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Chiro treatments

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
Greetings all,

I recently signed on with a chiro.

Basically, at my age, and with the way I ski, I either needed to start getting massages or chiro work. I opted for the chiro work because my ski buddy HeelPusher is a chiro.

Anyway, I'm now getting adjusted once a week. It's helping and I feel better. I'm going to give the adjustments like 6 months, then I'll evaluate and see if I want to continue or try something else. My buddy HeelPusher says it takes about that long for the spine to "lose it's memory".

What he's saying is that if you only come in for treatments every now and then, your spine eventually snaps back into place. But if you get treatments regularly, your spine "loses it's memory" and will stay in alignment.

He's also real big about the spine being very important to "the rest of the story". He's saying that once your spine is aligned, you'll see an increase of energy - and even possible that your overall health will improve.

Makes sense. I know my knee gets a little sore every now and then from a bad crash I took last year. When I get adjusted it does feel much better. Now, he's not saying that chiro work is a replacement for medicine or that thru chiro work my knee will heal. But he is saying that the spine is very important to people like me who are active and ski a lot. If your spine is out of wack, it affects your balance and other stuff.

Again, makes sense to me.

So here's what I'd like some feedback on.

1) Chiros in general. Do you believe in them? What do you think about his philosophy that I've laid out? What do you think about his theory that the spine is very important to health and that if it's out of alignment, it can lead to other problems?

2) How many of you budget "body" expense every month? Where do you spend your money? Chiros? PT's? Massages?

3) Or, given my situation, where would you spend your money each month? Getting adjusted? Getting massages? PT work?

4) Then, since we're coming up to the off-season, what kind of body work are you doing? In particular, who here is using the ball regularly? Is it working for you?

Cheers to all,
post #2 of 33
SCSA, you asked

1) Chiros in general. Do you believe in them? What do you think about his philosophy that I've laid out? What do you think about his theory that the spine is very important to health and that if it's out of alignment, it can lead to other problems?

I do. I saw mine thursday. He also does acupuncture on me which recently seems to have stopped my exercise induced asthma completely. Cold sets it off. Skiing can be bad. It was acting up and I told him about it and he hit some lung points among others and there you go.

I believe it is vital to health as it is the passageway for nerves...our bodies communication system. When mine is out I get heartburn from out of the blue. Weird but true. It must be the nerves being tweaked.

Regarding the spines memory: I "traumatically reengineered" my 9th thoracic vert in 1995 skiing bumps. I broke my back basically and had to be tobaggoned off the run to the clinic at the base. I have had issues ever since. My injured vert. is still misshapen. I expect it may slide out for the rest of my life even if I saw my chiro once a week. Skiing really impacts my back because of this.

I don't see Mark as part of a scheduled regimin but I do see him at least four times a year. To begin my cycling training I thought it would be good to hit the lung points again and to be sure my hips and back are in place.

2) How many of you budget "body" expense every month? Where do you spend your money? Chiros? PT's? Massages?

I should see a PT I'm sure and I bet the PT's who post here would scold me for not working on my injured back in the gym etc. Massage is good too. I tend to massage myself (legs after cycling mostly) except for my back. I have been lax on having my back treated by a massage therapist recently.
I do stretch a lot though and that has a big impact too.

Honestly, I am a bit hesitent to reply to your post cuz I recall a long series of rants that were very anti-chiro here this winter. I don't care to have people going off on me for what I do with my body.

Modern medicine prescribed drugs to mask my pain. My chiro seems to be able to get to the cause of the pain. The proof is in my pudding; the benefits are tasty.

And I know I could do more via PT, the gym, etc.

post #3 of 33
As a PT, I had to respond to SCSA's queries. But first, let me say that I do not claim to speak for all PTs. This is just my opinion.

The primary complaint many PTs have with chiro's is that a successful chiro will wind up seeing his/her patients over and over again over a very long time. A successful PT will treat the problem and ideally never have to see the patient again for that problem--if you keep coming back with the same problem, we're obviously not "curing" you. But kudos to your chiro for stating that few adjustments are better than frequent ones. The more frequently you are adjusted, the more hypermobility is likely to occur in the joint and thus, the more often you will need to be re-aligned, resulting in more hypermobility, and so on, and so on...

