The Chiropractic Session
Thanks for all the supportive comments yesterday. They were much appreciated. I felt I had you all in the Chiropractor’s room with me.
The Need to Seek Professional Help. Can’t do This on My Own
Well I survived my visit to The Chiropractor and live to fight another day. I promised I would let you all know how I got on so am now here to fill you in.
I was quite anxious about my impulsive move in selecting a Chiropractor. I have always been given mixed and conflicting advice about the benefits and success rates from this type of therapy. In fact there have been those in the past who lectured me strongly about the dangers of going to either a Chiropractor or Osteopath. ‘You can come out worse than when you in’ or ‘I have a friend whose back was destroyed by a Chiropractor’ and ‘I wouldn’t let a Chiropractor near me’. I have heard all the scary stories, but I have also heard of the successes too. When you are desperate and have reached a stage where you just couldn’t care less anymore, you are prepared to take crazy risks. I woke yesterday morning in a do or die mood and threatened to throw myself out the window if this mess of my neck didn’t go away. When my partner Googled Chiropractors in our region, he came up with the name of one that I knew in the local village/town of Clane, County Kildare. Actually I had been to this Chiropractor Clinic once before back in 2012, but never actually had a treatment. It had been a consultation regarding, yes, my neck, back in October 2012. Richard, the Chiropractor had taken some digital images of my spine, and because he saw a couple of ‘things’ in my cervical spine (neck), he advised I have an MRI of that area before starting treatment.
I had the MRI a couple of weeks later and because the results went back to my GP, he set me forth onto the path of the wearying and exhausting hospital system. I went the traditional medical route instead of returning to the Chiropractor. Somehow or other, I forgot about Richard and got caught up in hospital appointments that took months to come around. While I waited to be seen by the experts, my condition deteriorated and I resorted to finding help elsewhere. I don’t exactly know why I didn’t go straight back to Richard, The Chiropractor. Instead, my niece suggested a Osteopath who had helped her in the past and I eagerly took his number. I managed to secure an appointment, but his rooms were in Dublin City and I could only get in there once a week. He was a very busy man and appointments were like gold dust. When I managed to secure one with him, I arrived in Baggot St, Dublin, in a bit of a wobble. By that stage my balance had been gone for some time and my left cheek and eye-socket felt as if they were fractured. My lower jaw was moving in an exaggerated way to the left when I talked, and my speech was slurred. I kept biting my tongue and the inside of my mouth. There didn’t seem to be enough room in my jaw for my teeth and they ached and throbbed. My tongue also seemed to big for my mouth and I was at odds as to where to put it. My neck arms and shoulders were a complete mess.
Feeling Trapped and Tied Up in Pain
I really didn’t know what to expect from the session, but Paul, the Osteopath, after patiently listening to my long and weird history of symptoms, explained the nature of his work and how he hoped to help me. Then he produced his smart phone and asked me to stick my tongue out. He took a lovely photo of my tongue and then viewed it on his computer screen. He asked me if I had suffered a trauma or grief in recent years as he pointed out a deep line on the image of my tongue. I told him about the loss of my son from cancer in 2007 and he nodded wisely. He explained that it had left its imprint on me. The tongue, he said, was like a map of the body and easily showed up the areas where dis-ease reigned. He suggested that there was a lot of unexpressed grief and emotional repression that could very well be the root cause of my misaligned body. After the consultation he put me up on the plinth and proceeded to feel around the back of my neck, uttering ‘ah’ whenever he found inconsistencies. He checked out my jaw, shoulders, back, arms and legs. Overall he found a lot of things out-of-place. He then began the session in earnest, making adjustments in my neck and doing some painful things with my jaw. He reset my hips and rolled my arms in funny ways. Then he set me up with some acupuncture needles and left me to listen to classical music. I remember lying on the plinth with tears rolling down my face, as emotions rose to the surface. I couldn’t help myself. It was very relaxing and I could have stayed in that zone, perfectly happy and at peace for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, he had another client due in so I had to return to my world of chaos and leave the building. I was to come back for several more sessions and already I couldn’t wait for the next.
