Scoliosis - 80 treatments in a year?

by Linda
(N.W. Arkansas)

Scoliosis - 80 treatments in a year?

I saw a chiropractor today. He told me he specializes in scoliosis. He took x-rays and showed me three places where my spine was curved. The worst one was 19%. The x-rays also showed some neck issues. He wants me to commit to three visits a week for 3 or 4 months...then twice a week for a period of time...then once a week. Overall plan was for a year. The price was over 3,000. I feel so overwhelmed because I don't have that kind of money.

I am 51 years old and am in quite a bit of lower back pain. Some pain upper and middle but the lower is the worst. I have migraines daily. What is your opinion? I feel so lost. Is there anyway you could email me your response?

Very grateful.

Hello Linda,
Before committing to that kind of program, I would get a second opinion, preferably from someone quite out of contact with the chiropractor you consulted; I would say the same if it was a medical procedure being considered.

And I guess you're asking me for a second opinion too. It's difficult, because I have not had the opportunity to examine you, and get your full history; so perhaps you should take what follows with a pinch of salt. It will certainly anger the person you consulted, and perhaps rightly so.

There's a lot of medical research about what is too many drugs, too many antibiotics or anti inflammatory medication. We all now about the downside of surgery.

But there's not a lot known about how much is too much manipulation. Some feel you can manipulate a joint every day with no side effects.

I don't belong to that school; my own rule of thumb is that 25 manipulations of a joint in a year is more than enough, and perhaps too much. But it's just my own opinion; your man has another quite different opinion.

It is in part dependent on the kind of treatment given; for example, an activator treatment is certainly more gentle, and I would then say say more than my customary 25 might be acceptable.

A Cobb's angle of 19 degrees is certainly quite significant, as is daily headaches. You probably take far too much medication.

Do you have radiating pain down the leg?

Did he make any comment about a short leg causing your scoliosis? Were exercises part of the program?

Did he go through your history carefully and thoroughly? Were you properly examined? Were reflexes taken, the strength of muscles assessed, were orthopaedic tests done? Were you jaw joints assessed - a frequent cause of migraine headaches?

I'm a great believer in gut feel, Linda? Did you "click" with the man, or did you have a feeling you were being had?

You certainly have the kinds of problems where chiropractic excels, but only you can decide if you are with the right person. Was he widely recommended by friends and family, or did he have the biggest ad in the yellow pages?

I fear this may have confused you even further!

Dr B

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

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. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

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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