Chiropractic Care: A Viable Option
Chiropractic care...Even as I say these words, I feel the need to put on a helmet and duck for cover.
In my experience as a patient advocate and support group leader, I have never seen another topic that divides Spondys quite like receiving chiropractic care.
A long long time ago when the Ankylosaurus was the only creature with our condition, somebody started this rumor that people with ankylosing spondylitis should not get adjusted by a chiropractor.
The belief is that if he or she moved our vertebrae, we would end up with a broken back and possibly paralyzed. That chiropractors don’t know what they are doing, and like Eddie Izzard says, “They live for the noise and will do anything to hear that crack”. (Paraphrased)
I was a believer like this for many years and nobody could convince me to go.
However, one day, that all changed with something nobody can pass up.
A free consult
Expecting to find somebody with essential oils playing soft music, I instead found... A chiropractor.
“Oh, I'm sorry, I have ankylosing spondylitis, I can’t receive chiropractic care.” Expecting them to tuck tail because I used such a big word, they instead said: “We treat people with ankylosing spondylitis.”
“Whoa... What? Really?”
They had me make a complimentary appointment where they would check me out, give me flexibility tests, and free X-rays! Turns out the X-rays were a type of “pay it forward” campaign. The person ahead of me paid for my X-rays, and I, in turn, paid for the next. I mention this because I know you all just scoffed at “free X-rays”.
They checked me out and scanned me and you will never believe what they found!
Turns out, ankylosing spondylitis aside, I have a really messed up skeletal structure! I was bent, curved, my shoulders were out of place, and my hips were as tilted as my uncle Teddy’s boat after he hit the rocks.
The chiropractor told me that there was nothing they could do for my AS, but they could help me begin standing and walking straight so my AS did not cause me as much trouble.
Chiropractic care for ankylosing spondylitis: it worked!
I came in 3 times a week for two months and he gradually moved my hips into alignment and brought my shoulders back to where they should be. Other than stretching my spine to promote space between my vertebrae, he didn’t touch my spine. No cracking, or jarring, or jerking. Just positioning and helping me function better.
I might have AS, but I also had a really bad back! He couldn't fix my AS, but he did help me stand tall.
I needed more
The problem that eventually arose with this chiropractor is that I think he, deep down, believed the myths that people with AS should not be adjusted. And I knew this because, I would come into the office in pain and unable to move, and he wouldn’t touch me! He’d offer me the roller table and that’s it. I was coming in pain, and I was leaving in pain because he was afraid to help me. Not worth my co-pay nor was it worth my well-being. Like with so many other myths that do more harm than good for us, I needed to make a stand. So, I moved on to someone who understood AS and knew what my limits were.
We are getting into the part of the story where people might start to form opinions and disagree with what I'm about to say.
I want you to please remember what I always say when it comes to treatments. Everyone is different, what works for one person might not work for another, and vice versa. Please listen to a trusted doctor, and most of all, know yourself. If it doesn't feel right for you, don’t do it.
With that said...
I needed to crack
My new and current chiropractor isn’t afraid to adjust me. Yes, I was nervous at first, but he saw my updated X-rays, he knows what AS is, and he was confident that he could fix the vertebrae that were out of place without breaking my back.
The truth is, I was stuck! Along with my out of alignment hips and shoulders, my thoracic and cervical areas of my spine cause me a lot of trouble.
With very deliberate motions, he is able to move those sections back to where they are supposed to be, and I literally come out standing taller with less pain.
I have been seeing this doctor for over two years at least twice a month, and I have never felt I was in danger. Nor have I regretted it later.
Chiropractic care is a very much needed part of my treatment plan.
Endorsement with a grain of salt
Chiropractic care has been life changing for me. It has lowered my pain and has allowed me to be more flexible. I've been told that I am a lot easier to get along with since starting this course of treatment. I would recommend it for anybody who feels their back pain is more than just what AS causes.
The grain of salt is, I am NOT a doctor. So, please please please consult a professional who understands AS and talk it through with them. If you are comfortable, give it a try.
How much about your AS do you share with others?