Carrying Trauma and Grief
I remember that day, walking down the steps of the old Georgian House on Baggot Street, totally spaced-out and feeling very disconnected. I was more dizzy and unsure on my feet than when I had walked in but he had warned me of the likelihood of feeling like this, and that it would wear off in a couple of days. I was to take it easy for the rest of the day and drink plenty of fluids. When I went home that day I stood in front of the mirror and began talking to myself. My mouth didn’t appear as crooked and my speech was definitely less slurred.
By the end of my second visit the following week, I walked out and down the steps with far more confidence. I crossed the roads at the lights without fear of stumbling under a car, and was very chatty with my partner all the way home in the car. I was then hyper for the rest of the evening, and on waking the next morning, I discovered I had my balance back for the first time in over a year. I couldn’t believe it. I felt so much better that I was now contemplating attending the wedding of my niece in Dublin that weekend, something I thought I wouldn’t be able to manage. I did more than attend the wedding. I was on the dance floor the whole night. My family was amazed as they had expected me to sit in a corner, unable to join in the celebrations.
Happy Days -Feeling Well Enough to Dance at The Wedding
It was all a great success and I continued with my weekly sessions in Baggot Street for some time. Then it was time for me to stand on my own two feet. It never fully went away but it remained more so in the background where I could ignore it most of the time. I was able to go cycling again and drive.
The Nightmare Returns – Have Had Enough. So Tired
You can imagine my despair and upset, when after surviving major surgery eight weeks ago, the neck and jaw problem decided to make a triumphant return. I just didn’t see it coming, and thought that I had enough to be getting on with recovering from an Ileostomy and getting used to a stoma bag. There was no ignoring it or pretending it wasn’t that bad, for it wanted my full attention. I think I may have lost the plot in the last week or so, and have been very difficult to live with. I haven’t been getting much sleep either with the whole thing so was at my wit’s end yesterday morning and tired of feeling all over the place.
I hadn’t thought of The Clane Chiropractic Clinic until Billy, my partner, called it out to me from his phone. I grabbed my own phone and dialled before I talked myself out of it. I had been to the hospital only last Friday, thinking that I was so recently post major surgery I should check in with them first before going elsewhere. What amazed me, always does with issues like this, they never even touched my neck, or felt my jaw. Instead they just listened and then told me that my balance and eye problem would not be coming from my jaw or neck. I begged to differ, and realised that I was never going to get anywhere with them. Back in 2012, I had been sent to the Physio Department in one of the hospitals, and even there, they only looked at my neck from a distance. The Physio was aghast by what he saw back then and called it Sternomastecloid Syndrome. He gave me some stretching exercises to work with. I left the hospital with drugs and a heavy heart last Friday. Deep down I knew they wouldn’t work but had to give them a try.
Deciding to Take a Risk – Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained
And so, exactly two years after my initial appointment with Richard from Clane Chiropractic Clinic, I was managing to get back to him. Luck was on my side, he had a free slot at 4.20pm and I happily took it. What I liked was that the woman who took my call asked about my symptoms and previous treatments. She was a Chiropractor herself and so was able to understand what I was talking about as she asked very relevant questions. Clane Chiropractic Clinic was quite new when I first attended back in 2012 so the very fact they were still in business in this dodgy Irish economic climate had to imply a solid reputation and a strong clientele base. They must be good at their stuff or else they wouldn’t still be here.
Broken Down Body on The Plinth – In the Hands of The Professionals
It was a heavy, dark, sodden and miserable Wednesday evening in Clane and I was very nearly late for my appointment due to school traffic. It is a terrible chaotic place when the schools finish each afternoon, but even worse when it is raining. I was greeted by a very friendly receptionist who called me by my first name as I arrived through the door. My bum didn’t have time to hit a seat for Richard was ready to see me in Room 3. After greeting me and offering me a seat, Richard, a young dark-haired man, already had my old file out and my x-rays flickered on the computer screen in front of him. He had read through my notes from 2012 so had a good idea of my problem. I just had to fill him in to-date. He had asked me to bring the copy of my Cervical Spine MRI so that he could take a look at it. He loaded it onto his computer and then spent a few minutes studying it. He took notes of everything I said and asked lots of questions. I spend a lot of time in and out of hospitals for tests and clinics. It is only on the rare occasion that I find a doctor who has looked at my file and has some sort of idea as to why I am there. They generally want you back out the door as soon as possible so that they can move on to the next patient waiting listlessly outside for their coveted 5 mins of medical care. It is a joke.
