Monday, May 17, 2010

Twisted Sister

That'd be me. My spine, to be exact.

Today I popped my chiropractic cherry. I may have mentioned (a hundred million times) in the past week that my back has gone all wonky. Searing lower back pain and spasm-y spasms of agony were pretty much my constant companions for the past several days. Over the weekend I had hoped that whatever was chewing on the nerves in my back (spine gremlins) would ease up, but in fact they only got worse and I found this morning that they were also chewing on the nerves going up my back AND down into my upper leg. Um. Halp!

So I spent my morning on the phone with chiropractor's offices, in search of a spine magician who could see me yesterday AND who would take my insurance. See, I spent 15 months in Los Angeles seeing every out-of-network practitioner I could find in a 10-mile radius for everything from reproductive endocrinology to psychiatry to acupuncture (holy hell, am I a case or what?!) I like recommendations from people I trust. Unfortunately, those recommendations don't always coincide with my insurance coverage.

And after all those months of trying to sort out receipts, and submitting for reimbursements that were never really worth the time and effort it took to get them, honestly, I just want to walk in to a doctor's office, slap down my insurance card and my $10 co-pay, and then check my email while I wait for my reliable insurance-covered health care provider to work some insurance-covered magic.

So I found someone who could see me within the hour (and was located less than a mile from my house---score one for laziness convenience) and then sat gingerly (read: with a spasming back) on my couch fretting what the appointment would hold. Would the guy accidently snap my neck right off of my head? Would he crack something that should never be cracked? Would I walk around forever more with my head on backwards, the result of some horrible chiropractic procedure gone wrong?

In the end I realized that all of those risks were worth taking if there was the slightest chance he could make this pain go away.

The doctor made lots of jokes from the second I walked in the door. I like a joke, so I was at ease immediately. After a few minutes of talking (and my admission of being completely terrified that he was going to inadvertently kill), he asked, "Is this where it hurts?" and put his hand on the EXACT SPOT on my lower back that's been absolutely killing me for a week.

Seems that my left pelvic bone had gone wonky and was tipped backwards, pinching whatever nerve it could find on its way. I was so relieved that my brief explanation of the pain made sense and brought him almost immediately to the problem. I was NOT, on the other hand, so relieved that he was going to have to "adjust" (most dismissive, understatement-y description of this event possible, by the way) a GIANT bone at the base of my spine instead of one of those teeny tiny ones higher up (which he's also going to have to do, but I'll get to that in a bit).

After about 7 minutes of lying on what really wanted to be a massage table, with some sort of shock therapy nodes strapped to my back, emanating warm pulsing waves of "back stop hurting" vibes, it was time for the "adjustment". The chiro had me lay on my side and bring my left knee up towards my chest. Weirdest position in a doctor's office, ever. Just saying. Then he said, "you're going to hear a pop," and GAH!!!!! my entire body snapped. But in a good way.

After the "adjustment," I waited to feel the pain that HAD to accompany such a wrenching sound and popping sensation. But it never came. Instead, I felt giddy with painlessness. He told me to get up and walk around, to see if I felt any better. Um.

NO PAIN! Well, a smidgen of discomfort, but nothing like what it had been 30 seconds earlier.

My complete lack of pain left room in my brain for me to obsess over my realization that when he made the adjustment, I'm pretty sure I yelled. Out loud. In a most undignified way. And there were people in the waiting room. Who wouldn't look at me when I came out of the room. I don't know if they were concerned that the chiropractor had hurt me, or if they were worried that I was actually having sex with the chiropractor. But either way, I had clearly been inappropriate and they didn't look at me. So, you know, that's awesome.

The chiropractor also noticed that there are two vertebrae up between my shoulder blades that have gone all tweaky, too. Which, he said, could explain why every once in awhile three fingers on my left hand get all tingly. At this point, I was thinking of asking him for a paper bag to breathe into, because OMG, if he found those tweaky parts OF MY SPINE, that means he's going to have to "adjust" those tweaky parts OF MY SPINE.


oh, sorry, I just passed out for a second there. The whole "cracking my SPINE---you know, those bones that protect my spinal column which is connected to my BRAIN" thing still really freaks me out, clearly.

I have a follow-up appointment for this Friday. Which I guess is when he's going to snap my head clear off my body adjust my cervical 7 vertebrae and make the tinglies in my fingers go away.

I'm comforting myself with the knowledge that almost 12 hours after my first adjustment, my lower back, while still a little bit sore, hasn't spasmed once and my range of pain-free motion has left the realm of "zero" and gone back into "you're just a little bit out of shape." I was even able to have a little bit of an apres-dinner dance party with Ethan this evening. So, while I live in deathly dire fear of the split second after the chiropractor says, "you're going to hear a pop," (okay, just almost passed out again), I know that the relief that comes after it will be blissful.


Sue said...

Glad to hear you're feeling better. Back pain sucks.

Becca said...

That is great!! I've had this weird back thing for like eight years and now I'm wondering if it could be taken care of with a little poppy-pop! :)

cicadalady said...

i'm glad your appt. didn't go like my sister's last one where the chiropractor told her she had a "hot bod for a mom". needless to say, she never went back! i've never been, but there are times when i should have gone for sure. toby has had a good experience as well.

lonek8 said...

I desperately want to go to your chiropractor now! I never really liked the whole activator thing - it helps but doesn't feel like as much is being done as if you hear giant cracks. And of course, I've been cracking and popping my back since I was about 8yo, so I'm kind of a sicko in this area. I'm looking for a chiro on my health ins plan right now!

Anonymous said...

My dad is a chiropractor and I have had chiropractic care my whole life. I am a huge proponent of chiropractic and I am so happy to hear that you had a good experience! A good chiropractor can do really amazing and healing things for the body. But chiropractors are like every other profession - there are good and bad ones and you have to find someone you are comfortable with. Don't worry about your next appointment. I have been getting adjusted since I was born and have never had my neck snapped off. :)