Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Alternative Medicine: Chiropractors, are they worth trying?

Dreamstime stock photo - source
Other posts in this series:
What is an alternative medicine doctor and what do they do?
What testing do you get when you choose alternative medicine?
What is a detox diet and why do you do it?
What supplements and shakes do they recommend?
Results of the food sensitivities testing.
What kind of therapy did my osteopath recommend?

I kind of visited a new doctor yesterday.  I say, kind of, because I really went in to get a massage, not to get a medical consultation.

But let's go back to the beginning.

Since about September of last year, I have been getting regular medical massages every two or three weeks.  What that means is that I go and pay someone to press really hard on all the trigger points (muscle knots) that I have.  My pain condition, myofascial pain syndrome, causes me to have many, many of these spots.  They get so entrenched in my muscles and fascia that they cause my whole muscle to stay contracted.  When the muscle is contracted long enough, it starts to spasm.

I want to do everything I can not to get to the spasm point.  Out of everything I've tried, massages are the most effective in getting rid of trigger points.  I guess I feel a little guilty at times about telling people that I get a massage every two weeks.  People tend to look at me as if I'm a little too pampered.  So I just wanted to get the background out there to let you know that these aren't "feel good" massages.  They are not relaxing.  They hurt and they continue to hurt for several days afterward.  But then I feel better and I can move better and I can function better, at least for a short time.

The guy that I was getting massages from was great.  He was a former biology teacher in Rwanda.  During their civil wars, he brought his family to the US and decided to go to massage school.  Both of those (biology and massage school) made him very knowledgeable in muscles, how they work and how they are connected.  I could just go in and tell him what was hurting the most and he would concentrate on the trigger points affecting those areas. He could help me be able to move again.  I do not think my shoulder would have gotten better as quickly as it did if it were not for him.

However, after going to the same massage therapist for 6 months, he decided to close his shop and move away in hopes of getting more business elsewhere.

So I had to find a new masseuse.

At the recommendation of a friend, I went to see her chiropractor, who is also a licensed massage therapist.  Even though I was scheduled for a massage, I still had to talk to the doctor about my condition beforehand.  Like a lot of medical professionals that I've met over the last year and a half, she spent most of the time trying to re-diagnose me from her point of view.  I say that because it seems like every specialist sees an issue according to their bias.  A GI doctor sees a digestive issue.  A osteopathic doctor sees a lifestyle issue.  A chiropractor sees a back issue.

Are there issues with my back?  Probably.  Will they fix all my pain?  Probably not.

The chiropractor was great at giving a massage.  She actually pressed harder and found more trigger points than my last guy.  That's a good thing.  But she also wants me to come back as a chiropractic patient and get adjustments.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.

It's hard to go to doctor after doctor and get re-diagnosed each time.  They say "Oh, this (one thing) is what is wrong with you.  All you have to do is this simple exercise/stretch/diet, etc. and you will be cured."  Then I get my hopes up and I do whatever it is they are asking.  And it doesn't help.  It never helps.  And I've just spent a lot of time and energy and money.  And I've been disappointed time and again.

I don't know if I can do that again with a new doctor.

What would you do if you were me?  Would you go try the chiropractor for a while?  

1 comment:

  1. Good post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it! Osteopath in Sydney