First time to a chiropractor… is it all B.S.?

Michael Hall: UB Student Health Center

For the past three days, I’ve been having acute aches and tingling sensations on my upper back. I don’t recall doing anything out of the ordinary on Sunday, but I simply woke up one morning and went “YEOW!”. It felt like my head was hotglued to my body, making it difficult to turn my head without turning my torso. My friend recommended seeing the chiropractor at Michael Hall (UB’s student health center as seen above) and I was skeptical at first, but after two days of torture, I decided to make my first appointment. I’d have preferred to let the body heal itself.

After presenting a pleasant workshop on Wikis at ETC yesterday morning, I made my way down to South Campus for the appointment. There I saw other students, mostly girls, where I overheard them saying that they come twice a week. I have friends in the medical field who say that chiropractic is a load of B.S. It’s nothing more than hearsay and people generally use appointments with chiropractors to take leave from work. I was about to experience it for the first time, so I could judge for myself.

After staring hard at the wall of the waiting room, a resident chiropractor came in and gave me some paperwork. It was the usual… personal particulars, health history, pain diagram, and indemnity forms. When it came to signing the last form, he reassured me that it’s generally safe and I’ll be ok (erm, if you say so). Walking into his office, there were two other guys… a doctor who was overseeing his session, and an understudy who was shadowing the resident. Note that this treatment was essentially “free” since it was for students at the New York Chiropractic College to get practice. Being my first visit, the doctor explained who they were and what I’ll be going through, which was neat since I get to understand the treatment.

The resident chiropractor then got to work, testing my nerves by flexing my head and limbs to confirm where the pain lies. After that, I got to lie face down on the infamous chiropractic bed where he proceeded to press palm down descending my spine. Following that, he held each arm and I believe he pressed on my shoulder blade until I could hear the pop/crack between the joints. Having me lie on my side, I retracted my higher knee where he proceeded to twist my body until another pop was hear (once for each side). Grabbing my head, he started to tug on it away from my body (more pops). Finally, he pressed down hard on my upper back shoulder to soften what he described as tight and knotted muscles. It was a little sore after all this, but nothing anyone should be concerned about.

So did the chiropractor help with my problem?
Frankly speaking I still don’t know. It could be psychological for some, especially since you feel and hear the pops of air/fluid released from your joints. The ache isn’t as bad today, but it was already getting better before I saw the chiropractor. Before I left, he said that it would be more effective if I came back for a few more treatments, but I’ll think about it since I frankly haven’t felt the “day and night” difference that some friends mentioned before.

Aside: Take it with a pinch of salt, but I found this skeptic’s guide to the chiropractic practice which might be of use to you.

8 thoughts on “First time to a chiropractor… is it all B.S.?

  1. Did he give you some exercises for future prevention? My upper back probs are caused by sitting in particular ways with my laptop, and I need to do some stretches from time to time to keep it under control. I use an osteopath, who does the press and pop thing, but also does specific massages (myofascial release) and gives me advice on exercise and stretching. Usually I only see her every 4-6 weeks.

  2. He didn’t give me any medication nor exercise. It was hurting quite bad, so I think he didn’t want me to strain it any further. He did ask me to come back again next Wednesday so I might just do that to get some exercise tips.

  3. Chiropractors do not give medicine. They view the body and health in a vitalistic fashion versus the mechanistic fashion of the allopathic model (current medicine). The body is a self healing organism, and they believe with a proper functioning nervous system that your body will functional at optimal health, not just ache to ache, sickness to sickness. So you were correct in saying that you “felt as if you body was getting better anyways”. The chiropractors is responsible for removing fixations in your spine by adjusting the fixated segment/s (the process where you heard the popping). By adjusting fixations, it enables the nervous system to function in a higher optimal state and replace nociception (pain) with proprioception (posture). If you have any questions feel free to post. Exercise is great, if you work a ton on computers you may google “upper cross syndrome” and find some exersises, many computer users suffer from this postural syndrome.

  4. PLU: No wonder the girls in the waiting room called this a “tune up for the body”. My friend from the psychology dept told me how it’s an alternaitve health science that emerged from the States and they focus on optimizing the body. Kinda like how accupunture emerged in Asia.

  5. Keep in mind that the chiroprac comes only on mondays and wednesdays, so those girls who visits twice a week probably needed more intense treatment. When I first visited them, they adviced me to have more treatment(viists). Subsequently, as my condition improved, lesser visits were required.

    You should keep track of the intensity of your pain daily. See if there is a sharp(er) than before drop in intensity.

  6. Get well soon. I had a bad back and nearly had to go for a scan. The pain eventually went away by itself.

    I heard Chinese sinsehs may do a better job, but haven’t tried them myself.

  7. nuMetal: Yes MrBig… I still feel aches, though not as sever.

    VanTan: Like Chiropractic, Accupunture and Chinese Sinsehs are alternative medical sciences worth exploring, as long as someone else tries it before me… preferably as a blogged review ­čśŤ

  8. Usually, attending a chiropractor more than once can really help reinforce the adjustment that was given to you on the first time. I’d recommend visiting again if you have time (also since it was free it couldn’t hurt).

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