I’ve been going to the chiropractor for well over a year now and I have to tell you, it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! But, I’m the first to admit that I have always been skeptical of chiropractors. When I first graduated college, I worked for a physical therapy company, first as a tech, and then as a strength and conditioning coach. I learned so much by just watching physical therapist work their magic to make people feel better. It was something I just didn’t think I chiropractor could do. Plus, having my neck and body twisted and popped freaked me out a little bit. How could that possibly help anything?!
It wasn’t until Matt started going that I started to change my tune a little bit. Right after we got engaged in 2005, Matt started having some shin pain. It wasn’t shin splints and it wasn’t a stress fracture either. But, he simply could not run because of the amount of pain it caused him. Matt has been a runner since high school, also competing at the college level, and has been a coach (at both the college and high school level) for the past 12 years. It was devastating to see someone who loved to run as much as I did not be able to do it and not have the answers he wanted.
Of course, I sent him to one of the referring physicians for the PT place I worked for. They again ruled out a stress fracture and sent him to physical therapy. First they started with his feet, then they decided that maybe it was his hips and back. They would have me press on his back every night in hopes that something would help alleviate his pain. The strengthening and stretching exercises they had him do helped, but the pain was still there.
After years of dealing with the pain, he finally met our chiropractor at his school who was giving free massages to teachers. They gave him a free consultation and he decided to just go check it out, to see what they could do if anything. Within a week of being adjusted and explained what exactly was going on in his body (he has an extra lumbar vertebrae that didn’t fuse, causing extra movement in his hips and bad alignment, as well as hypersensitive nerves), Matt was back to running within a few weeks.
A few months later, I started having horrible knee pains. It didn’t hurt when I ran, but I couldn’t squat or kneel without excruciating pain in my left knee. Which is difficult when you’re extremely active and spending a lot of time on the floor with a mobile one year old. Matt told me they were doing a referral incentive at the chiropractor and that he had signed me up. It gave him a chance to win a flat screen TV if I went, so I figured it couldn’t hurt.
My first visit involved x-rays of my spine as well as looking at the alignment of it. He also evaluated my knee since that was the main issue. After chatting for a few minutes, I found out that this chiropractor also held the same strength and conditioning certification I do (CSCS) and that he really knew his stuff and the importance of not only making me feel better, but also helping prevent further injuries. All of a sudden, I understood what chiropractic care was all about.
Doctors and physical therapists are there for injury treatment. When you get hurt or have surgery, you go to them, and they help make you feel better and then ship you off. Which is great! I’m sure if I ever have to have surgery on my knees (knock.on.wood.) that I would be doing every single thing the PT suggests that I do.
But, a chiropractor isn’t just there to treat you. They are there to help prevent injuries, which is more of my way of thinking. I run, eat healthy, and am safety conscious because I want to prevent things like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and accidents from happening. I am ALL about prevention, and the chiropractic way of thinking just suddenly fit me so much better.
My first visit finished up with meeting Dr. Matt (Dr. Mawer did my initial exam). Dr. Matt performed A.R.T. (active release technique) on my knee, told me to ice it basically for 24 hours, and to come back the following day. Within a week, my knee pain was completely gone! I apparently had a small meniscus tear and the A.R.T. helped to remove some of the scar tissue that was causing me pain. Since then, I have no longer had any issues with my knee and can do squats like a champ (when I’m not pregnant).
Now, I mostly go in there just to get adjustments to make sure that my body is aligned appropriately. It has made my running better (I PRed a few months after starting) and I am much more efficient. Every once in awhile, I will ask them to work on something that has been bothering me. Lately, it’s been my ankles, but I’ve also had them help with headaches as well as do trigger point massage to alleviate sinus issues. I seriously have never felt better in my life and I can tell when it’s been awhile since I’ve gone. There are times when I hate the fact that I know I pretty much have to go to them forever, but if it’s going to make me feel better, it seems worth the small payment we make each week. (They thankfully have family discounts and I’m the only one paying out of pocket with my insurance, but it all goes toward my deductible).
Have you ever been to a chiropractor? What was you experience like? Similar or something completely different?