But I do agree that the spine contributes to our overall wellbeing. It is the primary route of travel to the brain from all parts of the body--so if your spine is out of line, it follows that the signals to your brain (and back down the the body) may be getting screwed up. So sure, in SOME cases, chiropractics are very helpful. Please just make sure you supplement your treatments with "core" exercises (the stability ball is one way to do this) to help stabilize what you just paid to re-align. Consider looking into exercising your multifidus (sp?) muscles. They are the timy muscles which connect vertebra to vertebra. Your transverse abdominus will also help.

Where you spend your money for "body" expenses is strictly an individual thing. If chiro is working for you, then that's what you should do. As a personal trainer with a PT background, I am obviously in favor of personal training (with a knowledgeable trainer) and occasional massage treatments (on an as needed basis).

Off season, most important is that you enjoy what you are doing to stay in shape. Sports activities tend to have more compliance and the are more likely to mimic some of the motions that occur in skiing. Sports are also more likely to require a combo of strength, cardio, balance and agility. But there is nothing wrong with hitting the gym too. I am a huge stability ball fan (ask LisaM and top gun!!) and have seen fabulous results in balance, strength and even stability in joints which were previously quite problematic (ie. multidirectional instability of my shoulder, and frequent recurrent ankle sprains).

Whatever you do on the off-season, make sure you get your cardio, strength and balance activities in the way that suits you best.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 30, 2002 12:46 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Mia S. ]</font>
post #4 of 33
What Mia said! Also, a technical issue, but please do not use the initials PT for both Personal Trainer and Physical Therapist. This has been a point of contention amongst many PTs.

Top Gun and myself are Group Fitness and Personal Trainers, Mia is a Physical Therapist and Personal trainer.

I will say that the gym has become a prime environment for snow sports conditioning. With its emphasis on balance and functional training, many fo the exercises are straight out of physical therapy.

Its been my experience that doing what some people do for post rehab therapy is the best preventaive medicine immaginable. 29 years in my industry injury free sort of proves it.

Recently, more and more PTs are actually working in gyms, creating an even more educated environment.

Although going to a chiropractor may have its highly debatable benefits {I'll let Gonzo fill you in on the legal issues} you are putting the responsibilty for your own health and fitness into someone else's hands!
post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 
Good start.

As a backgrounder, I'm not really looking for exercise 101 comments, I've been training (swimming, biking - i used to run) for like 20 years now.

Seems like so far anyway, chimp and mia (and me too) agree that the spine really is important as a passage way. Then, it's just how one goes about taking care of it.

I'm really interested in the PT versus chiro thang. But like chimp says, we don't need any attitudes, just honest feelings.

Any more PT's around? Anyone had experience with both?

Lisa will jump in anytime now. She's probably (hopefully anyway) skiing today.
post #6 of 33
As a doctor I'm probably unusual in that I do believe chiros can do good work. As you know most MDs don't much care for chiros but I suspect that has to do with their opinions about chiro ethics more than anything. That aside chiros have been shown to be at least as effective if not more effective in treating acute back pain in the first 2 weeks. They do excellent work with sacroiliac dysfunction as I have experienced first hand. As far as going frequently for prolonged periods I can't say I know if thats required or realistic. This is the major bone of contention with chiros. While it sounds logical enough one has to wonder how 6 months of weekly rx can overcome decades of muscle memory. I personally go a few times a year when my back is acting up and I get excellent results. Golf messes up my back pretty good. A caution though. Chiro rx is like any other, side effects are possible including injury, sometimes serious. I have seen several cases that were almost surely related to manipulation and even had a chiro tell me of his discs being herniated by a fellow chiro. At the same time we docs and our meds do at times end up hurting patients despite our best intentions. To all you PTs reading this do not assume I'm dissin you. I think PTs are real professionals and I rely on them more often than I care to remember for wrist, ankle, muscle tear.....the list goes on. skidoc [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #7 of 33
SCSA, we be talkin' at the same time!

I don't think you can make this an either/or issue! Any chiropractor who would say that you should "get craked" INSTEAD of particpating in a fitness program is probably guilty of malpractice!

