Saturday, January 21, 2006

pain in the neck? hunky chiro is here!

So, I've been suffering for the past week. On Tuesday I had these horrible shooting pains in the back of my head that made me dizzy. It was so bad, I had to retreat to the restroom to recover but being an hourly cog, I couldn't go home. That night I did some stretches to try to make them go away. P massaged me. Wednesday I seemed fine.

But Wednesday night, they came back with a vengeance: stiffness, pain in my neck, back, head. What was wrong with me? I haven't been in a car accident. No major trauma to the head? Nothing out of the ordinary in the least. I went to bed, lying on my back and woke up unable to move my head, unable to stretch, unable to do just about anything. I started to call around and see who had muscle relaxers on hand (my friends are like pharmacies usually and I figured there'd be some spare drug lying around that they could prescribe a la the article about young adults acting as their own pharmacists .

Then I got a call that I had a job for the afternoon. So I popped some Aleve (something I've never bought or taken) and was on my way to SoHo. I painfully fact checked this piece, moving like a robot, apologizing for my strange behavior. The pain and stiffness worsened. I had to do something.

My friend Ben mentioned a chiropractor he once frequented (and a potential date he may have with someone else from the office). I was only concerned about how to get an appointment. So I called first thing Friday morning and was there by noon.

Now I'm quite open to "alternative" medicine and treatments. I even visited an acupuncturist once with no known symptoms or complaints just cuz I knew the woman and I always wanted to see/feel what it was like to have those needles stuck in me. The fact is, I've always counted myself quite a healthy person and have not even frequented the doctor more than a few times in my life. But I've always been wary of people messing with my back. I won't even let people "pop" my back with that strange heimlich-esque thing boys like to do to one another and especially to girls -- no matter how sexual it may look. Just too much potential danger to such a precious and sensitive area to be foolin around.

Plus, chiropractors have always had a whiff of indecency or, at least, a lingering scent of commericalism and exploitation. I mean, I lived in Atlanta with Life University (and its attendant dis-accreditation and controversies) that produced all the kids who wanted to make big bucks setting up their own practices to crack people's backs for big bucks. Plus, I can see how they help back and neck problems, even probably migraines and other things with variable causes. But I don't think it's a cure-all that can alleviate diseases and major health issues as some have claimed.

But, since we're on the topic, it should be noted that I also distrust dentists, as crotchedy as that makes me sound. Since I still have never had a cavity to this day, they always seem to think up some other way to gouge me: if you don't get your jaw broken you'll have TMJ, if you don't get braces you'll have migraines, your teeth look great but if you spend $3000 you could be PERFECT. And I understand it, anyone in private practice needs to make a buck and these are basically our medical gods of entrepreneurial capitalism. They're just doing their best to make a buck.

So I visited with some trepidation; a smidge of distrust mixed with a whole lot of curiosity. The office is located in a nice building near NYU and, let's admit it, all the guys working there are pretty hot. E. brought me into one of the rooms, explained to me what he would do (with a nice vertabrae model) as I tried to nod without wincing. Then he had me lean against an upholstered table, which mechanically declined until I was lying flat. He put some pads on my back and demonstrated the different levels of electricity that would help relax my tense muscles. That was freaky. The pads cycled on my traps for about eight minutes, my muscles twitching and flopping uncontrollably but slowly, slowly relaxing. I'd tried to do this on my own with some breathing exerices, stretching and meditation to know avail. Now I was like some dead frog being zapped back to life.

After the electric therapy he began kneeding "trigger points" in my back and shoulders. Then he felt along my spine and told me to breathe in, breathe out. -- POP! -- "Congratulations. That was your first adjustment."

I have to say, I've never really had a good relationship with doctors since I never saw one more than once. Being a military child, we had free health care but that also meant you got whoever was there when you showed up. I never understood this idea of a "family doctor" being a transient and, since I never really went often enough, I never expected my docs to be much at bedside manner. But E's powerful, reassuring presence relaxed me as he told me to turn on my side, put my right leg between his legs like a vice and -- POP! -- another adjustment.

Then I was on my back and I suspected what might be coming as he massaged around my neck and began to "walk" my neck around. It stretched to an amazing position I didn't think possible with the amount of pain and stiffness I had felt and then (breathe in/breathe out) -- POPpopPOP! -- I Iet out an uncontrollable little "oooh!" There was now the other side to reckon with.

Later in the day, as I was drinking lots of water, lying in bed, ice on my neck I felt like I was feverish and a bit disoriented but by morning I could move my neck again (albeit with some major soreness), and it was time to head back down to E. for another followup adjustment. Much of the same but with a little less apprehension on my part.

He says he wants to see me 6-8 more times to finish the therapy but I'm still uninsured, which means I can't really afford the $75 it costs each time. I think I'll postpone until my insurance comes through (should be next week). But I think I'll be back. This back popping is pretty amazing -- and addictive.


At 3:11 AM, Blogger Guillem said...

$75? Mi chiro (P got to know him, right?) is €30 the hour! Your addiction to E. and POPpers might get pretty expensive...

Oh, and all chiros tell you you must have 5-6 sessions more with them in order to finish the therapy properly. I think they learnt that from dentists.

At 5:21 AM, Blogger Jerry said...

Poppers? hah! I scoff at poppers. How 70s.

Yes, my dear, everything is cheaper in spain. Like the fact that if I want a few lovely clementines here I pay $8 whereas I could get twice as many in BCN for just one euro. (and let's not even discuss ecstasy: €6 instead of the going rate of $20 a pill? Outrageous)

You can also get a proper teeth cleaning in Spain for €30 (without insurance), whereas you're lucky if you can visit a dentist's office in the states without just paying that for walking in the door.

You may pay more in taxes but we gouged in the end. I try to explain that to people but we just think that Europe is all around more expensive (must be poor vacation choices). Of course it IS all more expensive in England, so maybe...

At 12:54 PM, Blogger dayone said...

I'm skittish of both chiropractors and dentists. JWP, we were clearly separated at birth.

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Dee said...

Holy shit. I thought that pic you included was some kind of campy retro joke! It's straight from their website!


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