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Chiropractors -- What is Your Opinion?
Old 08-23-2008, 04:57 AM   #1
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Chiropractors -- What is Your Opinion?

I have never been to one.

DW has been having some pain. She has been to a couple of Orthopedic Docs will little relief. She has had MRIs, Xrays, a variety of tests. They see some problems that are minor, but not enough for surgery.

Her pain is not unbearable, but it bothers her and makes her very uncomfortable. And it seems to move around in her back in the area of her shoulder and shoulder blade..

She has also tried a number of non-conventional avenues... I suppose one begins to get desperate... Now she is seeing a Chiropractor.

I did not go to the visit with her. But from what I can gather, he has implied that she has been compensating for an original pain that may be gone away (minor injury about a year ago) and over about a year she has gotten out of alignment as a result of compensating to ease the original pain. As she continues to compensate for the new pain area (pain resulting for compensation #1)... pain emerges in a different area (compensation #2).

The basic idea that bones can get misaligned makes sense... But... I am not a Physician... so who am I to judge? Still, I hope she is not wasting her time.

This Chiropractor was raving about a new high-tech thinga-ma-bob that is suppose to be a revolutionary machine for performing alignments. I was curious and did a search on the internet. Low an behold one of the thinga-ma-bobs is being sold on ebay by someone... now I am really skeptical. It was listed right beside the snake oil and magical beads [sarcastic joke]... actually the other things listed were other unconventional devices.


I am a bit of a skeptic. I hope it works for her.

What do you think? More important, what has been your experience?
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:59 AM   #2
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I've had a history of a herniated disc problem since 1968. It would flare up every 3 or 4 years, with rest, stretching exercises, and OTC pain killers eventually helping it. About 3 years ago (which was my last flare up) I tried a chiropractor for the first time. I went for 10 visits (3 times per week) for alignment and ultrasound therapy. I didn't see any significant improvement after each visit, but at the end of the 10 treatments, the pain went away and I haven't had a flare up since. It seemed pretty inconclusive to me, since perhaps I could have done the same with my normal routine. But my health care plan covered the costs which is something that they wouldn't do 30 years ago, so I don't know if that's perhaps a vote of confidence from the insurance agencies.
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:18 AM   #3
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Others will disagree, but I think they're mostly quacks. Then my Dad was an orthopedic surgeon his entire adult life, so I'm undoubtedly biased. However, last time I checked most health care insurers would not cover chiropractors which seems to say something. And I've had many employees who went to them (had to pay themselves), said they were wonderful and felt much better, but the original problem resurfaced soon after in every case I can think of - and they didn't go back even after raving about chiropractors (again, seems definitive in that they were spending their own money). You asked for opinions, mine is but one...
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Old 08-23-2008, 07:41 AM   #4
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I had a bit of a back problem at 18, went to the chiro 4-5 times and I felt much better. Had another problem maybe 12 years ago, and it was all I could do to just get in and out of the car. I could not sit at my desk, and when I stood in front of it I had to have one foot elevated. I went to the chiro and I had immediate enough relief that I could work and drive OK, and within a few more treatments I was fine.

The problem with chiros is that they want you to come in a couple times a month for maintenance visits, for which I have not really figured out the necessity. My suggestion is for your DW to go, get the manipulation required for a few times, and be done with it until she has another problem...don't bow down to the snake oil salesman type of chiro....not worth it (dad bought some kind of machine years ago, it was rarely used and was sold eventually at a yard sale).

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Old 08-23-2008, 08:55 AM   #5
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Whatever you do, don't let him/her touch DW's neck.

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Old 08-23-2008, 09:16 AM   #6
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I suggest trying a program of back strengthening exercises: http://www.nismat.org/orthocor/programs/lowback.html
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Old 08-23-2008, 10:30 AM   #7
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What do you think? More important, what has been your experience?
Disclosure: I have scoliosis. In my case, my spine is S-shaped (side to side) and my shoulders and hips are 'normally' aligned, so you really can't see anything misaligned unless you see an x-ray of my spine.