What's interesting here, is that on many, many posts, you have stated that Pilates is totally irrelevant to skiing. But Pilates is TOTALLY about the connection between the abdominals and the spine, and the idea that
"that once your spine is aligned, you'll see an increase of energy - and even possible that your overall health will improve."

Why is that more acceptable to you, if someone charges alot of money and calls themselves 'doctor of chiropractic'?
post #8 of 33
Skidoc, if golf is messing up your back, it indicates a weakness of your internal and external obliques, as well as some inflexibility in your back. There are a gazillion golf conditioning programs out there.

Would'nt it be a better idea to do some prevention, as opposed to waiting until you got hurt?
post #9 of 33
But isnt this part of the whole lazy american syndrome? Lets pay someone to fix our spine rather than do the work ourselves. Pilates requires people to really think, and many people dont want to do that. The chiroquackers promise all these great things, better health, less pain, better life, better afterlife, whatever, all for what, a couple of 100 dollars a week? GEEZ! Its like the same people you were talking about who want to buy a thrill.

Im studying to be a PT, but sometimes I wonder if thats what i should be doing. Many people who are already in that field talk about how people come to them with injuries, and want to be fixed, but not do any other work themselves.
post #10 of 33
Here's my take on it from having occasionally used Chiro's and all of the named alternatives.

1. I don't believe in the old school chiro concepts- before you attribute this to the standard medical mindset, I am a firm believer from personal experiance in much of what TCM(Trad. Chinese Med.) is about. I think the old concepts of Chiro are based on erroneous assumptions made about the nature of the improvements that were observed. Having said that, it is definately true that a well functioning, healthy spine is a requirement for free motion and good health. It connects to all of your body and it's influence is correspondingly widespread.

I believe many of the 'need for adjustment' scenarios would be better served by work on the spasmed muscles associated with the area, as a first step. I've found that many of the problems adjust themselves when the musculature around them is worked on and warmed/relaxed/softened by competant body work. If the problem doesn't then take care of itself with good, consistent stretching and localized specific strengthening, adjustment may be neccessary. The odd times this has occured, I chose to use a D.O. as I am more familar and comfortable with the type and amount of training and knowledge required as opposed to chiro college.

2. I normally don't need alot of this, but when I do, my first line of defense is massage(find a talented body worker and don't be afraid to drop someone you don't get results from, they may still be competant- just not for you). I try to follow the old adage "physician heal thyself", as much as possible.

3. This is completely conditional on type of problem, severity, and individual situation.

4. Last Nov. I purchased a ball for a home alternative to cals and weights. THEY WORK. Especially if you let yourself be really creative with your work outs in regard to skiing relevance. You can put a serious amount of work into areas you had no idea you were lacking in. Having the stable surface you're used to working out on replaced by a viscous, unstable, gumdrop of a platform concentrates every ounce of function out of standard excercises. Regular cals require newfound respect as well as effort. I predict you will fall in love with it, absolutely give it a chance.

p.s. Many ball exercises can be done that directly affect knee strength and stability, something you might be interested in.
post #11 of 33
Joel, as always, super post!
post #12 of 33
chimp, SCSA and skidoc,

no offense intended, but there's a darned good reason I call them chiroQUACKtors.

Mia hit on the main reason - YOU HAVE TO KEEP GOING BACK. Doesn't that tell you it's more scam and temp "relief" than anything else?

I disagree with Mia's reasons about the spine's importance. The primary reason the spine is important is this:

it is the center (chiro/chiral) of the sagittal plane of the body. We turn around the spine when we make corrections to balance ourselves, etc. What's more, it's got a whole series of articulated bony pieces through which our spinal cord and its routing nerves are coursing. Would let a non-surgeon fix your destroyed ACL, medial meniscus and lateral meniscus? If not, then why would you let a "manipulator" work on a more complex chain of such articulating joints?

However, QUACKtors hinge their determinations on the "lordotic curve" and departures from it. There is NO universal human standard "lordotic curve," nor is there a standard "lordotic curve" for a given person.