My Hope in Richard
Efficient and Professional, Richard was interested, and not just going through the motions. He put me at ease and assured me that he was going to try his best to get to the bottom of what was going on and hopefully sort it out. I was eager for the treatment to start and readily hopped up on the plinth when he suggested. While I sat on the plinth he examined my spine, one vertebrae at a time from neck to tail, and then all around the skull and jaw area. I then lay down on the plinth and we went through some arm exercises to gauge muscle strength. Once this was complete he informed me of his findings. The left side of my neck and left shoulder were extremely tight. The joint at the base of my skull was practically fused. He explained that several nerves pass through this area and because of the tightness, they were causing a lot of referred symptoms in my head, and most probably the balance issue too. The tightness in this joint was also causing muscle contraction and multiple knots. I had poor rotation of my head which was caused by this fusion. My shoulder was not much better. The whole left side was locked with tight contracted muscles that wouldn’t let go. They were pulling on my jaw, causing pain and making eating and talking an effort. With that aside, it was time to go to work on all those nasty areas with a view to loosening them up. He told me that it wouldn’t happen in one treatment and I knew that.
He began to work on the back of my neck close to my skull and was able to zoom in to the exact points that needed to be worked on. I knew that he knew what he was doing for as soon as he applied the slightest bit of pressure, red-hot pain that ripped through my head. It was like he was pressing on a boil that was under my skin. He explained that he was attempting to stretch and loosen this area so that the joint could be freed. He would occasionally tilt my head from side to side to disperse whatever he had released from these tortured areas. The whole thing hurt like hell but it also felt like something was actually happening. It certainly was not a passive treatment and from my previous experience dealing with this problem, the treatment has to hurt if it is going to work. Richard found problem points and areas I hadn’t even expected. It is amazing what is connected to what where muscles, tendons and ligaments are concerned. Every time he found a new one, I almost hit the ceiling with the intense soreness of it. He then began traction on my neck lifting my head slightly and pulling it gently back towards him. When that was done he did some similar work on my shoulder which was every bit as sore as the neck. He then moved on to my body but this time he told me he was going to do some cracking. He asked me to take a deep breath and on release exerted pressure on my back until I heard a crack. I then sat up and was told to begin to lie back into his arm and just as I reached the bed he did the pressure thing again and cracks sounded out around the room. He said he would leave it at that for that session but that he wanted me back on Friday to make further progress. He warned I would be sore as hell after the session but not to worry, for it would be very sore as it began to loosen up and stretch. The knots held a lot of lactic acid and once they were gone, it wouldn’t be as bad.
Alignment and Balance – The Treatment
I told Richard that I had informed everyone on my Blog about the appointment with the Chiropractor, and that I would be Blogging today to say how I got on. I told him about the Cards and explained their relevance. He was very interested and I asked him if he thought he was The Magician? He was a little unsettled but said that he hoped he was. ‘No pressure Richard, it is just that the world and his wife (an Irish saying) are waiting to hear if you are.’ Poor man.
Slow Recovery, but Hopeful
I left a little unsteady on my feet. I could feel a deep heat in my neck and head, and my shoulder was throbbing. Billy was waiting in the car for me outside. Going home the short distance in the car, I felt speechless with tiredness. I felt a weariness seeping through my bones and everything ached. My arms were so tired, I could barely lift them. However, there was a difference. The extreme tightness I have been experiencing had calmed down, and whereas I felt like I had been beaten up, the horrendous nauseous sensation was gone. I spent the rest of the evening lying on the couch with a rug over me, totally exhausted. Something had definitely happened and it was not in my imagination. I slept better last night, but still not enough. I developed a bad headache this morning and my eyes feel heavy. I put this down to the post treatment effects and the release of toxins into my system from around the tight joint and muscles. I am also able to type with greater ease this morning but will be careful not to overdo it. I am already looking forward to my visit tomorrow morning and will welcome the pain of the session as it will all be in a good cause. I do not mind pain if I know it is going to end. We all have to suffer at some stage or other but when it goes on and on and on, it is easy to go quite insane.
It has all got off to a promising start and I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one.
The Goal – A Balanced Queen of Wands and a Freed up Body