One messed up body

by Roxy
(Estes Park, CO)

In order to give you some idea of what my chiropractor has to deal with when I visit, here is some background to my injuries:

I have what one chiropractor calls 'military back.' In other words, my back is straight and lacks the curvature of a healthy back. As a child, one doctor told me that I had too many disks linked together at the bottom of my spine at the coccyx.(I think I'm right there). He told me I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 35-40! (I became a volunteer firefighter at the age of 40, so there!)

When I was in my 30's, I was physically abused. I was pushed down the stairs, hit with sticks etc. I have repeated fractures in C5, C6, C7, and now have DDD in those spots.

Also in my 30s I had something akin to tennis elbow. Therapeutic sessions made things worse. They would do this heat therapy on it, which felt wonderful, but afterwards my muscles would cramp, and over time it spread down to my wrist and up to my shoulder. The cramping was so bad, it acted like a wrench and actually pulled my shoulder blade, collar bone, and rotator cuff all out of whack. I don't fully understand what was going on, I just know it wasn't fun!

In addition to all that, I have injuries in two lower disks, I think its L1 and S5, or something like that. These tend to slip from side to side, and the pain is so severe there have been times I haven't been able to get out of bed, sit on the toilet, etc., and have had to crawl to get anywhere. Along with an injured knee, repeated ankle injuries, mortons neuroma in my feet... well, you get the idea. I'm a mess!!!!

I have all sorts of pain that is unexplicable, and my memory is getting bad very quickly. I suspect all these injuries play a part, but I can't be sure.

So, two winters ago when I couldn't walk, couldn't work, and didn't have any money, one very kind chiropractor took me into his care, and got me walking again, without charging me. I went to him for months without him charging me. When I finally was able to work, and got a job, he finally let me pay him. I owe so much to his help, but I sometimes think all my injuries are overwhelming. They all play havoc on each other, and I'm always suffering some kind of pain. Right now it's a rib that hurts, the top of my right hip, and the whole of my right arm, and of course my neck and shoulder.

You see, I went to a different chiropractor (his dad actually, when Chris was away), and his dad didn't help much. I went in with the hip pain, and the rib pain, and I told him about these. Normally Chris gets stuck in and pulls legs, and twists and pops my hip, and after a day the pains go away. But despite my telling his dad about the hip and so on, all he did was put some little angled foam under my hip and do a pressure point thing for my lower back. It didn't help at all.

And although my upper neck popped like crazy, I wonder if he did more bad than good, because I wasn't getting the arm numbness, hand swelling and aching prior to that last visit (it could be coincidence, along with the onslaught of winter weather also, but I cant be sure).

I also went to another chiropractor in my own town one day. You see I live about 25-miles away from Chris, and it's a long drive through a windy mountain canyon. It was summer, I was busy, I needed help NOW as I was on the point of being unable to walk, but I didn't have time to drive to see Chris. I told the new chiropractor the problem, and even told him where the problem stemmed from, but he missed it entirely. I was still in pain that night, but couldn't go in again until the next day because I couldn't get away from work. I called the same day as the session, but had to go in the next day. He finally got the problem fixed, but he worked on me so hard my muscles actually felt as though they had been torn a little. The disk that was out was a simple fix when he finally got it. How on earth could he have missed it? That is what I was puzzled over, and then I had to practically beg them not to charge me again.

This is a biggie for me. If I go into a chiropractor and he doesn't get the problem fixed (and its a relatively simple fix, not one of those instances that requires a series of visits), I don't think I should have to pay again. If my appointment is at the end of the day, there would be no time to return on the same day if the issue isn't taken care of. I think that an allowance of 24-hours from the appointment time should be given, and as long as a patient CALLS in during those 24-hours, they should be able to return for free. $40 is not peanuts to someone like me, it is a LOT of money.

And sometimes it seems like some chiropractors don't listen. They just go ahead and do the standard 'service' which is a basic run through of their standard pops and cracks, and don't take into account the unique problems of the individual, or listen to the patient, who knows how their body feels better than anyone.

As for my Chiropractor, Dr. Chris, I think he does a very good job. I'm always in the office for the full 15-minutes and often longer. However, I may be moving away from here soon, and I dread having to find a new one, as most of them seem so generic. How does one find a good chiropractor that is affordable. Recommendations don't seem to work, as I've been to some that have been recommended, and have been disappointed.