Chiros see you when you already are damaged. How could they possibly know what YOUR "lordotic curve" is or should be?

They also are the most unethical health care pretenders out there. In my history of insurance work (12 yrs), every time there is an insurance fraud unearthed, a chiro is in league with the defrauding chumps.

Chiros are one of the primary reasons auto insurance and workers compensation insurance are so expensive, because of their willingness to manipulate the truth in favor of their own bank accounts.

Perhaps there are some sincere chiros out there, and perhaps a few are successful at relieving symptoms.

However, if someone can show me a person who is both an MD and a DC, and practices CHIRO before MEDICINE, I'll get out the mustard and start eating my words.

QUACKS, I say.


<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 30, 2002 08:53 PM: Message edited 1 time, by gonzostrike ]</font>
post #13 of 33
Actually, knowing Mia, she would also agree with your reason for the spine's importance.
You are correct in your comment about there is no standard lordotic curve.

That concept, is actually a bit racist. Some african americans have an increased sacral angle. It has nothing whatsoever to do with back problems. But many chiropractors consider this a lordosis, and try to correct it.
post #14 of 33
Thread Starter 
Great posts.

Hmm. Maybe I'll check out Pilates?

Joel, I know for sure I'm going to try the ball.

Lisa. I think I asked you once, but where's some ball exercises for lower back and such?

I'll keep going with my chiro and report the results.

So gonzo. What do you do? You seem pretty fit. Do you get massages?
post #15 of 33
Go to http://www.sissel-online.com Click on free exercises, and type in "back."

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ March 31, 2002 11:25 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Lisamarie ]</font>
post #16 of 33

massages? nope, no girlfriend right now, so no massages.

I bicycle. I bicycle some more. And then when I'm finished bicycling, I get on my bike and ride.

I should work out, too, but it gets in the way of bicycling.

So, in answer to your question,

I ride bikes.
post #17 of 33
I feel compelled to share my "quack" story after reading this thread.
I injured my back (mild disc herniation @ L4-5) after crashing on a downhill course in '97 at a relatively young age of 27. I was fortunate enough to walk away from this horrific crash, thanks to years of strength and flexibility training with my ski partner/personal trainer.
After 10-months of physical therapy combined with rigorous strength/flexibility training with my friend, I came back stronger than ever.
I managed to ski over 100+ days a year for the next 4 years, and lived an extremely active lifestyle until I herniated/bulged or compressed the L2-3, 3-4, 4-5, L5-S1 discs in my lower lumbar in a similar crash. I also tweaked my hip, SI joint, and left knee on the same wreck. The worst and most painful injury was the L4-5 disc bulging out towards my spinal cord, which caused unbearable sciatic pain. I was told surgery was not an option due to multi-level nature of this injury. Basically, there was no way anyone was going to perform a multi-level spinal fusion surgery on a 33-year old. I finally settled for a US Ski team spine surgeon as my treating physician. I spent the next 9-months in physical therapy and went through 3-epidural injections, which only provided temporary pain relief. Finally and much to my disbelief, the surgeon referred me to a local chiropractor for 6-sessions of adjustments. I was very skeptical and blew off the referral for several weeks until I realized my condition was not improving, besides, I had nothing to lose by this time.
My first session was incredibly terrifying. Imagine training for years to keep your lumbar straight, when some random "quack" with hardly any medical training (compared to an orthopedic surgeon) starts bending and popping your back with no hesitation! At first, I felt a sharp pain in my back and thought "he screwed me for life!" He then proceeded to stretch my back while I was still in shock. Afterwards, he tells me I might be sore for the next day or so and that he would like to see me again in a week. I paid the bill and walked out of the joint in more pain than before thinking "screw that guy, I'm never going back" until I woke up feeling 100% better the following morning. I followed up with the adjustments for 3-more sessions before he ended the treatment 2-sessions short of the referred amount. He recommended a follow-up visit in a couple months and showed me a few simple yoga type stretches, which I was already doing on a daily basis.
To make a long story short, the surgeon released me a short time later. I was placed on a "home exercise" plan instead of physical therapy since I was having problems with the insurance company. I have also been going back to the chiro every 3-4 months on top of getting a professional massage every 2 weeks. I do believe the chiropractic adjustments made a significant improvement to my rather slow and painful recovery, and will go as far as recommending it to others, as long as they understand no one can perform miracles...
post #18 of 33
Very intersting read. I got pushed into seeing a chiro to address my high blood pressure and allergy's. I was not real interested in going nor did I think it would accomplish much.

