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. 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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