Should I use chiropractic care?

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On March 29th, I started experiencing numbness and tingling in both of my arms while working on the computer. When my fingers began to experience painful feelings of pins and needles, I decided to give my arms a break and stop working. Hours later, and the nerve pains did not lessen in intensity despite resting and minimizing activity.

Later that evening as my husband, Tim, and I watched television, the entire left side of my body went numb. Sharp pains throbbed in my fingers and toes as my left arm and leg went weak. It came on suddenly sending me into a panic attack. It was difficult to breathe and felt as though I would faint. Tim calmed me down, but I became nauseated. I later found out that the nausea was caused by bad meat I had eaten during dinner.

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created by Brandi Clevinger using the image from © Teeradej at
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Regardless, the nerve pains on my left side moved to my right side. Both arms and legs would go numb off and on as well as tingling in my fingers and toes. These feelings would not go away and persist for the next few weeks.

A friend and fibromyalgia coach, Tami Stackelhouse, knew I was having some complications, and wanted to see if she could help me. On April 16th, Tami called me and we talked about the issues of the prior weeks. She asked me questions to get a better understanding of what was happening, and offered her thoughts on it.

Tami told me how the spine receives pain to send these signals to the brain. I knew this through my years of reading about fibromyalgia, but what I didn’t know is what she told me about the base of the head, top of the spine, and across the shoulders. The muscles across the shoulders and up into the nape of the neck can cause issues with the nerves when they become tense. When the muscles become tense, they can squeeze the nerves causing pain to radiate throughout the arms, hands, and fingers. She also pointed out that if my spine was not aligned properly, it could interfere with the muscles, too. This can also cause pressure on the nerves.

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This all made sense to me. Whenever I’m stressed, overworked, or tense, it shows in my shoulders. Without realizing it, my shoulders will tense and raise up towards my ears. I’ve learned in past years that throughout the day I must take a deep breath in, hold it, and slowly exhale while allowing my shoulders to drop. I’m always amazed of how high my shoulders are when I do this exercise.

Much of my pain is in my trapezius (tongue twister of a word for me) muscle which is the muscle that runs across the shoulders and upper back. These muscles are usually hard (Tami said she bet my trapezius is hard as a rock and she was absolutely correct!), and always painful for me. When I get a headache, they usually start in the nape of my neck caused by that tension.

Our conversation reminded me of an analysis a physical therapist did back in 2014. I wanted to start going to physical therapy again like I had the previous year because physical therapy works wonders for me, and I wanted to get my pain managed again. After the initial exam, the therapist found my spine to be in an unnatural curve and my hips not aligned properly. She believed my pain was stemming from these sources, and knew it could be helped with the proper exercises (hydrotherapy). Unfortunately, I was unable to commit to sessions due to having two children at home all day.

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2014: I was unable to stick with physical therapy because my two youngest children (furtherest right) were still at home with me during the day.

I told Tami about that examine, and she suggested a chiropractor. It’s funny she recommended chiropractic care because my husband had been telling me for months to try one. He really believed I could find the help I needed with my back and shoulders, but I had my concerns with it. Now that Tami was also recommending one, I told her about hesitations of seeing one. (I have this ridiculous fear of a chiropractor popping my spine in the wrong ways and becoming paralyzed. I know – irrational, but the fear is there.)

She understood my concerns and didn’t dismiss them in the least bit. However, she suggested finding one that will do a complimentary consultation so that I could ask a few questions before committing to any adjustments or services. This would allow me to make a better decision of giving it a try or not.

Questions to ask the chiropractor included:

  • What is their philosophy?
  • How do they do adjustments?
  • What is the prep and recovery?
  • How long do they spend with each client?
  • Do they use any activators?

Tami was confident I would be able to find some answers with a chiropractor if I gave it a chance. She was so helpful with my questions and concerns that it gave me the encouragement and motivation I needed to make an initial consultation appointment.

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My youngest daughter and me a few weeks before I became sick on March 25, 2018.

To be honest, Tim was a little hurt that I wouldn’t take his advice of a chiropractor when he offered it and then took Tami’s advice when she offered the same. I let him know that sometimes we need to hear the same thing twice from two sources before we truly listen. It was nothing against him, but more of my irrational fears of a chiropractic visit. He understood, and was happy I was going to give it a try.

The next morning, Tim suggested a chiropractor a couple miles from our house. He passes it everyday on the way to work, and thought it would be best to start with the ones closest to our house. I get anxiety about driving too far and health care visits, so the closer the better.

I looked up the practice, services, and history, and was satisfied by what I read. They didn’t offer a complimentary consultation, however, I could always walk in and ask the list of questions I had. It wouldn’t hurt anything, so that is what I did that very day.

To find out how that visit went and if I decided to stick with chiropractic care, be sure to read the rest of this chiropractic care series.

Brandi Clevinger

A place where I talk about everything and sugar coat nothing.

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