I go to the chiro when I feel I need to. I used to think they were quacks, but I've had enough positive experiences that I consider them as part of my medical arsenal.

Every once in a while (it can be brought on by something as simple as just twisting 'wrong' to look in a mirror or by leaning forward just a tiny bit but the 'wrong' way), my lower back goes out of whack and I am in extreme pain.

I have found that a chiro can usually get me out of pain by the end of an office visit. Otherwise, leaving it alone, the pain goes away after about 10 -14 days (but I'm in agony days 1 thru 7).

Needless to say, I go to the chiro ASAP when I get this way.

I have found that, like conventional doctors, some chiros are good and others, not so much. You have to find one who can figure out what ails you and than can "fix" it.

Years ago, I slipped on some ice and fell, landing HARD on my elbow. It hurt like hell heck for months. I thought I may have chipped or broken it, but due to a imminent month-long international trip I didn't want a cast on it. About 3-4 months later, during a trip to the chiro for my back, I mentioned my elbow issue. He grabbed my arm, pulled on it, and everything with my elbow was instantly fine.

I had similar a issue with my left knee. About 10 years ago, I did something stupid to it injured it during an aerobic exercise class and every once in a while, it feels like the bones in my knee joint get misaligned. Again, I've had the chiro yank on my foot and get everything in my knee lined up and not hurting.

My insurance covers a limited number of chiro visits a year which makes me think that chiros are becoming sort of mainstream.

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Old 08-23-2008, 10:31 AM   #8
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I suggest trying a program of back strengthening exercises: http://www.nismat.org/orthocor/programs/lowback.html
Thank's, good thread. My doc also gave me some traction exercises; haven't found them on the web yet but they feel so right for my lower back pain.

Lately rather than staying home I've gone out and to work using a cane; it's embarrassing and I was reluctant to do it but it has the side effect of getting me all kinds of advice outside of the AMA-style methods. I'm starting to look into Wellness centers, two were recommended by a guy who works for a health-related magazine. Those sites give ideas on foods to eat/avoid for arthritis. I may consider acupuncture and other treatments outside my doc. but I think I can get enough ideas for exercise, food, stress reduction, pain relief, etc. that I won't need to look into alternative practitioners including chiropractors.

Hope your DW gets better, Chinaco. There's a lot they can do with pain management. I have a co-worker (15-years younger) who has similar pain to mine only in the feet instead of the back. She's been dealing with it for several years, and her opinion is to go ahead and take the addictive meds. in order to get up, get out, exercise and live as normally as possible.

My first order of business in retirement is to focus on improving my health.
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:29 AM   #9
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Since I FIREd, I've been taking some massage courses, and actually got a certification for medical massage. That's another holistic area where many people get medical benefits, but there are also a lot of practicioners who make false promises.

What I'm realizing about this stuff is that you have to just give it a try. If it works, it works. If your goal is to deal with pain, it may not even matter if it works via a placebolike mechanism or more directly... if it gets rid of the pain for you then it works.

I find that I often can give people medical benefits through massage (quicker healing, reduction of pain, increased range of motion), but I'm not good at all about predicting ahead of time who will benefit. Some people benefit and others don't.

I look at most holistic practioners this way: They tend not to be good at diagnosing or telling you whether they can help you (they almost always will say they can help). This tendency tends to make them look like quacks sometimes. But if you happen to find the right one whose skills match your issue, amazing progress can happen.
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Old 08-23-2008, 11:57 AM   #10
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Whatever you do, don't let him/her touch DW's neck.

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In my 30's I had a lower back problem and went to the Chiro for months, twice a week, but to no avail and ended up going to a neuro surgeon and surgery - turned out I had a disc that was fragmented into several pieces and I had a nerve route pinned and compressed almost flat between a fragment and ligament, so no chiro was going to fix that.

I was annoyed that the chiro never suggested the possibility it was something beyond his ability.