Results: BP was 140/100 now 120/80 on allergy's I used to take Claritin everyday. Now I have taken maybe 3 in the whole year. My chiro pushes me to get body work done, exercise, yoga, stretch. I saw him alot at first but now maybe 1 a month. I now believe! My Doctor is a doubter but could not argue with the results so he said keep doing it. He was about to put me on meds at the age of 33 now we have avoided that.

I think it is like many things in life you need to find what works for you and you have to put the work in to help heal yourself.
post #19 of 33
Thread Starter 
More good stuff.

Thanks gonzo, spiner, and Todo.

I'll keep going with chiro, but it's clear I have to also take on something new. Damn! Another challenge.

I'm going to give the ball a try. There's some Pilates classes near my house and I think I'll show up there too.

Who's tougher than SCSA!

Happy April 1st everyone. Now all I need are some dumps. I really wanted to ski in May. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #20 of 33
I maintain the advice of a friend I trusted who was also a Crack-your-backter.

"If people did 20 minutes of stretching exercise a day, It would put 90% of our profession out of business."

Extreme circumstances will remain. (spinner's story)

I like "the sun salutation" yoga series of postures, Ti Chi must be good, and I have a list of "asanas" recomended by another friend who has a chronic bad back.

I have never been for this type of treatment myself, but I tend toward self abuse.

Strength building exercise without"Loosening"
doesn't do the job! It's a mental thing as well. That's why you need to go back to get cracked again and again.

My twosense.

post #21 of 33
MY chiropracter is also my mountainbiking buddy and a snowboarder.

My health insurance pays both both chiropratic treatments and massage therapy.(with a referral)Check you plan, many states are now mandating coverage of "alternative" thrapies. So I go as much as I need to.

A good chiropracter should give you a treatmenet plan, and work with you on an as needed -basis, not once a week for the rest of your life.

I've been rear ended (auto) twice, and have some issue with scar tissue and permananet muscle spasms that I find need on going chiro treatment to control, along with self care such as stress reduction, streching, exercise.

One thing my chiropractor does is adjust other joints for me: wrists, hands and feet! Feels great.

post #22 of 33
amen, CalG

if it's something that requires frequent visits for manipulation, it's not curative - it's alleviating symptoms.

if you want a cure, attack the problem, not the symptoms. for this reason, I hold chiros in no higher regard than pharmacists. the pharmacist can give you the drugs that alleviate the cancer pain, but they can't prescribe the proper drug, nor can they surgically remove the tumors.

The fact that someone like Irulan or Spiner had success with a chiro doesn't mean that ONLY a chiro could achieve the same results.

Most folks don't realize that there are MDs who do VERY similar work, but more refined. They are called "physiatrists" (don't confuse that word with "psychiatrists"). They are rare, but they do exist. It's one of the few branches of medicine that allows for a normal life outside work! One of my friends has an uncle who's a physiatrist in the DC area - he's worked with many of the Washington Redskins.
post #23 of 33
Thread Starter 
Anyone have a reference to someone near either Denver, Boulder, or Vail?

PT, chiro, massage therapist, or what gonzo mentioned. All references would be appreciated.

