Thursday, May 26, 2011


I have been converted.  I see the light.  I speak the truth.

Chiropractic medicine is not pseudo-medicine.

Two weeks ago, while playing a few holes of golf with my 15-year old son, I did something to my back.  It didn't seem like much, just a little tweak. However, I decided to quit after three holes because it was tightening up and because I had some sod that I needed to get rolled out before it died. 

Big mistake. 

By the time I finished the yard work, it was dark and I had turned into an 85-year-old man with acute spinal trauma.  I was miserable. I loaded up on ibuprofen and crawled (literally) into bed, which is where I stayed for most of the next twenty-four hours.  If you ever have had a lower back issue, you know what I am talking about.  If you haven't, then you certainly have nodded your head in sympathy at other people's tales of woe while not really understanding just how miserable and limiting a bad back can be.  Pray that you never find out.

I did a little internet research and discovered that, without experiencing numbness or shooting pains in my legs, I probably hadn't ruptured or herniated a disk.  So I had that going for me. However, that did not change the fact that I was "unable to perform the activities of daily living" (to borrow a phrase from the insurance industry.)

So, being stubborn, I suffered through a week of waiting for improvement that never came. With nowhere else to turn, I turned to chiropractic medicine.  Reluctantly.

Chiropractors, I am now sure, are underappreciated professionals. I think it is a generally accepted–though incorrect–belief that chiropractic is quack medicine and that chiropractors' place on the respect-o-meter is on par with car salesmen.  Untrue and undeserved.  Chiropractors, I have learned,  have to undergo thousands of hours of clinical training and must pass several licensing exams in order to be accredited by the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners and allowed to practice. 

Funny thing about chiropractors, though. Everyone who has ever been to a chiropractor did so only after getting a referral. When you are talking about your spine, you are not going to just pick a name from the phone book like you might when you need a plumber or an electrician. Oh no no. Before entrusting your back to the care of a stranger, you need firsthand attestation. When you are in agony and ready to try anything, you don't need much but you do need some assurance that this person knows what he/she is doing. You do have to sign a form acknowledging the risk involved in spinal manipulation. I saw the word "paralysis" in the disclaimer, but I was at the point that I would have signed anything to make the pain stop.

The doctor–and, yes, they are called doctors–took some x-rays, had a look, and diagnosed the problem.  He contorted me into some positions I could not possibly have gotten into by myself and then started working the chiropractic magic.  I heard a thunderous CRACK, followed by a satisfied utterance from the doctor. 
"There, that should do it," he said. 
The relief was not immediate but within a day I was much improved.  A day or two later, my back was fine.  I couldn't believe it.  Chiropractic medicine is not voodoo.  It works.