I've been seeing a chiropractor twice a week for about a month now.
I just don't know what to say, whether it was a good decision or not. I was wondering if people could share their experiences with chiropractors here.
My doctor has performed neck/spinal adjustments on every appointment, but I am wondering if it's really working. He has taught me some neck exercises that seem to be very effective. But I am particularly worried about the "aggressiveness" of the neck adjustments.
There are some articles mentioning the risks of neck adjustments. As always, other writings say the treatment is absolutely safe. I am confused.
I go to one periodically. He's also an MD so that's a little added plus. I had a pinched nerve in my neck last year. He would only do 3 adjustments on it. Said that was the maximum and if that didn't work he'd send me to a ortho who does necks. It did work so didn't have to pursue any further treatment. FYI, it was several weeks after the adjustments before it was totally OK. I'd ask him how many more he thinks you'll need. I always ask that...
I'm not qualified to speak about Chiropractors personally, but here's my experience. 4 years ago I was having severe pain in my lower back, it was just the one spot and did not hurt by touching the area, but the pain spasms were severe and constant. At this time I had seen several drs. who never bothered to run any type of test. I was told to go home and take Advil. I probably took Advil hourly, which we know is not good. But I was not functioning very well and felt it worth the risk. I got a call at home offering me a free chiropratic visit and xrays. I was interested in finding out what those xrays said. He told me I had scholiolis of the spine and he could help me. He put me on a table and hooked me up to a machine. I was wrenching in pain. He came over and asked me if it helped. NO!!!! Anyway, once he found out my insurance wouldn't accept him, we were both done at that point. I found a dr. I had seen previously and really liked who had moved to a neighboring practice. I had been trying to find a replacement for him locally and gave up and tracked him edown. Should have done it sooner. By now it's three years with this dibilitating pain. I was so frustrated at this point because I'd taken sick leave, paid co-pays galore and got absolutely no one who could/would help. I walked out of most of those appointments disapointed and felt like it had been a waste of time and money!!!! So I go see my old primary cae physician and wow, what a difference tha made. He remembered me and sat there and intently listened to my story and the length of time I'd been dealing with it. He sent me to xray to look at my back. The back xray came back and it puzzled him since he couldn't find anything. So he's in front of me in his chair and he starts talking about the atatomy. He stated "somethings purshing on a nerve." Bingo!!! Then with apologies he sent me back to do an xray on the neck. This was a precaution since he hadn't found anything in the back. He came back in the room with the xray and hand and said he was glad I had done that. As it turned out I had to have immediate surgery to prevent paralasis. He referred me for an MRI and then to the neurosurgeon. Both said the same thing. I had a two level fusion and no more pain. Well at least for two years. It was really good. Suddenly two weeks ago I started having additional, different symptoms above and below my fusion. I've been busy the last couple weeks, drs. appointment, a nerve assessment which came out fine, an MRI and a trip to the neuorsurgeon. I feel lucky, these drs. are not always easy to get in to see. But even the first time, they saw the seriousness and moved me to the top of the list. I was greatful. My entire trust is in the hands of these two drs. The neuro said he wanted to hold off on surgery at this point and keep a close eye. My fusion was two level from C5-7. The new MRI shows bulging at C4 directly above the fusion and c7-t1 directly below the fusion. Yikes. Well next I will be seeing a pain specialist and also be scheduled for an MRI on my lower back. They've never looked there before. I feel they are being pro-active. They both have very high ratings. So I guess my fate is in their hands at this point in time.
In conclusion, the chiropractor did not see what my dr. saw from xrays which were done very close together. He offered me help, but would not have been able to diagnose my problem. I left his office in more pain than when I went in. My insurance would not cover chiropractic visits. He didn't have a clue regarding the extent of my problems. I believe he was looking for my insurance coverage. I wasn't impressed.
I sincerely hope this helps. I have no experience with other chiropractors, but this one was not on the right track. He is also a physical trainer.
Thanks so very much for sharing your experiences with chiropractors.
This is my first experience with this kind of treatment. My neck was killing me and I thought I should give a try.
The chiropractor did ask for an x-ray, but only AFTER my first visit. He did perform a small neck adjustment during the first appointment, i.e., without seeing the results. That's kind of bothering me now because my neck is pretty bad and what if something was really wrong. My chiropractor has a lot of experience, but I totally agree with "feelbad" that there are a lot of potentially dangerous outcomes when any adjustments are done in an area that carries blood supply to and from the brain - that first adjustment was definitely a blind one.
As a matter of fact, last week I didn't feel well after the adjustment (the fourth week of visits) and that prompted me to do more research about this kind of treatment.
I decided to go to a chiropractor because I wanted something non-aggressive, but after having my neck manipulated a few times, I have to reconsider the whole thing; these manipulations are aggressive. The doctor says he wants to open more space but I think I can almost "read" his mind saying that the most important thing is to do some specific exercises for the rest of our lives while the adjustments are somewhat irrelevant.
Thanks again for your comments!!!
