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  1. #1
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    Tell me about the chiropractor

    Hello. Been a while. Need some advice!

    I have had ongoing and extremely painful sciatica pain for about 6 weeks. Some days it feels like it's a bit better -- then a day or so later, wham! I'm crying when I get out of bed. (oddly - it's the days AFTER I wear sensible shoes that I am in the most pain).

    So I am ready to bite the bullet and go to the chiropractor. But I am SKARED of the chiropractor. I've never been to one. Would anyone mind telling me what a chiropractor visit might entail? Will they take x-rays before they start cracking things? Will it hurt?

    Please spare me the links to the poor woman who died of a stroke immediately after and resulting from a first time neck adjustment. I got that one already.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    If you get a good one, it can really help. Chiropractor visits have helped me and other members of my family. But you need to focus on finding the best one in your area that you can. Look up local listings, use Google to find evaluations, and most of all, talk to anyone and everyone you know who's been to a chiropractor. Priority number one needs to be finding a chiropractor who knows what he or she is doing. Visit and talk to more than one if you need to, and make sure that you understand what they're telling you and that you feel comfortable with them and can trust them.

    And yes, they'll probably take X-rays. The adjustments themselves most likely won't hurt nearly as much as you expect. They sound worse than they are.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  3. #3
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    I've heard good things about chiropractors. I have a cousin who is one and also a step-brother in-law that is one.

    I, however, happened to have a bad experience with one. The result wasn't bad, but I just wasn't at all pleased with it. I had gone to him with severe whiplash where I couldn't turn my head more than a fraction of an inch. Without warning he cranked my neck all the way to the side. I didn't suffer any ill effects, nor did my mobility improve right away or really any sooner than it might have otherwise, but it completely freaked me out and according to what I've heard from others, is not something he should have done. I never went back to him and I tend to steer clear of chiropractors now. I'd rather pay for physio than get chiro for free from my relatives.

    Again, I state that nothing bad happened, I'm just freaked out.

    From my experiences (I've had whiplash again) I personally prefer physiotherapy. It tends to take longer to heal, but to me is the option that I'm more comfortable with.

  4. #4

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    I work for a very good one that has brought tremendous relief to many, many people. A good chiro should do an evaluation first. And his adjustments are not painful at all.
    "awwww....shades of Janet Lynn" - Dick Button on anyone who makes more than one mistake in their program.

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    A friend of mine was having excruciating back pain for months. She chose to continually get adjusted by a chiropractor who insisted that was the only treatment she needed.

    Fast forward to Good Friday--she couldn't walk, one leg was numb, and she could no longer pee. Another "adjustment" brought no change. But she trusted the chiropractor and insisted it would be okay. Finally, at 3 a.m. Saturday, a friend talked her into going to the hospital. She had the worst herniated disk the medical staff had ever seen causing nerve damage that resulted in her leg being numb and her bladder issue.

    She had major emergency surgery. If she had seen a doctor when the pain started, they would have been able to treat it before it was out of control with minor or no surgery. Instead, she is currently in a rehabilitation hospital, hoping to get use of her feet again, and probably won't be able to go home for two more weeks or work again until June or July. And she has no insurance.

    If the pain is bad, please consider a medical doctor.

  6. #6
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    I am also wary of chiropractors... My doctor is not a big fan either so I've never gone.

    Have you tried massage therapy? I've had back pain for nearly 15 years as a result of a bad fall and did physio for years without success. I had given up on my back not hurting and had basically resigned myself to it never getting better. This winter I collided on the soccer field with someone much larger than me and couldn't sit. I went to a massage therapist on the recommendation of my roommate and for the first time I was pain free. He didn't do a lot of "massage" and it was really more like gentle manipulation of my joints. I only went once and my back has never felt better.

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    I love, LOVE chiropractors. I tend to ask my current one about health issues before going to a doctor if I can help it, if it's more muscular/general body pain/etc. I tend to trust him, though-- if something is worse, he tells me to go to the doctor, and my doctor seems to know and approve of him. My chiro's also not afraid to refer me to massage therapy and other things that will help.