Also, I hated the fact that he insisted manipulating my neck, and the treatment was quite fierce. I had no neck problems but he insisted on doing my neck as well.
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:15 PM   #11
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Being a surgeon's daughter, I was brought up to think that going to a chiropractor was not a good idea (to put it mildly - - more like a sin). But then later in life, I saw a chiropractor do miracles for my ex, who had a very bad back. It was amazing to me. In the early 80's I went to the same chiropractor because my ex insisted that maybe he could do something about my thoroughly diagnosed M.S. I went several times a week for a year, since it was covered by insurance. The chiropractor was SURE he could help me, and he was very good. But really, the only improvement I saw was in my posture. It was great to have better posture, but not worth the thousands my insurance company was paying to him. My symptoms did improved gradually and recurred less frequently over the ensuing 25 years with no treatment, but not due to the chiropractor. I think I am very nearly symptom free at this point.

My conclusions are that some people benefit from chiropractors, and some people don't, and that we still don't know everything there is to know about M.S. As my father's daughter, I wouldn't go to a chiropractor unless all other (conventional medical) avenues had been explored first.
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:45 PM   #12
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The problem with chiros is that they want you to come in a couple times a month for maintenance visits, for which I have not really figured out the necessity.
This is necessary for the chiro to maintain his cash flow. I would never go to a chiro in spite of my bad back, but of my more gullible friends who have gone to various chiros over the years, every one was diagnosed with some condition that would require a series of treatments lasting as least as long as insurance would pay.
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:27 PM   #13
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my ex insisted that maybe he could do something about my thoroughly diagnosed M.S. I went several times a week for a year, since it was covered by insurance. The chiropractor was SURE he could help me, and he was very good. But really, the only improvement I saw was in my posture. It was great to have better posture, but not worth the thousands my insurance company was paying to him. My symptoms did improved gradually and recurred less frequently over the ensuing 25 years with no treatment, but not due to the chiropractor. I think I am very nearly symptom free at this point.
Wow! Good going; I am not sure but I think that this is an unusual outcome.

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Old 08-23-2008, 02:08 PM   #14
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Wow! Good going; I am not sure but I think that this is an unusual outcome.

Ha
Thanks! Yes, I think it is. I was pretty hopeless back then as I was having some significant symptoms that were becoming more and more frequent and severe, such as blindness as well as sensory and motor dysfunctions. It was diagnosed clinically by numerous very well qualified doctors and neurologists, and later (as they were invented) confirmed by CATscan and MRI. But now, I am essentially "back to normal" and have been so for many years. This was with no treatment, since the modern M.S. treatments were pretty experimental back then (and when I started to improve, I could see no point in changing things).

I can only conclude that there is much left to learn about the cause of M.S., or as I firmly believe, the causes, and its progression and the reverse. I do not know why I was so fortunate, but I expect to have no further problems.

However, I do have a good reason to be waiting another 442 more days for lifetime medical.
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Old 08-23-2008, 02:31 PM   #15
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I have seen a lot of chiropractors over the years and the effectiveness has differed, depending on who has been doing the treatment. My biggest bitch about chiros is that so many of them seem to treat for a total of 3 minutes followed by I'll see you on Friday. I much prefer an osteopath to a chiropractor.

However, something new that I came across this year and have to say I have had a very positive experience with is Rolfing. The following link explains what it is.

http://www.rolf.org/about/index.htm

When I went along no promises were made, but have to say I have had so many issues fixed. I have had sleep issues for 30 years, and for the first time in as long as I can remember, I started sleeping properly. I would highly recommend Rolfing to anyone as I have had many positive effects from the Rolfing.

I have to say the last person I would see if I had a back problem would be a Dr. I think taking medications of any type or surgery would have to be a very last resort.
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Old 08-23-2008, 04:18 PM   #16
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I have to say the last person I would see if I had a back problem would be a Dr. I think taking medications of any type or surgery would have to be a very last resort.
That is my thought too. I have seen more than one person in wheel chair post back surgery. I am sure there are chiropractic disasters too, but I have not personally run across any.

