Real Life Chiropractic Stories
Marathon De Sables (ankle)
During the final year of chiropractic college I had a patient limp into the clinic. He had ‘weak’ ankles that had repeatedly sprained during his years of running. but he had learned to throw himself to the floor if he thought he was going to go over on it, pick himself up, dust himself off and carry on running. However on this occasion he was carrying a new desk top computer up the driveway when he twisted his ankle. He knew in the moment that he had a choice between his computer and his ankle, he choose his computer. So he came to me with a sprained ankle, only 6 weeks before the Marathon De Sables, 51/2 marathons in 5 or 6 days through the Sahara desert. With a lot of hard work, from both of us, including balancing the pelvis, adjusting the spine (to strengthen the nerves), exercises to strengthen the lower leg along with exercises to improve balance (he told me he was standing on one leg with his eyes closed when customers would knock on the desk to get service…). Needless to say the hard work paid off, and he was able to complete the ultramarathon along with his wife.
4 day old patient (headaches)
Again whilst I was at college I decided that due to the experience of the clinical tutors, it was then or never for taking on paediatric cases for the first time. It was the relief on the faces of the parents of children with colic that made my mind up on the importance of working with kids. The fourth child that I saw was a referral from a local midwife who had recognised the baby as being headachy and referred him to our clinic for a check. The baby had been born premature, with forceps delivery and was failing to latch and feed properly from his mother. On examination it was obvious that the top vertebrae (C1) had been shifted to the right by the forceps and needed to be pushed back again. The amount of pressure necessary is no more pressure than you would use when pressing your own eyelid, but fantastically he responded beautifully, and three adjustments over a ten day period was enough to resolve his condition, allowing him to feed better. It was also amazing to get feedback from the parents about how much of a relief it was to see him feed without problems. A well informed midwife has made a life changing decision for that child, and I look forward to the day when all newborns have their spines checked by a chiropractor.
Back to cycling (low back pain)
Another of the great gifts of the chiropractic profession is to give people their hobbies back. When pain prevents you from being able to get on and do the fun stuff, life can become a little monotonous. An example was a patient who came in with 6 months of low back pain, which lead to long hard days working as a plumber and no energy left by the end of the day, so each evening he was just getting home and laying on the sofa, his day over right at the end of his shift. I remember I was about to start teaching a yoga class when he came in to make an appointment, having heard about the clinic through a friend of his. Now I am pleased to be able to say that he is not only completing his days at work without pain, but he is also back to cycling at the weekends with his brother, covering 12 to 19 miles, followed in some cases by an afternoon out walking, with only a little tightness to report back…
Dizziness (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)
A long term patient who was aware and taking advantage of the ongoing benefits of regular adjustments was going through a difficult time with her husband, who had early onset Alzheimer’s, one day came into the office with BPPV. we went through the Dix-Hallpike manoeuvre to test for BPPV and then ran through the Epley repositioning procedure. Although it can sometimes take up to three visits to reposition the otoliths, for this patient it was just the one visit. Bonus.
I thought I would have to live with it for the rest of my life (neck pain)
In a wheelchair (see below)
So, when I woman brought her mother in in a wheelchair I was wondering what on earth I would be able to do. But the daughter was beyond hopeful that something could be done, as getting her mother around in a wheelchair was seriously cramping her style. So if your expecting a case of a chiropractic miracle here, then its not the right place, as although we did get her out of the wheelchair and back walking, and back to independence, much to the delight of her daughter, the reason for the pain and disability – piriformis syndrome. Due to her age and the severity of the pain, she was unable to walk more than a few feet, and so to get to the clinic she had come in a wheelchair. I have to say that during the examination, once I had determined what it was, I was delighted to be able to help, especially with something so relatively straight forward.
One of my first patients in Haddington was a mother, who upon listening to the report of findings, during which I introduce to the patient how the adjustments strengthen the nerves, she asked about her son who has cerebral palsy. I said I would be delighted to meet him, and see if there was anything I could do. As a chiropractor my remit, as I see it, is to find and adjust points of tension in the spine (we call them subluxations), to improve the strength of the nervous system (see the page on science), and support this with work on the muscles, and by giving exercises. So upon meeting with her son, we assessed his spine and there were areas that we could work on, which I explained to both of his parents. This boy was affected on his right side (hemiplegic), both in the arm/wrist and calf muscle. After only a few weeks of adjusting his mother caught him stretching out the fingers of his right hand, the first time he had done this on his own, and it has been a pleasure to continue to work with him and see his progress. I always know when he comes into the clinic as he announces his arrival from down the stairs, a great joy to have around, bringing noise and energy to the clinic. I have since had the pleasure of working with a number of children with cerebral palsy, along with other neurological conditions alongside their medical staff, to improve the function of their spine and nerves system.