unique and is above and beyond what I thought it would be.”

Not only has her pain improved, but her posture, range of motion, and energy levels have also gotten better. She was even able to return to work and has gone back to working as a dental assistant for the first time in sixteen years.

“It’s so rewarding to see a patient’s quality of life improve,” Dr. Kirk shares. “I’m very grateful to play a role in Starlynna’s care.”

Now that her pain isn’t holding her back from daily activities and work, Hautamaki says she feels younger and like a whole new door has been opened up.

Now, she helps support others who are going through breast cancer journeys of their own, including sharing the pain relief she’s experienced from Dr. Kirk and chiropractic care.

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About the Author

Hannah Koerner
Hannah Koerner

Hannah Koerner is a Public Affairs Specialist with Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. In her free time, she enjoys biking, snowshoeing, and cheering on Wisconsin sports teams.