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Old 08-23-2008, 04:43 PM   #17
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I am sure there are chiropractic disasters too, but I have not personally run across any.

Ha
"The plural of anecdote is not data." Nor is the singular.

Just follow this link that I posted earlier, one was a friend of mine.

I kept my opinion to myself all day, but if it sounds like a duck, it's a ......

Other quacks alternative health care experts providers will only take your money. These guys will do what to you?
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Old 08-23-2008, 04:59 PM   #18
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My Dad had severe back problems most of his adult life, and greatly benefited from Chiropractors. I also have had my more-than-fair share of back problems, but chiros have been of no benefit at all for me.....in fact they ended up aggravating my back pain, rather than helping it. Back in the early 90's I did a STUPID 'twist-n-lift' of a heavy steel bar while standing with one foot on a ladder and the other twisted sideways on a window ledge.....DUMB move!!! For my stupidity efforts I dislocated 5 disks in an interesting zig-zag pattern. If it had only felt like a couple of daggers being stuck in my back, I would've taken a couple of aspirin and suffered through it. But it felt more like about 20-30 jagged rusty daggers instead!

The next morning I headed out the door looking like the hunchback of Notre Dame, and went to the chiro's office. I'd been there before without much success, but decided to give him yet another shot. He did this and that for about 15 minutes, and told me to come back the next morning for more battering 'manipulation'. I went home in more pain (if that were possible) than I had to start with. Next morning (after sitting upright in a chair for nearly 24 hours....with NO sleep) I went back to the crazed maniac chiro for 'round 2'. The only thing he succeeded at was giving me greater pain, and lightening my wallet.

On the way home we drove past my folk's physician's office. I decided to try to get in to see him, to see if there was anything short of killing me that would help the pain. So he, being a DO, takes a few x-rays, then comes in and starts GENTLY moving me this way and that way....(sloooowly, thanks be!).....and massaging and working on my back. He then laid some sorta deep-heating, magnetic thing-a-ma-jig on my back for about 15 minutes. He came back in, gave me script for some skeletal muscle relaxants, and told me to come back the next day. I was still in excruciating pain, but it wasn't as bad as when I had gotten there.

Anyway, after 2 weeks of daily (except Sunday) physical treatment & manipulation, and 2 more weeks of 3 day per week sessions, most of the pain was gone. It took about 6 more months to get back to near normal (physically anyway ), and about an additional year before I was 100% again. I've only needed to go back once since then, and it was a 'one time' deal for a relatively minor back pain.....nipped it in the bud!

So, personally, I prefer a DO over a chiropractor! YMMV.
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:29 PM   #19
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So, personally, I prefer a DO over a chiropractor! YMMV.
I'm a bit weak on acronyms, what's a DO?
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:30 PM   #20
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I think the key thing is finding the right specialist. My back problems started in Scotland where I started with a regular Dr who referred me to the hospital where I underwent several weeks of PT, then I went to an Osteopath who had been recommended and had 2 sessions with him - and he did make some good improvements. tied me over for about 3 years and if I had not been stupid and changed my life style then I probably would have been okay, but I continued playing soccer, squash, badmington and tennis and ended up back at a regular Dr who gave me pills and some exercises in Texas and that worked for about 2 years (still kept up the soccer and tennis) and then finally tried the chiro. (by which time we had moved to Louisiana)

After the chiro the regular Dr tried PT and muscle relaxants for a week but could see immediately that it was a hopeless case and referred me to a neuro surgeon who examined me and predicted on that first visit what the scans and other nerve tests would confirm a couple of weeks later. I had significant nerve damage and a fragmented disc.

A few weeks after surgery (age 35) I went to the "back school" recommended by the surgeon for a week and changed my lifestyle to avoid all the contact sports and those with sudden violent twisting. So I think chiros have their place but I personally wouldn't see one again.
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