December 11, 2009

The Back Story

So I've had problems off and on with my back over the years, nothing huge, just seemingly normal stuff--pinched nerve, sore shoulders, etc. As a mother of 5, I kind of figure it goes with the territory. But it seems that the last few months it's been really bad; about every other week I've dealt with pain severe enough to take over my life for a few days at a time. The locations are the same: right shoulder blade, with nerve pain that reaches up to my neck and head, and across my lower back.

The Saturday before Thanksgiving I did a vendor event. I had pretty much no success with reaching new contacts for my Stampin' Up! business, but on the plus side, I met a chiropractor and his assistant/office manager. A brief evaluation showed that my shoulders and hips are not aligned. Since he was offering a special on initial exams and x-rays (normally $170, free with a $20 donation for a needy family at Christmastime), I went ahead and signed up for the evaluation. I went in the Monday after Thanksgiving; Ted got off work early to come home so I could be kid-free.

This past Wednesday I went back to go over the results with the doctor. Unsurprisingly, I have problems, LOL! Everything is out of alignment. I really appreciate the approach Dr. P has; he truly wants to help people function at their best level, and he is very understanding of the limitations of schedule and income. (Tri-Care does not cover chiropractic care, unfortunately.) I got my first adjustment then and there, which was good, because I felt some lower back pain coming on as well as the now-familiar tightening of the muscles between my shoulder blades.

The next day I was in extreme pain--and I mean PAIN! Dr. P said that people have different reactions to treatments; some feel just the same, some feel worse, some feel better. I'm not entirely sure that the adjustment is responsible for all the pain, since I was feeling it "coming on" the day before. I have a feeling I would have been in pain regardless. But yesterday was a very difficult day, and I confess I was in tears a lot because I hurt so badly. It didn't help that Tobin had awakened us at 2 a.m. after having a nightmare, and I hurt so badly that I wasn't able to get back to sleep after that.

Today the pain is somewhat lessened, but I'm sure it will be at least a few days before I can move without being conscious of every nerve in my lower back and legs. In the meantime, Ted and I are trying to decide our best course of action--we know that chiropractic care is worth it for overall health, but we also want to be good stewards of our time and money. The office is a half-hour drive away from our house. (Leave it to me to find a doctor on the other side of town!!) And each treatment is $40, with a slight discount for coming in monthly. The recommended plan of course would have me coming in very frequently, but we just can't justify that expense right now.

At the same time, something must change, because I simply can't live like this anymore! I hope to get back to "normal" soon and begin exercising regularly again. I noticed a correlation between not exercising and having frequent pain, and I know I need to get back into my strength training and stretching.


Ski said...

I understand the cost of going so often, our insurance only covers 50% and that after the decutable has been met. However with Tabitha's leg we go in once a month and last year we were cold free, Tab did have a couple of stomach issues but no colds. Also, since we started going we've had no ear infections, over all we are healthier. My lower back which was injured during Tabs birth took about a year to get so it didn't hurt, going every 2 weeks for the first 2 months. I know it's hard with time and money and if you can at all swing it I would try it, like people said on FB it takes a while to feel better and it's well worth it. The girls now will ask after about a month when we are going to go see Dr. Anita. They notice a difference in how they feel. Another mom decided it paying the chiropracter was the same as they spent in co-pays with the added benefit of everyone being healthy(her and the 3 kids).
Just some thoughts. What ever you decide I hope you are pain free soon, back pain radiates everywhere.

Megan said...

I feel your pain, although mine is nowhere that severe. I'm guessing mine is a herniated disk presenting itself as sciatica.

Are you using your sling much? The one-shoulder slings have a way of really messing with a back. :-(

Beverly said...

Megan: No, I haven't used the sling in months! I could, I suppose, but he seems a bit too heavy for me to use it comfortably.

Ski: I think I may try going to the chiropractor once a week for a month, then every other week for a couple of months, then once a month. I know it would help!

Megan R. said...

No, I was suggesting NOT using the sling (if you were) since it can aggravate back problems. I know people who use them with toddlers, but I don't find it to be comfortable at all once the kiddo is more than a year old.

Beverly said...

I know what you meant, Megan. I just was saying that it's possible to continue using it--I know others who do--but for precisely the reason you mentioned, I don't. :-)

Lisa said...

Have you thought about trying to find a chiro that is closer to your house? In my city there is one on almost every corner!

When you start, the adjustments don't hold. That's why most people need to go 2 or 3 times a week at first. I went three times a week for nine weeks! It was a lot, but I definitely needed it with all my problems :-)

Some chiros will work out a payment plan with people. Mine offers a discount if you pay up front and if your family members get adjusted.

I'm going two times a week now, and I'm supposed to go down to once a week in January, but it depends on my progress.

My kids and I had really bad allergies before we started chiro, and now they are 98% gone. I was taking Claritin every day for the past three years. Now I rarely take it. Same with my kids.

I also had severe cramping with my cycle every month since high school. Chiro has amazingly taken away all of my cramping.

I hope you get relief soon. I know it is very challenging to live in pain 24/7.

My name is Debi said...

In my opinion you have made the right decision in not traveling too and spending money on a chriopractor. After more than 15 years of chiropractic therapy, one back surgery, physical therapy, accupuncture and magnet therapy...the one thing that has worked for me consistantly and is covered by insurance is medication. There are many ways Pain Management Dr.'s can adminster a combo of meds to relieve pain WITHOUT NARCOTICS. That is the route I've been on for the past 3 years and for 90% of the time...with great success.

The problem I FOUND with the Chriopractor is this: the adjustment feels good, but only lasts a few days and then you are on your way back there for another one! Also, there are times that the adjustments make flair ups worse! (like you experienced)
I wish you well on your journey to less pain.

Lisa said...

The only problem with meds is the negative side effects. Even Tylenol and Ibuprofen can affect your body negatively, especially if you take them often. The negative affects might not be seen right away, but they are there.

JenTiller said...


I was in ID when my back initially "went out." Right now, without a chiropractor, I probably would not be walking. I was okay for awhile, but in August of 2004, my back went out again, but this time, I had to use a cane, a wheelchair and tons of Vicodin and Darcocet. Nothing seemed to work. I eventually found that I had 2 herniated discs. I went through 2 rounds of shots from the pain specialist and although they worked for a few weeks, the pain never really went away. I eventually found a chiropractor who was more progressice than most, and who took a more holistic approach to his practice. I opted for the spinal decompression vs. surgery and to this day, I can walk w/o pain 90% of the time, I don't take shots 3X a week in both arms anymore for allergies and I go about once every 2 weeks for an adjustment. Exercise helps, as does Yoga, esp. Bikram Yoga. In fact, I didn't see my chiro for almost 4 weeks when I was doing Bikram Yoga on a regular basis. There are pros and cons of everything as you can see from the previously posted comments. All I know is that I am alive and walking today because of my chiropractor -- AND she's a Christian! :-)


JenTiller said...

Wow my spelling is horrible! LOL