    I've always had issues with my shoulders and neck. Always. It was exceedingly bad during my first year of university, and despite many doctor visits and plenty prescriptions, it didn't improve. I was literally waking up crying at night, the pain was so severe. During reading week I was home visiting, and I saw my mom's chiropractor every day I was there. After months of intense pain, he sorted me out in just days to where I could actually sleep through the night and even type my essays. The constant pain went from a 9-10 to a 3-4, and only after my arm was in a bad position. (Which was any position sometimes)

    There are bad chiropractors out there, but good ones are invaluable. If you have a good recommendation, it's worth seeing one.
    Last edited by Andora; 04-28-2010 at 03:51 PM.

  8. #8

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    That's exactly it, Andora. There are bad doctors and good doctors, and there are bad chiropractors and good chiropractors. That's why getting as many recommendations as possible is vital.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    A friend of mine was having excruciating back pain for months. She chose to continually get adjusted by a chiropractor who insisted that was the only treatment she needed.
    Was that helpful?

    I've gone to a chiropractor for years. What he did when I first went was weigh me, had me stand on a two-footed scale to see where my weight alignment was (favoring left or right side), had me lay on my stomach and checked which leg was longer, felt my spinal alignment, and a few other things that I don't recall. The freakiest thing is the swiftness of the neck crack, but boy does it feel great afterward!

    The key is knowing yourself for sure. If the pain is so bad that you can't trust "just" a chiropractor, then go to a doctor. IMO, sciatica is perfect for chiros, because it's all about misalignment of bones/compression causing pinched nerves. Be upfront with the doctor that you're nervous, and maybe ask him to explain what he's doing so you don't worry?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesperholly View Post
    Was that helpful?

    I've gone to a chiropractor for years. What he did when I first went was weigh me, had me stand on a two-footed scale to see where my weight alignment was (favoring left or right side), had me lay on my stomach and checked which leg was longer, felt my spinal alignment, and a few other things that I don't recall. The freakiest thing is the swiftness of the neck crack, but boy does it feel great afterward!

    The key is knowing yourself for sure. If the pain is so bad that you can't trust "just" a chiropractor, then go to a doctor. IMO, sciatica is perfect for chiros, because it's all about misalignment of bones/compression causing pinched nerves. Be upfront with the doctor that you're nervous, and maybe ask him to explain what he's doing so you don't worry?
    I think her decision was compounded by not having insurance, by the fact that the pain would temporarily be eased by chiropractic treatment, and by so many people explaining exactly the stuff being explained here about why chiros are so terrific.

    I've never met one who didn't come off as slightly unhinged. A chiropractor who is a friend of my cousin's explained to us in detail once why a compound fracture never needs set or pinned or casted at all if it is "properly adjusted". And at a school I once worked at one was invited in to do a nutrition seminar with the staff. We learned to never eat sugar, flour, meat, grains or hardly anything else. And that cantaloupe should only be consumed by itself an hour before or after any other food.

  11. #11

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    And I've never known a person who had back surgery who didn't regret it afterward, so . . . All this is anecdotal anyway. Each person has to do what he or she believes will work best. The best thing to do is to collect as much information as possible, about as many options as possible, from the best sources one can find, and make a well-informed decision.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    And I've never known a person who had back surgery who didn't regret it afterward, so . . . All this is anecdotal anyway. Each person has to do what he or she believes will work best. The best thing to do is to collect as much information as possible, about as many options as possible, from the best sources one can find, and make a well-informed decision.
    And when in doubt, flip a coin.

    No, Wyliefan is right. This is why, while I love chiropractors, I suggest finding a good one. I nearly screwed up big because I simply gave one in my neighbourhood a call. I was having back problems at the time, and was desperate. Don't do what I did, even if I lucked out.

  13. #13

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    I've always had problems with my neck going out, so my chiropractor is a person I see quite often. And yes, there are good ones and bad ones... just get references.

    But contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be manually adjusted (if you don't want to be). Most chiropractors should be trained to use something called an activator. It's basically a hand-held adjustable spring-loaded device that "pops" a vertebra back into place. Since the thought of manual adjustment on my upper neck freaks me out, that's what my chiro uses. My whole back has been out at one point or another, and I've never had a manual adjustment. So you do have options.

    What you might expect at your first appointment: you'll have an in-depth talk about your health and prior problems with any part of your spine; an x-ray; and depending on who you see, you might get a video to watch. They will then adjust you. The actual procedure may or may not hurt... at any rate, it won't hurt any worse than the pain you're already in.

