When Marc McClintock first began experiencing back pain, he chalked it up to the rigors of his racing career. For more than 36 years, Mr. McClintock has built and raced stock cars, high-powered race vehicles that compete on short oval or circular dirt or paved tracks.
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Explore This IssueFebruary 2018
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“I live in a commercial building, with my residence on the top floor and my racing shop on the bottom,” Mr. McClintock explains. “It’s not unusual for me to spend hours lying on the floor in my garage working on a transmission, and I thought that, combined with years of racing, might have led to my back pain.”
Despite the discomfort, Mr. McClintock continued building dirt cars and even started a new job in 2015 as a high-performance racing technology instructor at Ranken Technical College in St. Louis where he teaches students how to build engines and effectively work in a machine shop.
To combat his back pain, Mr. McClintock saw a chiropractor who offered him temporary pain relief. Despite regular chiropractic treatments, his soreness became so severe that Mr. McClintock found it impossible to perform daily activities.
“In the summer of 2016, I began experiencing excruciating pain in my back, knees, neck and arms,” Mr. McClintock says. “My wife, Tracy, had to help me put on my shoes and socks and even button my shirt.”
As his symptoms progressed, Mr. McClintock made an appointment with his family doctor. Even after performing a battery of tests, Mr. McClintock’s doctor was unable to pinpoint the cause of his unrelenting pain. Mr. McClintock remembers feeling helpless as his symptoms worsened.
“One day, I stood upright after sitting in my recliner, and the pain was so intense that it took my breath away,” Mr. McClintock says. “When my pain got to the point where I was unable to lift a fork to my mouth, I was sure that I would soon require round-the-clock care at a skilled nursing facility.”
It wasn’t until he received a referral to Richard Brasington, MD, a rheumatologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis (and a past associate editor of The Rheumatologist), that Mr. McClintock was able to receive an accurate diagnosis.
“Dr. Brasington told me I had ankylosing spondylitis (AS), a degenerative autoimmune disease, also referred to as arthritis of the spine,” Mr. McClintock says. “I was told that although there is no cure for AS, it is manageable with injections of adalimumab.”