Written May 11th, 2011:
After four straight days of intense back pain that made it difficult to walk, sit, and sleep, I finally did the one thing I was terrified to do.
I called a chiropractor.
They were able to get me in yesterday afternoon.
So, I went. I sat in the waiting room for almost ten minutes to wait for the doctor to be ready for me. He came out at one point to let me know he just had to get the exam room ready, and he said, “You look like you’re ready to run out the door. Nervous?”
I laughed, nervously of course, and told him I wasn’t going to run out the door. Nervous or not, I was determined to do (almost) whatever was necessary to make the pain go away. He stood there and chatted with me for a few minutes and then disappeared to the exam room to “get it ready.”
I have to say, I really liked that he made it a point to come out and make me feel comfortable. And I did. As I waited just a few more minutes for him, I felt myself relax a little bit.
In the exam room, he had me sit down and we talked about his background and my medical history. I was amazed at how comfortable I felt with him. He had me lie down and started pulling my legs and checking my range of motion, all the while talking to me and telling me what he was doing and what it was telling him.
He had me sit up with my feet flat and my knees up. He aligned my feet together and then I stared at my knees. One of them was very visibly higher than the other. He told me that one of my legs is shorter than the other. Maybe as much as half an inch, by the looks of it. This is likely the original cause of my back pain.
I think it’s actually really funny.
Because now I notice it in hindsight.
Whenever standing in a natural position, I would “pop” my right knee out to make myself comfortable. This was my subconscious way of “evening” myself out.
Sitting in the car, I could never get comfortable. I was always shifting my hips, wondering why I always felt so uneven.
He told me that he would send me to go get some x-rays to confirm and check out my insides, but he wanted to do a few adjustments to help relieve a little of the pain.
So came the adjustments.
This guy has the best bedside manner of any medical professional I’ve seen. He made me relax enough to let him pop my back a couple of times, in some very weird positions. But once that first pop came, I was hooked.
I wouldn’t let him do my neck.
And he listened. He was really nice about it. He told me that it’s my neck and he wants me to be comfortable with whatever he does. He teased me that in a day or two I’d be begging him to do it, but he just wanted to make sure I was comfortable. He felt my neck and showed me the exact place that needed to be adjusted.
It all sounds so ridiculous to me, really. My hesitation. I really do know that this guy is not going to snap my neck and kill me (it’s like 1 in 4 million cases or something, but that’s for adjusting the top of the spine, higher than where I need an adjustment). I just feel so silly about the whole thing. Which is why I was so happy that he didn’t make me feel like an idiot about it.
Anyway, he sent me off to go get x-rays and I’m going back on Thursday to check them out and get a few more adjustments. Maybe even my neck.
Walking across the street to get the x-rays was incredible. I was no longer walking funny, and my back didn’t hurt. No, it’s not a miracle. And yes, the pain has come back today. But seeing immediate (although temporary) results was really nice. I was afraid that I wouldn’t see any results until several sessions. And he told me that I would get the pain back, but he seemed confident that I’ll only need a few sessions and some kind of lift to fix the problem.
I wrote that on Tuesday. Then I got distracted and didn’t finish it.
Yesterday, I went back to the chiropractor to check out my x-rays.
I walked into the exam room, saw the x-ray already up and the curve scared me.
The first thing he said was, “You were in a car accident, right?”
I shook my head. I’ve never been in a car accident. He looked back at the grey image of my spine and said, “You have the spine of a 60-year-old woman…sorry…I really need to learn how to sugarcoat things.”
Then I did something that really embarrassed me. I cried. I cried as he told me that I have a very slight case of scoliosis (not even enough to really be worried about). I cried as he told me that there is this little piece of bone just kind of hanging out between my lower spine and one of the discs. I cried as he told me that teeny-tiny spec on the x-ray has thrown my hips out of alignment, causing one of my legs to appear shorter than the other, and causing all of this pain. I cried as he told me about the 50K surgery that is a last resort kind of option for fixing it. I cried as he told me he could try his super-neat decompression machine, but that it would cost about $4,600 out of pocket because it won’t be covered by insurance. I cried as he assured me that he would do what he could to help me out. I cried as he told me he’d like to try a few more adjustments to see if he can help with the pain. And then I cried a little bit more when he had me lie down with a heating pad for a while to help me relax.
I felt completely ridiculous, but I couldn’t stop. Every time I started thinking about it, tears would fall. In fact, they are threatening to come out now as I write this.
I’ve already decided to have him adjust me at least one more time on Monday. But then I’m going to my regular doctor to talk to him about options. And painkillers. Because I can’t even think properly most of the day due to the pain. And it’s constant. The only time it doesn’t hurt is when I’m laying down. And unfortunately I have a job where that isn’t an option.
A friend also suggested yoga. Which I think is a great idea.
So that’s about it. Back pain has been pretty much constant for pretty much an entire week now. So that’s why I’m not really blogging or tweeting or really around much on the internet. I can’t even focus on my job, much less anything else.
I did go to my friend’s art show reception yesterday, which was fantastic. I love her photography more than pretty much any I’ve seen. And then a bunch of us went to dinner, some of us went to have chocolate fondue (YUM), and then I went home to sleep. I slept in and was half an hour late to work, but I don’t really care. That extra hour lying in bed this morning was wonderful. Too bad I had to get up and go to work.