    And I'm not going to lie. It might not feel better right away. Sometimes I hurt for a day or two afterward as the already-inflamed muscles re-align. But if you ice the area and take care not to aggravate it, it will get better. Some doctors will try to get you to come back the next day, but I wouldn't recommend another adjustment so soon. Your body will still be healing from the first one, and one day after is too soon. Two days at the very minimum is what I recommend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyliefan View Post
    And I've never known a person who had back surgery who didn't regret it afterward, so . . . All this is anecdotal anyway. Each person has to do what he or she believes will work best. The best thing to do is to collect as much information as possible, about as many options as possible, from the best sources one can find, and make a well-informed decision.
    I'm sure my friend will greatly regret not letting nerve damage from a severely herniated disk lead to paralysis and a lifetime of using a catheter beginning at age 38.

    And my aunt had an extremely successful back surgery ten years ago that she would not even consider going back and not doing.

  15. #15

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    Oh, I didn't mean your friend. Sorry, I can see how that wasn't clear. I'm sure by the time things had got to that point, she did need the surgery. And clearly her chiropractor was wrong about what was best for her.

    But one thing I was trying to demonstrate -- besides the fact that back surgery has its flaws -- is that anecdotal evidence also has its flaws. If you've known a lot of weird chiropractors and I've known a lot of great chiropractors, that doesn't prove anything except that there are all kinds of chiropractors. And that's why I say that everyone needs to do the research carefully, and then do what's best for him or her.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  16. #16
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    I would strongly suggest going to a physical therapist instead of a chiropractor. I work in the PT field and we work with patients with sciatica all the time. We help teach you how to get rid of the pain so you don't have to keep coming back for treatments like you would with a chiropractor.

  17. #17
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    ^^ This. I'd try PT first.
    "I miss footwork that has any kind of a discernible pattern. The goal of a step sequence should not be for a skater to show the same ice coverage as a Zamboni and take about as much time as an ice resurface. " ~ Zemgirl, reflecting on a pre-IJS straight line sequence

  18. #18

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    I have to disagree if a person is having very severe sciatica pain. If something is putting pressure on the nerve, physical therapy may not be the place to start. While I agree PT or core-strengthening exercises are great, if you already are in serious pain when you start, you might aggravate the injury. I think the best thing would be to consult with a doctor and chiropractor to get some advice.

    A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a bulging disk. I went to a doctor for the diagnosis, to a chiropractor for pain relief and muscle release, and began pilates and, subsequently, physical training to strengthen the core and take strain off the disk. It does not have to be an either-or approach.

    I still regularly see a chiropractor to relieve tightness in my back and neck, and she is a godsend. Because of the disk problem, one of the muscles in my lower back has a tendency to protect the disk, so I am often out of alignment. The chiropractor uses a combination of adjustment and accupressure that provides a lot of relief.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by sk8starz343 View Post
    I would strongly suggest going to a physical therapist instead of a chiropractor. I work in the PT field and we work with patients with sciatica all the time. We help teach you how to get rid of the pain so you don't have to keep coming back for treatments like you would with a chiropractor.
    Most chiropractors recommend core strengthing work to prevent the problems, and many work closely with PT's to acheive the best result for the patient. It doesn't have to be either or.

    Quote Originally Posted by reckless View Post
    I have to disagree if a person is having very severe sciatica pain. If something is putting pressure on the nerve, physical therapy may not be the place to start. While I agree PT or core-strengthening exercises are great, if you already are in serious pain when you start, you might aggravate the injury. I think the best thing would be to consult with a doctor and chiropractor to get some advice.

    A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a bulging disk. I went to a doctor for the diagnosis, to a chiropractor for pain relief and muscle release, and began pilates and, subsequently, physical training to strengthen the core and take strain off the disk. It does not have to be an either-or approach.

    I still regularly see a chiropractor to relieve tightness in my back and neck, and she is a godsend. Because of the disk problem, one of the muscles in my lower back has a tendency to protect the disk, so I am often out of alignment. The chiropractor uses a combination of adjustment and accupressure that provides a lot of relief.
    This.

  20. #20
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    Great information, thank you. Interesting comments, too, about core strength. I used to be a dancer, and still stay in okay shape. As soon as this pain started to subside I tried to ease myself into a light pilate routine to rebuild some strength -- NO GO. My husband had to pick me up off the floor. So I do want a real diagnoses before I try to do anything physical...what is causing the sciatica, not just "oh - you have sciatical pain -- that's why I asked about x-rays. I have a highly recommended chiro in NYC...if I can scrape up the funds to go 'cause my insurance won't play....

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