In February, Mr. Dormouse and I moved. On top of moving, we were also working our full-time day jobs, working a secondary part-time job, and putting in volunteer hours at our new church. One evening, we got home, and my neck started killing me. I figured I had strained something in the moving and extra hours at work and didn’t think much more of it. The pain wouldn’t go away. In fact, it only got worse, becoming so painful that I was taking doses of ibuprofen about four times a day just to coast by. Even with the pain medication, I felt exhausted and totally out of it.
One of my friends, who works in a chiropractic office, listened to my symptoms and asked if she could do a simple test to see if my spine was off. (I stood up straight, closed my eyes, and nodded forward and back.) She told me that it looked like I needed to be adjusted, so I decided, “Hey, it couldn’t hurt, and isn’t this what chiropractors are for?”
I went in a few days later for an evaluation, where they took X-rays to determine the extent of the damage and we discovered that from the back, my neck was slightly out of alignment, but only by a millimeter off the “normal” range. So that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that the normal curvature of my neck was off–pretty significantly off.
See, the vertebrae in your neck form this curve–called the “arc of life” by medical professionals–which acts as a spring for the head. It is supposed to look like the image in figure A. My neck looked like figure B.
The doctor who examined my X-rays said that the injury didn’t look old–probably less than five years–so I attribute it to a fender bender I was in about two and a half years ago which gave me whiplash. I never saw a doctor at the time, and as the pain and stiffness went away in just a couple of days, I didn’t think there was any permanent damage. (NaÃ¯ve, I know.)
Anyway, since that original visit, I’ve been seeing my chiropractor several times a week to get adjusted, to go through traction, and to do exercises to retrain the muscles and ligaments in my neck to get back to where they ought to be, to regain that “arc of life.” Fortunately, the original pain has gone away, as well as some weird numbness, so now we are focusing solely on correcting that problem that I didn’t even realize was there when I went in.
During this time, I’ve learned a lot about chiropractic care and the reason why it is such a valuable branch of medicine. The primary reason that it is important is because the spinal column is housed in the vertebrae that run from our skulls down our backs and end at our butts. (Heh, butts.) If the vertebrae are out of alignment, they put pressure on the nerves that spread out from our spinal columns which control all of the other systems in our bodies. A lot of people don’t realize that the point of chiropractic care isn’t just to get rid of pain, but that it’s to maintain proper alignment so as to ensure that all of the systems in our bodies are working properly.
A side benefit of going to see the chiropractor? For me, it means that my twice a month migraines haven’t happened since I started getting adjusted. That’s big, ladies. Another patient who started at the same time as me no longer has to take her thyroid medication–which she had been taking for over a decade–and her digestive system is working regularly.
As I mentioned above, traumatic events like car accidents can mess up our spines. Slips and falls and athletic injuries can also screw with our backs. Something that we don’t necessarily think of in relation to spinal health is birth trauma, but any traumatic birth (forceps, vacuum, even a c-section) can mess up a newborn’s spine, destroying that “arc of life.” The good news is, most babies are born untraumatically, and the other good news is that babies’ spines are easily adjusted, so that problem can be taken care of right away. The bad news is that a lot of people don’t realize how birth trauma can have lasting effects or that it is really easy to fix a baby’s spine if it is “off.” (Note: only a licensed medical professional should adjust a spine!)
So I will end with this: have you ever been to see a chiropractor? If you have, what was your experience? If you haven’t, what do you think about chiropractic care?