Sunday, April 26, 2009

I Survived My First Visit to the Chiropractor! :)

Last Tuesday morning I woke up with a very sore back and a right hip that was lower than my left hip. Yes, you read that right - I was CROOKED! And in pain! :) As any of you with back problems know, sitting puts the most pressure on your back. It's kind of hard to avoid sitting when you work a desk job. I think what bothered me most about this incident is that I was just getting into the swing of things with diet and exercise. I'd been going to Curves on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and then doing yard work, gardening, or my elliptical machine on the off days. This whole back thing has put a wrench in my workout plans!

The first time I ever threw my back out was 7 years ago when our firstborn was about 6 months old. During that episode I was on my back, bed-ridden, for a week. Literally - I could not move at all. After the week was up, I went to Kaiser, and was referred to a physical therapist. He suggested I purchase an exercise ball and work my back and stomach muscles daily. I promptly went out and got the exercise ball - but have I used it for exercise? Of course not - the girls just think that it's a giant beach ball. :)

I was hoping that if I just walked around a lot, the back problem would go away on its own, as it's done in the past. The next day, my friends from work picked me up to take me to lunch for my birthday. Victoria took one look at me and the way I was walking and said "you've got to get that fixed." I told her I was scared of going to the chiropractor, because I've heard stories of people who "once they've gone, have to go for the rest of their lives." Victoria assured me that Dr. Heidi of
Sierra Valley Chiropractic was a very good doctor, and that the most times she's had to see her is about 3 times to be fully adjusted. I got back to the office and called Kaiser to verify my eligibility for chiropractic visits, and then promptly made an appointment for that afternoon.

When I first got to the office, Dr. Heidi conducted a visual examination of my back. She informed me that yes, I was definitely crooked, and that the muscles on the right side of my back were having spasms, and extremely tight. She did "stem and ice." "Stem" refers to some sort of electromagnetic massaging type thingamajig. :) I wish I could explain it better, but basically, it felt like Dr. Heidi put smooth stones on my back, and that it started massaging me similar to a heated massaging chair pad. She also put a giant frozen gel pack on my lower back. After she let that work for about 20 minutes, she came back into the room and was ready to do the "adjustments." Adjustments consisted of me laying in certain positions (almost like special stretches), and taking a big breath in; upon the "exhale" movement, she pushed really hard on my muscles to "adjust" them. She did about 5 or 6 adjustments, and told me to come back on Friday (2 days later).

For my Friday appointment, Dr. Heidi stated that I was still crooked, but not as bad as Wednesday. She then did "stem and heat." After that, she did only 3 adjustments, and told me that I was much easier to adjust that day compared to the first time I saw her. I'm scheduled to go back tomorrow (Monday, which is three days later); so we'll see what she says then.

I am still crooked, and in pain; however, the pain is less in my back, and now feels more like it's pain in my right hip.

I just wanted to let you all know that if you're in need of chiropractic care and am nervous about it, if you have a friend who can give you a good recommendation, I would suggest you try chiropractic care, and not be scared.

P.S. Victoria, my friend who recommended Dr. Heidi in the first place, has not had to see her for chiropractic care in about a year. Since Victoria has been doing yoga and strengthening her core muscles, she has not had a need to see the chiropractor. Dr. Heidi told me that once I'm fully adjusted, not crooked, and back to normal, she will give me some exercises to do to strengthen my back and abdomen muscles. Guess I better do the exercises if I don't want to see her again, huh? :)

Self-portrait of me as I'm laying on the table, while the "stem" massager does its magic.

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