Last edited by Administrator; 05-03-2010 at 03:35 PM.
odra? just really really seriously push your primary to simply refer you for what really IS a badly needed contrated MRI right now. since you have also already had some adjustments too now as well? YOU NEED to actually know what the main base of your pain and any other real symptoms you may also have are just coming from in there. its a pretty common sense type of baseline scan to simply try and see/find ANYTHING that could be impacting any of your many nerve roots up there or any herniations or anything that just could either be close to or impacting that thecal sac surrounding the cord or the cord itself? right now you really know nothing.
are you having ANY other symptoms than the neck pain? any numbness or tingling that goes down to specific fingers or anything at ALL that is just going on in your arms to any degree or anyplace in that lower torso too? just having the ongoing neck pain here IS a "justifiable' reason for any doc to simply want to try and find out why? and that best type of way would be with the MRI that also uses a good contrasting agent too. it would be written on the order as 'MRI with contrast".
simply tell your doc that YOU want to and need to know what is causeing your pain and any other symptoms since right now, you really have no clue and you cannot properly treat what you do not yet know you have. if that does not convince your doc, tell him you will be moving onto a better more caring primary who actually WANTS to help patients find the real source/generators of ANY prominent types of symptoms, just so you actually CAN recieve the best most "appropriate" treatment options for YOUR level of c spine problems. its just needed so you can get to whatever your next good step would be here. without that one scan being done, you really do not know even if you were being sent for ANY types of PT if doing even that could actually make anything worse or better for you. now wiothout a real true Dx of the problems. its just THAT important in order for you to recieve that best level of care for what you may have wrong.
simply not actually knowing what is causeing ANY real solid types of symptoms inside our own body can make you crazy over time, trust me. i would imagine you are already kind of stressed out simply not really knowing whats wrong? believe me, over the past ten years, i personally have been down that 'not knowing' road wayy too many times. luckily i have had a really caring and amazing primary who simply listens to what i aam telling him. he has never turned me down when i have had a need for an MRI for a particular area since my body is already sooo insanely screwed up from not just spinal, but other medical conditions i was actually born with too. a really good primary who just does what any good primary should be doing for any patient is like gold. they just truely ARE who is supposed to be in charge of your ongoing medical care and co ordinating it too with whatever just IS needed for a patient. whether that is a particular needed test or a referral to a specialist of some kind when what you just have is wayyy too over their heads to even really know what the very best types of treatment options are available too. this is what my primary has simply done for me oh so many many times when i have just needed it.
hopefully your doc will simply DO what is kind of a no brainer at this point and get that MRI done. the overall results of it simply will dictate any next steps here in your care. good luck with this and please do keep me posted odra. FB
swartzie, i am popping down to your thread , K? FB
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.
Right on FeelBad. Any persistant pain in the necks is a sign that something is not right. Also, it took me three years and several drs. before I found one who immediately got the ball rolling. I am so mad at myself for wasting time, taking time off and paying co-pays to be told to go home and take Advil. That did not work. The primary care physician I've been seeing since listened intently to me and actually sat there and described the spine. I think he was thinking aloud. At the end of my appointment and after he had already referred me to my neurosurgeon, he stated "I want to see you back here in three weeks! Call if you have any problems before then." He correctly diagnosed me with just his own xrays and referred me to a specialist. Just knowing that I have someone, now two drs. looking after me is a relief.
Good luck Odra. You're moving in the right direction.
My x-rays revealed moderate scoliosis involving the lower cervical and upper dorsal spine. There is also dextroscoliosis in the lumbar spine. All distances are intact, and there are no destructive changes or calcifications. The scoliosis probably developed when I was a child. I haven't had back problems in the last few years, specially after starting to practice yoga. I don't do complex postures, mainly because of my neck, but yoga and relaxation exercises have helped me a lot.
Last year, I started to workout two/three times a week and after two months I started to feel pain in my neck - that's what led me to the chiropractor last month. My back is fine. Obviously the scoliosis makes the body try to compensate everything and this is a problem that cannot really be fixed. I believe the neck, however, can be improved. What has really worried is the kind of neck adjustment chiropractors do. I don't mind doing daily exercises for the rest of my life, I just don't want a relatively fast treatment that might lead to a serious injury. I was quite positive about trying the chiropractic treatment, but last week I got worried after the neck adjustment. That's why your suggestion about getting an MRI makes total sense. From the doctor's point of view, requiring an MRI might mean that the patient won't go back to his office - my insurance wouldn't pay the full cost of an MRI. Honestly, I don't care. As a patient we want to know what's going on. I thought the x-rays were already showing what I (and specially the chiro) needed to know, but I was wrong.
Thanks so much for your message.
I am so mad at myself for wasting time, taking time off and paying co-pays to be told to go home and take Advil.
Hey swartzie, yes, this is exactly what's happening to me.
In my case, I just don't think the x-ray is enough. But it's my very first time seeking treatment for the neck so I guess I will have to learn on the fly.
It's funny how doctors don't see the large picture, though. It's not too difficult to see that my neck has problems. I wonder why they don't point out potential problems during the preventive care visits? Usually these visits are restricted to listening to the hearts, lungs and maybe some blood work if you demand it.
