My first adjustment with the chiropractor was after the discussion of my intake results. I knew this was a great possibility to have an adjustment immediately following the discussion; however, I was so focused on the findings of my scans that I forgot about it. I guess that’s a good thing though because my anxiety may have gotten the best of me.How week 1 went with my #ChiropracticCare visits. #chiropractor Click To Tweet
Nevertheless, we left the safety of Dr. Tom’s* office (I say safety because I was confronting a big fear of mine – spine manipulation), and headed to one of the front rooms. One of the front rooms that contained some big standup contraption that did God only knows what. Did they realize how intimidating those machines get? Yes, machine. It has mechanical parts and moves with sounds, so it’s a machine to me no matter how much it looks like a harmless table.
I’m a person that gets intimidated easily by medical machines. Just the sight of one or even mere mention of one can get me a little queasy to the stomach. Let’s not blame it on a sensitive or nervous stomach, and just get real and say I’m a pansy. I’m okay with that. Anyways – I don’t like X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds, or anything else that involves medical equipment. And don’t get me started on a blood pressure cuff. Ugh!!
There are these irrational thoughts that zoom through my head when being confronted with a procedure involving medical equipment.
What if the X-ray machine being held up by that medal arm has a loose bolt and crashes right on top of me crushing me to death?
What if the blood pressure cuff doesn’t know when to stop because it’s faulty resulting in my arm being severed by the nonstop squeezing?
What if the MRI thingy spins out of control and sucks me into the machine?
Anything is possible, ya know. And it doesn’t help that my husband always, always tells me these freak accidents involving pieces of medical machinery. Like the time the guy was killed because the magnets in the MRI machine went bonkers. Timothy, if you’re reading this – please, please stop telling me these stories. I’m enough of a paranoid freak without the help of your ‘evidence’ supporting my crazy what-ifs.
Update 8/24/2018: Since this article, I have had a MRI scan. It did not kill me. Nothing happened other than me nearly crying and having to be talked into the scan by the technician. I don’t want to have another one, but at least I faced my fear regardless of the mess I was.
Getting back to the room that contains a harmless table used for adjustments. Sue*, the chiropractic assistant, tells me to stand on the bottom platform of the vertical table facing the table. I rest my face in the opening and she lowers me into the horizontal position.
Again, I must stop to interject my thoughts on this. I get motion sickness sometimes and when I do get it, it’s from ridiculous things. Like being lowered face down on a mechanical massage table. I was holding onto the handle grips until my fingers hurt and were sweaty. In order to not get dizzy and/or vomit, I leaned my head up to look out the window as I was lowered into the horizontal position. I really didn’t think the table was ever going to stop.
When I was on the operating table having an emergency c-section with my youngest child, I got motion sickness from my physician adjusting the table. She was short and petite, and in order to get a proper stance above me to extract the baby (Did I really just use the word ‘extract’? I guess that’s what it is though.), she had to adjust the table up, down, side, other side, over and over forever until it was at the right angle. Actually, if it was at an actual RIGHT angle, I probably would have been just as sick.
Despite having multiple anti nausea medications coursing through my veins during that delivery, I vomited multiple times. In fact, they put motion sickness patches behind my ears and I continued to vomit from motion sickness for about twelve hours. HORRIBLE.
So trust me when I say I didn’t want to become ill from this table. I knew I would get use to it over time and the table being lowered was for the safety of my back. I get it, but didn’t affect me any less.
Thankfully, the table did stop once I was horizontal. Sue then took a vibrating massager and massaged my upper shoulders, mid back, lower back, and each of my legs. I thought it was going to hurt because it hurts when my husband gently massages my back, but it didn’t hurt at all. Quite the opposite – I was giggling. Sue told me it was ticklish because of how tense my muscles were and it was new to my body. Again, I would get use to it.
So in comes Dr. Tom ready to adjust me. He knew I was anxious, so he talked to me to tell me what he was going to do and what to expect. What he DIDN’T tell me was the noises he would be making with my bones. Great goodness! If I would have known what was coming, I would have been so much more anxious! Looking back, I guess that’s why he didn’t tell me. Haha Good thinking, Dr. Tom!
While lying flat on my back, he felt along my spine from the neck down to my lower back. It was as if he was counting, feeling, or something. He found a spot after a few more motions, and then pressed downward, swiftly and firmly, with both hands. The noise!! I know it’s merely the sound of the gases between the joints leaving the body in a loud POP, but still, you guys – it was crazy loud! And so many of them! That’s when I began sweating and wondering to myself, why did I get myself into this? And then I wondered how long before I got use to it all.
He asked me to lie on my right side with my right leg extended and my left foot drawn up to my right knee. I rotated my upper body to be somewhat flat on the table and folded my hands onto my left side. No joke – he half-crawled up onto my left leg and pressed downward in a swift, firm motion. Again, pops galore! I felt like Oprah and my body was handing out pops – “YOU get a POP! YOU get a POP! EVERYONE gets a pop!”
After doing the same manipulation for my left side, he asked me to lie on my back. At this point I had not told him I was sweating or anxious. He did ask if I was doing okay and since I thought it was over, I said I’d be fine. I didn’t lie – I was going to be fine. I started to calm down when he began to raise the table.
But the table stopped before it was fully vertical. What was happening? I’ll tell you what was happening, friends – he was going to adjust my neck!! Are you kidding me?? This is where I get my hesitation of chiropractors from. Here are the scenarios is my head at this point –
What if he popped the wrong joints?
What if he broke my neck?
I was at the frozen state of critical response. You know the one – fight or flight or frozen? Yeah, I’m frozen at this point. He leans his ear down parallel to my ear and moves my head gently from side to side, feeling the spine as he does it. He then raises my head up a bit, asks me to lie back, then POP! Holy shinto!! I could FEEL the popS in my ears and throat. Damn it! I heard that sound for the rest of the day and it haunted me. I’m no lying. It was a horrible sound to hear for me.
If I’m scaring you off chiropractors, I’m sorry. That’s not my intention. If it’s any help, it only took a few more visits to get over this. At the following visit the next day, I told him about those popping noises scaring me. He told me about it being gas and the force he would have to conjure up to actually break my neck. Yes – I told him I feared he would break my neck. He said he was no Bruce Lee and assured me he would not break my neck.
Dr. Tom did tell me during the first part of the visit (where we discussed my results) that I would be sore the first weeks of adjustment. This was normal. He asked that I not start any new exercise until he felt my body was taking well to the adjustments. He didn’t have to ask me twice! No exercise it is!
I was a little sore that visit and the other two visits this week. It was the same four adjustments – back, right side, left side, neck – each of the three visits. The first hour after the appointment, I was okay. After that initial hour or so, I would become sore. Not too bad and not a flare type of sore. A sore of being massaged is the only comparison I can think of at this moment.
I haven’t noticed a change in my nerve pain, but I have noticed the tension in my neck and shoulders easing by Saturday. Tim has noticed me not grabbing my shoulders in pain as often and my shoulders aren’t tensed up towards my ears as usual. I take these as all great signs to a good first week of chiropractic care.
Be sure to read the rest of this chiropractic care series.
*All names have been changed for privacy.