Chiropractor Unity Lewis

by Mrs Blythe Harrison
(Ludlow, England)

My sister, Unity Allsopp was born in Pietermartizburg, South Africa in 1921. Our father Professor Herbert Allsopp was strongly into alternative medicine. I do not remember seeing a doctor all my childhood. Colds and sore-throats etc were treated with a fruit diet and honey. So called 'Nature cure'. The tonsils should not be removed as they were nature 'clean-up' organs, and when infected were mopping up toxins. Germs was a bad word, and of course there are indeed far more positive bacteria than damaging ones. Much of what appears in popular magazines today, would make our father nod and chuckle that people having learnt, at last!!
Also we were not inoculated or vaccinated. Partly for health reasons, but also the serum was in those days obtained from infections on a live calf's belly. We were vegetarians and anti-vivesection of course, part of the picture.
So the atmosphere to look for therapies that could treat the nervous system from outside the body would have been a small jump away.
THEN--- there is an incident which must have been of importance in Unity's life. It certainly was in mine. At a picnic when I was about 7 years old, I slipped off a branch of a tree and fell over a metre on to my back on round boulders. I was really hurt, and can remember crawling to get through a barb-wire fence to Dad. Some days later my leg swelled up and I had real difficulty walking. Surgery would have been a very foreign option, and I was taken to the only practitioner in Pietermaritzburg - an Osteopath. I was carried in and walked out! That bit I can remember clearly. Of course it took days to recover and several weeks of treatment. The man was an American, I can't remember his name, I'm afraid, and he used the term 'ok' which was a bit frowned upon as silly slang! I do not really know if Unity was very aware of all this, but I think she must have been, and it certainly influenced my parents and ---- ??
Unity matriculated early as we all did as we went to school straight into Std 1-- having been given 'Infant classes' at home. Our mother May Allsopp was a qualified Infant teacher. So Unity went to University for a year - till she was 18, and then embarked on the trip to America. She went with another 'Maritzburg student-- Sheila Galthorpe--- who was considerably older, and was to be 'supportive'. (Sheila after training risked a boat return during the war and was torpedoed and spent many many days in an open boat, where only some survived. I don't know what came of her.

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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.

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