Running Late

A message on a table objecting to late service

Running late happens in every doctor's office periodically; but it shouldn't occur at every consultation. If it occurs regularly you should take the matter up with either the doctor himself, or at least his staff.

It's quite unnecessary and simply sloppy practice; don't smolder; let your grievances be known no matter how good the chiropractor. Having said that there have been times in my life when so many patients were appearing in my appointment book that I was run ragged; at the time I was just an employee, a pawn in the owner's money making dreams.

I eventually left, under a cloud as it so happens which you can enjoy in Stones in my Clog; anecdotes from the coalface.

It's what happens when the unexpected occurs. Try and be patient, and just be grateful that it isn't you who is taking up the doctor's time. Next week it could be you.

Like the rest of the world your DC is most likely running on a tight schedule. It's the only way to get through the patient load without having to work at the coalface for a twelve hour shift; and then the unexpected happens.

Mrs Jones was scheduled for a routine maintenance consultation, and she's just had a nasty whiplash.

Or, Mrs van der Post lifted her grandchild out the cot, and has unexpectedly slipped a disc.

Mr Delport took his small son to the football, unwisely carrying him on his shoulder, and bingo he has severe pain running down his arm. He walks into the clinic with his hand on his head; Spurling's sign and the upper limb tension test are strongly positive. He's hurting.

Mrs Cope had an operation on her neck for pain and tingling running down into the ring finger and pinkie only inexplicably the surgeon operated at the C5 C6 level; there was no relief, of course. So he performed another operation on the brachial plexus; that didn't help either. Then he decided that it must be an ulnar nerve lesion, so the problem was in the elbow; yet another operation was performed. Mrs Cope is beside herself and asks if you would examine her, and advise.

Running late happens alas in every chiropractor's office.

Running Late

Running late is what happens when the unexpected occurs; try and be patient just be grateful that it isn't you who is taking up the doctor's time.


You walk into your Chiropractor's waiting room, and it's unusually full, with people glancing anxiously at their watches; he's running late again. 

Do the sensible thing ...

Inquire from the secretary how late the doctor is running. If you have another important appointment, simply ask if you can reschedule, and leave. If not, pour a cup of coffee, look and see if he has a Bernard Preston chiropractic book on the shelf and settle down for a half hour of indulgence; if not look for other material on your particularly problem, or politely ask why there are no Preston books!

Bats in my belfry book

If it happens regularly, then politely complain. However a ten to fifteen minute delay is not unusual, and you should schedule your life accordingly.

Sprained ankle

Sometimes muddled appointments can bedevil your chiropractor; he'll be running late again.

Today a new patient arrived a day early by mistake. He's traveled a long way to have me examine a sprained ankle that hasn't resolved. In fact the pain is getting worse. Fourteen months ago he fell two metres from a ladder and despite medical treatment he is walking with a severe limp.

It turns out they missed a serious ankle fracture, and now he has nasty arthritis developing; it means I'll be running late. 

A very acute lower back pain patient from yesterday arrived ten minutes late; flexing his head to get into the car proved very difficult. He's a very happy man as the stabs are fifty percent less and he can stand upright today, instead of looking like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. But he's still obviously still very miserable.

So who gets examined and treated first? Running late is the norm, unfortunately.

Here's another little tip.

At 8 am and 2 pm your chiropractor is likely to be running on time. If you have a really busy schedule, try and avoid mid morning.

On your way out, if you're thoroughly irritated, try and not fall down the stairs. It's amazing how things go wrong when we're irate. You might just end up as the next ankle joint pain casefile. 

Or have an accident on the way back to work because you're in such a hurry. With the best will in the world, these things happen in every chiropractor's clinic. This too will pass, and the confusion of today will turn into the normal scheduling of tomorrow.

If he or she is the best chiropractor in town, and he's always running late, then you have a hard decision to make. Find someone else, or bring your laptop with you, and ask if you can log into their wifi; or a good book.

How many books do you digest in a year? Most people read fewer than 500 in a whole lifetime; that's a very sad fact. Spending a few days in private exploring the mind of a very interesting person is not a privilege; it's everyone's right, and even some might say a duty.

Right now I'm in the midst of a Louis de Beniere. What a staggering author he is. Have you ever heard of him? Captain Corelli's Mandolin is one of my all time favourite books. Birds without wings is even better.

Smart folk always carry a book or their Kindle with them for just such eventualities.

Lower back pain

Lower back pain patients fill chiropractic clinics; it's what consumes more than half of our time. It could be a slipped disc, or a sacroiliac joint fixation that is putting the piriformis muscle into spasm. It may be causing numbness in tingling down the side of the leg, or a lumbar facet syndrome; each and every case needs to thoroughly examined and the person reassured but it means that your chiropractor may be running late.

There are a host of chiropractic conditions causing lower back pain, and quite a few medical ones too.

Sometimes it can be so severe that running late is inevitable. The patient is in trouble and the chiropractor too; with his secretary, and with you. 

Simply ask whether you should come back another day if it's a routine consultation; everyone with breathe a sigh of relief.

Healthy living tips

Healthy living tips are another reason that your chiropractor may be running late; so often the lower back pain or sprained ankle are aggravated by a lack of natural anti inflammatories in the diet, or obesity or simply poor nutrition.


› Running late

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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 have left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he is 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 is 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 pain-free. 

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 is well pleased; sixty-five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he has 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 stroll 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; he has a short leg.

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. X-rays 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 few months 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 is a non-complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she is doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38-year 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 could not 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 should not be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that is so much bunkum.

Do you have a problem that is not getting better?

Are you looking for a different slant on your pain?

Do you want to pose a question?

Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

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.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70 percent of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there is a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong. Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what a DC does.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my eBooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful from the life and work of a chiropractor, you will love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the amount without telling me.