Okay...so I take skeptical to a whole new height. I am a disbeliever of anything that's not black and white, totally concrete, unquestionably proven and etched with blood. I have an open mind and I'm willing to try anything, but part of me is screaming "say what?" the entire time.
So, it was not without some...correct that...not without a HUGE amount of trepidation that I recently visited a chiropractor. I must admit that my pet name for them has always been quackopractor. Now, shackles down y'all, it is not without good reason that I say this.
About seven years ago I was inside my doghouse painting. Don't re-read that line; I did say I was painting the inside of my doghouse. I realize that is no more the norm that tacking up family pictures in there, which I did as well. Long story short, as I twisted around to reload my brush, something in my back 'sprung' and there I lay, half in/half out of the doggie door. My family eventually heard my muffled pleas for help and pulled me unceremoniously by my ankles to freedom. Well, freedom to lie on the cold hard pavement, as standing eluded me at first, and only later with the help of my daughter's stilts cum crutches, was I able to limp into the house. The pain was intense and it was suggested that I visit a chiropractor, and so I did, nudged in large part by the ad in the paper offering a free screening.
He took a few X-rays and did a few quick tests and proceeded to frighten me to death. I was told that if I didn't come for treatments every day I would be in a wheelchair before the month was out. The hunger to know coupled with the sensibility that with a full time job coming there every day was out of the question, I asked a few questions. Apparently I asked too many questions. When it became apparent that I had 'caught him with his eye on my wallet', he slammed my file down and stormed out of the office leaving me standing there. Standing on the same two feet that still supported me after the month had passed and I wasn't crippled for life. And lest we forget his final act of stupidity...did he think I'd not know that he filed for the 'free' cost of the visit with my insurance company? And did he think I'd not call them and report his fraudulent act? Let's also not forget that he's no longer in the area.
But I digress...only to illustrate why it is understandable that I would be a little skeptical about this method of healing.
However, I recently was gifted with an incredible pain in my back. Pain is something that I ignore for the most part. I once had a doctor tell me that I must be deathly sick to come to him. My reputation was that solid. For example, I had a minor outpatient surgery a year ago and I have yet to go for my six-week checkup. My fridge is littered with unfilled prescriptions...
I'll never get this story told if I keep meandering off on illustrative tangents...
Back to the pain...the pain in the back. I simply accepted it for about three weeks, what drove me to seek attention was that I was losing the use of first several fingers, then the whole hand. The morning I woke up with the left side of my face numb was pretty scary. Discomfort is one thing, no feeling at all is quite another.
Being the cheapskate that I am, I found a referral to ensure that my initial x-rays and screening were once again complimentary. As well, I found my insurance company paid for 90% of chiropractic care now. To me, this validates the procedure...when an insurance company is willing to put their money on the line, they are saying "this is good'. This, to me, was something black and white....okay...so money is green, but you catch my drift.
The day of the screening I had no idea what I was in for...expecting only the treatment I'd received in my ill-fated first foray into quackapracting. Everyone was awesomely wonderful there, from the girls in the front to the docs in the back. Smiles were abundant and infectious. What impressed me most was the time everyone took, nothing 'assembly line' there.
However...I must admit...the doctor who ran my tests knows entirely too much about my body. I was totally not prepared for all the places he probed, and touched, and viewed, and moved, and pushed, and poked. To be perfectly honest I was expecting any minute for him to whip out the stirrups and do a cervical. I have never been so thoroughly examined by any doctor, boyfriend, or husband. If I hadn't already been in pain, I'm pretty sure I would have left that way. I mean that in the kindest way of course, being the masochist that I am.
In a matter of days, during which I am sure all the doctors huddled around my tests and X-rays and plotted my demise...err...I mean ... treatment... I was called back. I assume they also drew straws to see who would be stuck with me. Yet another doctor I hadn't yet met was the one who explained all their findings to me. I felt like I was in a college class, desperately clinging to every fact, trying to memorize all the terms, the nerves, the bones, and the info he explained to me in fear that there was going to be a test later. What I remember most about that session is the phrase he used, "if we accept you as a patient"... that was a much better line than a threat of a wheelchair. I mean... that was like a dare... why wouldn't they want me as a patient? Please...I'll be a good girl, I'll do better.. please please take me...
What I remember the second most about that session is the X-rays. X-rays are pictures of your bones.. I'm looking at my head bone connected to my neck bone, connected to my shoulder bones, connected to my spine bones, connected to my pelvic bones, connected to my leg bones... WAIT! STOP! HOLD THE PRESSES! Here I am vainly trying to absorb all the good doctor is telling me as he refers to my x-rays splayed across the entire width of the wall and all I can see is the perfect outline of my ... well....my genital area. Yes... right there in glorious black and white was the perfect picture of what was that day covered so delicately in green silk edged with lace. How do they do that? Shouldn't that have just melted into the background like my belly button, and my skin? No, it was there like a flashing light... "See my pubis, film at 11"... so later when the next doctor told me "I looked at your x-rays...well, we ALL looked at your x-rays"... I cringed inwardly, blushed outwardly and wished I were anyplace but there. Of course now I'm more sensible, now I know that they see so many x-rays that it doesn't even phase them, I don't even think about it hardly at all anymore...only once an hour or so.
My my I do take a long time to tell a story don't I?
Bottom line is they decided I needed to come every single day I could for a couple weeks, every single day I'd drive 35 miles there and 35 miles back, every single day I'd drive up the same road I used to drive before I left my previous place of employment because I got tired of driving that road every day...
Now, mind you...there's really nothing bad about having all these good looking men putting their arms around you and jumping your bones first thing in the morning... (even if they have an evil laugh) then there's this really cute young guy who has to put his hands down your back to attach electrodes for your muscle therapy. (Never fear guys...they've got a really pretty girl for you) A girl could get really hooked on this.
Then again there's the drive, and the sound of my bones popping and cracking that gives me the willies, and the boredom and feeling of stupidity I realize lying there for the fifteen minutes on the bench in what looks like the morgue (with all of us lying around like a bunch of stiffs)....and the cost, not so much of the procedure, but the gas, the wear and tear on the car, my inability to ride past WalMart without stopping....
But it has helped. It has helped enough that I've regressed into the me I really am, the me who figures enough is enough. My hand works for the most part again, my face isn't numb and the pain is better. Everything is better enough that I've reached the plateau where I think I know more than the professionals. This is dangerous territory. This is where I will either decide to stick with it, or move on to my own course of therapy, which is nothing of course.
The question is...which is the right decision?
Don't touch that dial... pubis at 11.
After six weeks of treatment it became evident to me that I felt better on the days I was not going. I began to wonder if it's possible that chiropractic therapy can addict your body to needing it? To further cause me wonder, after six weeks I actually not only retreated to my earliest pain, but it was even worse, as if the month and a half had not even happened. Armed with this question, I discontinued my therapy. Within a week my pain was all but gone, within another few days it disappeared completely. It is possible that had I never gone to a chiropractor that my body would have healed on its own in some fashion and that their 'corrections' were maintaining the pain. I am not honestly sure. All I know is I feel much better now.
In another thought about the whole situation, financially the chiropractor did cheat me. They said my insurance paid $45 of the $50 visit. I would pay $5. I first must meet my $250 deductible so the first five visits were on me. I paid them the $250. When I began to receive statements from the insurance company, they stated that they paid only $35, but as a preferred provider my doctor could not ask for more. In other words I didn't owe them that $5. As well, since they only applied $35 towards my deductible as they had no knowledge that I had in fact paid $250, it took over seven visits before my deductible was 'met' in their eyes. Ah...this bears investigation...fodder for another rant. :-)