Hank Williams – A Story of a  musician, Chronic Pain, Doctors, and Addiction

Hank Williams is often considered to be one of the most influential singers, songwriters, and musicians of the 20th century. His life was cut short at the age of 29, on January 1, 1953. If by some miracle, he were still alive today, he would be 99 years old.

Hank Williams suffered from debilitating back pain for a good part of his life. It is reported that in 1941 he suffered a back injury after falling from a bull during a rodeo. Prior to the injury in Texas, beginning in the late 1930’s, Williams had already started drinking. Some sources say he started drinking heavily at age 13. It has also been reported that his substance abuse worsened dramatically in the presence of low back pain.

In late 1951, Hank Williams fell while hunting, and his back pain returned with a vengeance. It was bad enough that painkillers like morphine and alcohol became his medicine to ease the pain. On December 13, 1951, a little over 1 year before his death, he had spinal fusion surgery at Vanderbilt University Hospital. He was only 28 years old at the time of the surgery.

The drugs and alcohol had begun to affect his heart, and with the addition of Amphetamines, Seconal, choral hydrate and morphine by a convicted forger and fake doctor by the name of Horace Marshall, his heart problems worsened significantly, and by New Year’s Day, 1953 he was dead of “Insufficiency of the right ventricle of the heart.” According to medical records, Hank Williams had been in a pretty bad fight a few days before, where he had also suffered an injury to the groin, and to his head. But by all accounts, it was the heart attack that got him.

Back pain has had a strong impact on the demise of many of America’s great musicians. Tom Petty, Prince, Michael Jackson, among others, all had been using pain killers and other drugs for back pain at the time of their deaths.

Back pain severely affects over 80% of Americans during their lifetime. Back pain is one of the leading reasons for prescribing addictive pain killers, like opioids. Opioids are now the leading cause of drug overdoses in The United States.

There is no record of Hank Williams ever seeing a chiropractor. Had he the opportunity, it seems unlikely he would have tried chiropractic care in the presence of drugs. Drugs are easy.

One of the best things about chiropractic care is that it works extremely well, and is drug free. There is no chance of addiction to chiropractic care, only a choice made to willingly receive adjustments for a lifetime. When the efficacy of chiropractic care is compared to painkillers, the results are comparable. But the “treatments” are not in the same class.

Chiropractic is drug free, extraordinarily safe, it is very effective and improves function of the spine as well as other parts of the body. Performance improves under care, your brain works better while under care, musicians are also stronger, more resilient, faster, less likely to injure oneself or miss gigs. Balance and perception improve. There is even evidence that your immune system and blood pressure improve while under chiropractic care. The comparison of chiropractic to medications is flawed because it’s comparing apples to oranges. Chiropractic outclasses drugs for low back pain many times over.

Hank Williams used to miss shows due to his back pain. Prince resorted to street drugs that ultimately served as the straw that broke the camel’s back. Michael Jackson hired a doctor who would give him whatever Michael wanted, and that ultimately killed him.

When you are self employed dentist, or a freelance website designer, or a career musician like Hank Williams, your health must remain intact in order for you to work. You must be comfortable in order to be able to perform. You need sleep, headache free days, and a spine that is healthy and doesn’t hurt.

There are drug free solutions for those who can’t take medications, have addiction issues, or simply like to keep their bodies free of chemicals.

It doesn’t matter to us what your reason for care is, chiropractic covers many of the bases regardless of your motivation.

Dr. Lou Jacobs has been working with musicians of all levels for over 20 years. He has helped musicians prevent surgeries, reduce or eliminate medications, and improve performance for years to come, without these of drugs and surgeries. It can be done, but you have to be motivated enough to call.