Saturday, April 18, 2009

You'd never know it to look at me

So, I mentioned a few posts back that I was having back issues. Having bent over to find a glove which had fallen down the back of the hall bench, it went. Spent two days flat on my back and another three walking with one crutch. (A walking stick would've been better but I found the crutch in the Queenager's closet. Needs must.) It's still a bit fragile so I went to a chiropractor on Thursday. Have you ever been to one?

Here, (to avoid causing grevious injury and law suits) they take extensive X-rays first, and boy do they make interesting reading. Do you know, there were more things out of whack with my back than right? I don't know how I'm functioning to be perfectly honest. It all starts with the feet apparently, and mine aren't the same. The angles of my arches are different, which then throws the rest of the spine out. My hips are not lined up, I have four compressed lower verterbrae, mild scoliosis at the bottom, oh and not one of my neck bones are good. My neck is about 46 millimetres away from where it should be. It should gently curve backwards, (Audrey Hepburn was the example given), and mine looks completely straight, but is apparently curving the wrong way. This could add about 30 pounds of weight to it. That's a lot of bags of sugar and would probably account for the chronic headaches I've had for as long as I can remember.

So next came the erm, "treatment" for want of a better term. First I lay on a bed with a bump that went up and down my back. At the same time four sticky pads shot electric pulses into me. The doc kept asking me if I was OK, and I really wasn't sure. I have a fairly high pain threshold but this was just plain weird. In fact, a slow drip to the forehead and it would definitely have come under the Geneva Convention's guidelines on torture. (But let's not go there eh?)

Anyway, next came the rack. Obviously it has a proper name, (Flexion Decompression actually) but it was a rack. I lay on it, had my feet roped up, then the bed was extended and bent, literally stretching the spine. You should've heard the noises! The final bit was when the doc almost sat on top of me, put a knee on my shoulder, held my head by the jaw - and asked me if I wanted him to crack my neck. What a bloody stupid question. Worse, when I asked if it hurt, he said "It depends". Anyway, I let him do it and to be honest, it's more shocking than painful. My resulting "Oohs" and "Blimeys" could be heard in the waiting room. As I said, it doesn't exactly hurt...

I have to go three times a week for three weeks, and then "we'll see". It's more of a scheduling challenge than anything else. He called me later that day to see how I was, and he assured me that there was nothing to worry about - a lot of people are walking around with this kind of damage.

But take a look at this diagram. Have a good poke around. It was a real eye opener for me. I warn you, it's a bit like cracking open a medical dictionary - you'll think you have everything.

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18 comments:

  1. I did go to a chiropractor for over a year and I did feel a lot better, but mine only manually manipulated my back and made the bed judder to put my hips back in alignment. Hopefully your treatment will settle down over the next few visits because I don't think I could stand what you describe for too long. Big question - do you feel any better? Good luck :)

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  2. Hmmm.... chiropractors are one of the things about America that makes me hang my head in shame, how did a British person end up in this quagmire? They find things wrong with you that don't exist--I'd suggest instead you find a proper physical therapist for your back! (I work in biomechanics, I have some credentials for expression of this strong opinion! And yes, I know, if a chiropractor happens to read this they will defend their craft to the finish.)

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  3. Amazing diagrams. Wow. Poor you - having a bad back is hideous. And yes, I have been to a chiropractor quite a few times. Takes some getting used to (I still scream out when my neck is cracked). But actually I think they're amazing. Although by the sounds of things they are definitely finding irrelevant things wrong with you - I think they do this to cover their backs (excuse the pun)! Hope it gets sorted x

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  4. Never been ot a chiropractor and, after your description, I hope I never have to. I hope everything lines up for you in the end.

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  5. In his defence, the things that showed up on the x-rays can't really be denied. I felt "relieved" physically after the session and will see what the next three weeks brings. I am more interested in getting rid of my headaches to be honest, and spent years with allergists and neurologists, none of whom were successful.
    The chiropractor however, is more concerned with the state of my lower back and is trying to prevent further compression and herniation.

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  6. I go regularly to the chiropractor. The only thing I can say against them is that they are blimmen expensive & can't be had on the National health.
    I also have scoliosis and discs are compressed that lead to sciatica and nothing matches in my skeleton. Join the club!
    I have to go every three months to keep things moving & *oiled*!
    I would NEVER try & manage without my chiropractor now though!

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  8. Funny thing is, not only can I charge this on my health insurance, it's far cheaper than any regular doctor I could visit AND the guy is a board certified Physician as well.

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  9. I have tried a chiropractor & it did improve my back. My clicky neck is another story..I love physical therapy however I am still not cured after 3 weeks & I am getting a little frustrated. Maybe it is time to try an alternative cure eg.acupuncture or something else???? Good luck!

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  10. My husband goes to a 'Feldenchrist' practitioner (welcome to California!) and his quote about being manipulated is 'I can take the pain if you can take the screaming'.

    On a more practical note - my Dad used to have chronic back pain, off work for days at a time. He took up Pilates 5 years ago and hasn't had a single recurrence since.

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  11. Love that quote. Thing is I am fairly strong in the stomach area (underneath the flab, that is) and work out regularly. I blame years of ballet, where you stand in ridiculous postures, plus of course, blogging - looking down at the keyboard in my case!

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  12. ...all of which reminds me; I must book another appointment with my chiropractor. (Once converted to them, it's unlikely you'll stop...)

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  13. I prefer osteopaths, but it's a personal thing - seems a bit more organic somehow. Though hvae had McTimoney chiropractic and Network chiropractic which are a bit less high-tech and weird.
    Feldenkrais is great! Ditto Pilates and ALexander Technique for recurrent back problems (though you need to get sorted first).
    btw, shirodhara (an ayurvedic treatment) involves having warm oil gently dripped onto your forehead and actually it is blissful!
    Do hope the back gets sorted soon - horrible horrible horrible.

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  14. I have always been terrified of going to the Chiropractor, until I took my son at 4 weeks old... I don't think they are that gentle with adults though. Hope you are feeling better!

    I have tagged you in a meme that's going around, hope you don't mind. Please pop over and visit my blog to check it out when you have a chance!

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  15. Oh my word! You are very brave. I think I'd be cross-eyed from all that jargon and then scared to death to even venture into the chiropractor's office. I've seen people get their neck popped... not for me.

    Hope you feel better soon.

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  16. I've been to chiropractors, unfortunately it never helped, permanantely.
    My BIL also went. They manipulated his neck, (been having headaches), trapped the corotid artery, he had a stroke, lost his memory, lost his businesses, and eventually ended up in a nursing home.
    I suppose it depends on their level of skill, and honesty.

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  17. oowww! are you typing from a prone position? hope you get better soon - soon enough to read my new novel, 'busy woman seeks wife' out in the us now(ish). it's set in london, so hope it may give you a moment's nostalgia xx

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  18. I really shouldn't have read this so early in the morning! Hope you're feeling a little better. Oh, and good luck with the resultant 737 letters from your insurance company and the various health providers over the coming twelve months!

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