G6KIZ and the chiropractor

 


Chiropractor

Stereotypical Chiropractor

I guess this page is about as far removed from the main subject matter of DigitalHam as I’m likely to go but with back problems common and the average age of radio hams on an apparently ever upward spiral it maybe isn’t so far removed after all.

The History
Back in the distant past when G6KIZ was but a callow youth of maybe 30 summers some long forgotten action caused a very painful back twinge which hung around with decreasing severity for about a week until it produced no more pain. A few months later reaching around for a toothbrush elicited another week of pain and I booked in with my GP. This visit brought home to me the total inability of a GP to do anything for back pain other than suggest Paracetamol.

At seemingly random intervals over the decades since my back has decided to remind me of its existence on many more occasions. These interludes all followed a pretty standard course – a couple of days of sheer hell followed by a few days when the odd twinge would remind me that everything was not entirely operational in the lumbar regions then no more pain. Until the next time. I didn’t waste either my own or my GPs time with any of these episodes.

20 September 2008
On the morning of 20 September 2008 I arose to discover that yet again my back had “gone”. I’d had a few twinges in the preceding weeks which hadn’t amounted to much but apart from those I couldn’t recall exactly when I’d last had this wretched problem. I resigned myself to a week of discomfort.

7 October 2008
A couple of weeks had passed and the pain wasn’t getting any better. In fact it seemed to be worse – probably because I’d donned a weightlifting belt for support and done more physical work the preceding weekend than, with hindsight, was wise. I spent the next two days in bed. The risk of suicide following two days of daytime TV finally forcing me up but only to a recliner chair downstairs for most of the time.

14 October 2008
Surely the best part of a week of rest would see the end of the backache. Sadly no, it didn’t. Laying in a bed was fine. Lounging in a recliner was fine. Standing up after a short time seated in a normal chair was agony. So after a time was just standing and walking about. Something had to be done. My XYL suggested a chiropractor for no real reason other than the GP automated booking system suggested an appointment days later and we both knew it would be pointless anyway. I’m not keen on alternate therapies but decided to give it a go anyway.

The Chiropractor

15 October 2008
The day of my initial consultation. This lasted 45 minutes. The chiropractor asked a huge number of questions about my past medical history followed by a physical exam and did a small amount of manipulation of some vertebrae. He made copious notes then took two X rays, told me to book an appointment on the Friday and sent me on my way.

Certainly I suspect that some people would benefit from the placebo effect all this attention would produce. Unfortunately I didn’t – all I felt was the light and airy feeling in the wallet region to the tune of £100 as predicted by that arch cynic M0XDK.

17 October 2008
Discussing the X rays and first treatment session. The chiropractor gave me a pretty full appraisal of the X rays. It all sounded technical and convincing but of course my medical knowledge is next door to nil. His conclusion was a problem with the disk between vertebra 4 and 5 both of which were showing some calcification. Apart from that no major problems and he was certain that he could offer some beneficial treatment. What followed were some rather curious manipulations which caused minor discomfort from pressure but no pain. He also suggested a simple exercise to carry out at any time – buttock clenching.

Following this treatment my back did feel to be a little more mobile. The problems were certainly not cured but I did notice one major change… The treatment had succeeded in moving the content of my intestines around to the point where shortly after getting home a toilet visit became essential and joy of joys I found that for the first time in a month I was able to wipe my backside using my right hand.

Things were still not completely fixed of course. I again found my back to be troublesome over the weekend and rising from my seat at work was still painful. Significantly though it was a lot less painful than it had been before.

21 October 2008
Second treatment session. This was a shorter session and involved less discussion and a repeat of the e
arlier manipulations. I got another exercise to add to buttock clenching – high stepping (bent knee) on the spot 10 reps for each leg repeated as often as desired unless it becomes painful. My back did feel a little uncomfortable after this session but not especially painful – certainly not painful in the way standing after a period seated had been. Getting up in the morning things did feel better. The real proof of the pudding came at work – getting up after sitting was still painful but a whole lot less painful than the day before and the pain lasted a lot less time too.

23 October 2008
Spent Friday afternoon wandering around the stalls at the LARS Donnington rally. No major discomfort felt which would not have been the case a week ago. Noticed that this time around there were quite a few empty spaces in the hall – maybe Donnington is heading the way of other rallies which will be a real shame.

24 October 2008
Third treatment session – another relatively
short session. My back is still not 100% fixed but it is no longer dominating my life as is was. Then stupidity struck. Overconfidence lead to me overdoing a job in the garden – picking up fallen apples which we get by the barrow load. The discomfort is a reminder that I still need to avoid too much strenuous work. Luckily I recovered fairly quickly and am expecting further improvements over the coming week.

31 October 2008
Fourth treatment session – again a relatively short session. Improvements continue and my next session is booked for 10th November. I think the chiropractor expects me to continue attending sessions more or less indefinitely but at much wider intervals of several months. I’ll probably do this unless finances dictate otherwise.

Conclusion
Morning of the 24th November. I have become convinced in the efficacy of the chiropractor…

I’m pretty much a sceptic of all “alternate” therapies so any placebo effect would I’m sure be muted.
Back problems do get better of their own accord but mine hadn’t in a month. The improvements I have seen have come immediately after treatment sessions.

My back now seems to be completely fixed.
I did hedge my bets early on though – I bought a TENS machine off eBay.
At this rate my next website is going to be about the use of crystals for health and energy!!

Update
February 2012

I’ve had several periods of back pain since the final entry above but none as severe as the one which started me off with the chiropractor. I’ve decided to stop attending the quarterly sessions now though and will see how things go.