post #24 of 33
Okay, I now feel the need to reply to Gonzo. When I said that I agreed that the chiro approach to adjusting the spine can be a good thing as the messages between the body and brain travel via the spine, I never meant to imply that adjusting the spine is always good. I really only agree with spinal manipulation when a vertebrae is TRULY out of alignment (either rotated, anteriorly tilted or posteriorly tilted). I guess in my attempt to be diplomatic, I left out some important details of my real thought process. I know some will adamantly insist that chiros have helped with allergies or ulcers or whatnot--I just have a really hard time agreeing with that philosophy. It does not correlate to what I learned in Physical Therapy school. So Gonzo, we're more in agreement than you thought.
post #25 of 33
SCSA check out Body Dynamics, which I believe is in the Boulder marriott. They teach Pilates and ball work, and the owner worked with the USA ski team.
post #26 of 33
You should find a good Osteopath (DO). DO are Doctors that study the bodies skeletal and muscular systems and many are trained in manipulation, but manipulation is not their only tool. They can do as much as an MD. Chiros are often too limited in their training, methodology and abilities. Basically they can only do manipulation. I had a stuck SI joint problem which my chiro (and physical therapist) couldn't fix. The chiro claimed it was referred pain. He claimed he could adjust the spine and fix it. The physical therapist realized there was an SI problem. He called it an upslip. Even though he was a trained in manual therapy, he couldn't do the manipulation necessary to free the SI joint. The DO derotated the SI in one office visit. Since the DO fixed my SI/back up I didn't have to get an epidural steroid inject like my MD and an Orthopedic Surgeon suggested. The MD and Orthopedic Surgeon claimed referred pain into my SI joint region from my back. The DO re-aligned the SI and took care of the pain almost instantly.

My suggestion is to find a good DO and a good physical therapist. whatever you do, Watch out, there is imcompetence and greed at many levels of our medical community.
post #27 of 33
In the past I've only gone to a chiro when I suffered from an occasional misalignment, always either the sacrum or neck. This used to happen often when I was a "hard core" runner/cyclist. The leg, back, and ab. muscles were frequently sore and/or tight and if I didn't stretch enough, it was not uncommon to suffer some sort of back pain.

SCSA, are your leg or back muscles sore sometimes? Do you stretch regularly? I'm in agreement with others here who feel that muscle status will influence the alignment of the spine. If you stay limber, you will feel much better. You write that at your age and because of the way that you ski you need some kind of treatment? If it's just the knee I say work on leg strength and flexibility; standing upright,can you bend at the waist and touch the ground with the palms of your hands?

I do believe that chiros can help in limited circumstances, they certainly helped me get past my pain. But there are quacks amongst the legit chiros. One guy in San Diego who knew that I was a grad student in the biomedical sciences tried to sell me expensive natural, organic supplements and even tried to convince me of their efficacy by having me hold one of the pills under my tongue and demonstrating to me how much stronger I became by pushing on my raised legs. I laughed long and hard at him. Couldn't help it, what a dufus!
post #28 of 33
I see a physical therapist for SI instability. Doctors, in my experience, check to see if there is nerve damage; if not, they don't care. So I just go straight to the p.t. I was lucky enough to find a very good one, who knows exactly what's going on with the SI joint.

Never been to a chiro. I know that p.t.'s and doctors can screw up, too, but I have heard far more bad stories about chiros (lots of good ones, too) so I figure I have a lower chance of a bad experience if I just avoid them.
post #29 of 33
I wonder if Chiro is just a passive form of Yoga? Yoga people r real big on the spine and proper alignment, but it's all done slowly after much warm up and the results can take some time. It's hard work, but in time it strenghtens you, aligns you, increases your flexibility and calms your mind too. Why, you might even find Nirvana.

Best of all it's dirt cheap (just buy a book and off you go)
post #30 of 33
I support what Mia and Lisamarie have been saying. A chiro can loosen up jammed joints (symptons) but unless you address why they are jamming you will have to keep going back - you need to find the cause. Most times it is due to muscle damage and any small imbalance in muscles can pull the spine out of alignment, and spinal joints seize themselves up to protect the spinal cord. When I say muscle imbalance, I don't just mean back muscles, hamstrings are a common cause for a back to be pulled out of alignment.

I would recommend getting your joints loosened up (I think chiros are more brutal than they need to be) and getting a deep tissue massage around the same time.

Follow this up with some of Lisamaries core conditioning and you should not need to go back to the chiro.

Someone mentioned above that they saw a chiro for their allergies. I kept getting sinus infections and my doctor (regular GP) suggested I go to a physio and check for jammed joints in my neck. Apparently there are certain joints that cause a sinus infection when jammed. the physio freed them (a lot more gently than a chiro) and my sinuses cleared up - without the help of anti biotics.
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