Anyhow, this is my story, and what I've learned over the past few years of dealing with chiropractic, and the same goes for acupuncture. Some acupuncturists are just so generic, especially those that have gone to school in the US. (I find those that learned in China are better, and know more tricks).

So that's my beef. I wish everyone luck.

Hello Roxy,
Actually, reckoning that you have a "messed up body" I don't you have a beef!

And you have been very, very, very lucky to find a man like Dr Chris who not only can fix you up, but doesn't charge you because of your circumstances.

Thinking of moving? There's only one place I'd move to: through that canyon to where Dr Chris practises. And start paying him now that he does done such miracles and you can get a job. WEll done, Dr Chris!

Seriously, Roxy, the difference between chiropractors is in the first place how conscience they are. Willing to think, able to struggle with difficult backs and necks, do proper examinations, write up proper notes... then there are the lazy ones who just give you the "flying seven", make no notes, no exam, no result. And you know what I'm talking about.

Secondly, one might have worked out a knack, a technique that works particularly well for you. Others just haven't perfected the art of chiropractic, either because they aren't conscience enough to work on their weaknesses, or simple don't have the coords.

My opinion: If you have, in your own words a "messed up back" then don't expect anybody to do miracles. There ain't anything simple with your back, so just because they don't get you right in one treatment is no grounds to demand your money back.

But I don't get all this wandering about to different chiros. Gas is cheap in the States, 25 mi is around the corner. Stay with the man with the golden hands. And pay him. And don't emigrate to another state!

Thanks for your contribution.

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mrs B has had one of the nastiest of conditions; vertigo caused by a disturbance in the inner ear. Falling repeatedly and vomiting she consulted her doctor but medication didn't help. After two sessions of the Epley manoeuvres she was 50 percent better. After two weeks she was 75 percent improved; no longer vomiting or falling. She's not enjoying the Brandt Daroff home exercises.

2. Mr S, a 48 year old man, has right low back pain, groin pain and a numb feeling in his lower leg when he sports. For six months he's been off football. He too has two problems; a very treatable lumbar facet syndrome and a very serious blocked artery in the groin; it's called intermittent claudication. Smokers beware.  

3. Mr S looks like the leaning tower of Pisa; he has a slipped disc at L5 making him lean towards the opposite side. It's called the postero lateral disc hernia; we'll fix it, but he has to stop for a week or two. Antalgias are serious so take them seriously. 

4. Mrs V too has two conditions; a chronic low grade sciatica giving her an ache in the right leg, and a threatening Morton's neuroma. She's glad I'm back in Holland; chiropractic fixed it before, and we'll fix it again. 

5. Mrs W is one of the lucky ones, says her doctor. I agree. He says only 40% of patients with lumbar stenosis have a successful operation. We fixed a nasty slipped disc three years ago, but it came back two years later; the surgeon did a fine job but she has a weak ankle now giving her subtalar joint pain; it's routine stuff. 

6. I myself had an acute exacerbation of a femoral nerve lesion last year. One immediate treatment of the new strain by my colleague has fixed the pain in the lower back, but there's some residual numbness in the lower leg; no soaring tomorrow alas.

7. This lady is a 86 year old woman with a 63 scoliosis. Chronic lower back has been her lot in life but she's well pleased with chiropractic and comes for chiropractic help once a month; some conditions you can never cure.

8. She is an 78 year old woman, is doing remarkably well with a bad sciatica. But over 200 pounds she is not losing weight; in fact, gaining despite my suggestions. She's high risk for a stroke. I have referred her to a dietician to crack the whip.

9. A 61 year old man with upper cervical pain yesterday; it's not severe but also not getting better of its own accord. He's afraid it may turn very acute as when I treated him three years ago. Since then it's been fine. 

10. A 64 year old woman has had scheuermanns disease; it's left her with a spinal kyphosis and chronic middorsal pain. She responds well to chiropractic treatment provides she come every six weeks or so for maintenance treatment.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mrs D, a middle aged woman with hip pain of one year duration, despite other treatment. Xrays reveal an impingement syndrome and early hip arthritis. There's much to be done.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

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