Maybe I am asking too much, I don't know. I just don't think we should voice every single problems to a doctor during preventive visits. They would think we are all hypochondriacs. They ought to check some essential things regardless of what the patient says. One of them is spine/neck! Well, sorry for the digression...I guess it's time to go back to my PCP and start over.
Thanks a lot!
Hi Odra, thank you for responding to me. 2 years ago when I finally found my diagnosis, they told me I had no choice but to have surgery. They both were very concerned that I would fall or have an accident and both said I could be paralysed. They took very good care of me. I finally found that after all of that frustration, but finding a good Primary Care Physician is very good. When I had reoccurance of pain, even though it is different this time, he told me to come in immediately. I was at work when I called him cause it had started over the weekend and was already 3 days into constant pain, so I just left to go see him. I don't want to take any chances. I feel like you do and leave so many things out because they don't have time for all of it. But he does listen to my concerns and I can always call and ask questions. Usually I call and talk to his nurse, she goes to him and I've got an answer or suggestion or referral in minutes. I feel so lucky I have that now. But it took time to find it. After building a relationship with both of my doctors, they know me well enough I think to know I don't complain unless I'm really concerned.
I hope you find out that things can happen very quickly once they get the ball rolling. I had spinal cord compression and my spine was so crooked with my damage at c5-7 that something was laying on a nerve. The pain was worse than awful and he put me on vicodin which did take care of the pain. Advil did not touch it. He cautioned me to be careful in the meantime until surgery, which ended up being scheduled within the week, he was afraid I'd think I was fine and injure myself further. I had no trouble getting off vicodin. My pain was immediately gone after surgery. I only had one night in the hospital and they ordered a bone graph thingy to help my fusion heal. I haven't had any problems since then until now. Recovery didn't take long. This time, Advil will relieve some of my pain, so I'm not as concerned this time around.
Please keep us posted and may God be with you.
Hi Odra, Swartzie again. I did want to emphasize that I initially had an MRI. It was the next step after my Primary took his xray. MRI's give much more information. After that, I was in the neurosurgeons office. So things went quickly. They wasted no time - it felt like they felt personally responsible for me since they diagnosed the problem. In my case it was severe cervical spinal stenosis. They have not given a name to anything for my issues now, but I have a bulge above and beneath the fusion. Post op the nuero told me that the fusion was healed and the bones were healthy surrounding the anterior fusion. It was a two level fusion going through my neck, removing the damaged discs, decompression of the spinal cord by inserting a cadaver bone and placing a titaniam metal and screws to hold it in place. The hole bone fused together. I'm not sorry since it didn't sound like I had any choice but the surgery. I wonder if I could have been helped sooner had one of the other drs. taken a little more time with me. I tried to explain to them that I didn't just take off work for no reason to see the dr. That was the most frustrating thing. I honestly assumed I was alright, since I'd been to three drs. My sister kept bugging me until I made another appointment with my current Primary. That was the best move I ever made.
After reading this long thread I wanted to add just one thing. The state that I live in is pursuing a law that would require all chiropractors to thoroughly explain that adjustments to the cervical spine can result in strokes, including potentially fatal strokes. This explanation has to be given in writing as well and signed by the patient that they understand.
Hope this gives everyone something to consider on cervical adjustments, the realities of spine problems and those that "go in blind".
odra, you arte very right when you say you just DO need to know what is going on and with an MRI. whether or not there would be findings in the MRI really has no real impact on whether or not you would return to any actual primary doc since this is just what any good primary should be doing for any patient with the findings and symptoms you have? their JOB is to keep us running and also knowing when something just needs to be tested or a certain type of specialist is just also needed when something is just way over their own heads to even begin to actually know what the best treatment options are. they just are the co-ordinators of all of our ongoing care. getting that MRI done wont have ANY real impact on him. we still see our primarys for other things too.
but given the mere fact that you do have findings that are not only changing your vertebral alignment, they can aslo be creating some levels of real impingement upon nerve roots or even pushing things more towards your spinal cord too. this MRI with contrast will simply allow for the very first time, that really good more in depth look INTO the area of impact up there. and that right now just is what YOU need to know so your primary can refer you to the right type of specialist depending upon the findings. just make certain to get your own copy of that MRI report too, its just always the best thing to do whith any types of real testing results. i have every single test result/red report from all my now 18? MRIs i have had to have done, a few assorted CTs and a ton of ultrasounds/bloodwork to monitor my kidney and liver crap i have too. i keep it all in one expanding folder just so i can bring this to other appts when needed and i can also read thru my own results, which also helps in kind of researching your own findings too? but DO get things rolling here soon just to even know for certain what you are dealing with in there. those results will kind of dictate what steps come next.
its about time that someone started doing anything here just to actually regulate chiros at all? they need to also make certain any chiro is at least obtaining their own x rays before even touching ANY patient too. not even doing that ONE thing for any patient before attempting to 'move things' within an area like that c spine esp, to me is practically a negligence issue. it should be mandatory. good luck with this odra. and DO please keep us posted here, K? FB
11-20-01,placement of hardware for failed fusion
9-22-03,removal of cavernous hemangioma that was inside spinal cord. Neuro damage to L hand L leg and R leg.