Back to Chiropractic

About two years ago, I flirted with chiropractic care. On the advice of a coworker, I interviewed two chiropractors and found neither satisfying. Both chiropractors stressed a witch’s pseudo-science of subluxation that portended a lot of expense and not much care.

This year, I’ve been seeing regularly a massage therapist on the weekends who painfully breaks down my back, shoulders, and hips. He gets locked up with my implacable neck, a part of my body so tight that he thinks only a chiropractor can loosen those upper vertebrae. This message therapist referred me to his chiropractor, Julie.

So last Thursday morning, I walked from my house down Market Street into the Castro and up to the second floor of a quasi-residential building. In a small office, I met Julie for an hour. She looked through my health history, surveyed my chest and shoulder x-rays, and took a look at my posture.

I find interesting the snap judgments health professional make about me. “You need more protein,” she exhorted, “and I don’t mean milk.” She thinks some of the hyper-mobile sliding of my shoulder blades may be due to poor diet. She suggested 5-HTP or L-trytophan for depression. She called me sensitive, a characteristic that I did not formerly ascribe to me, but actually makes quite a lot of sense.

She wants me to sit on a wedge pillow. She notices that I still slouch. She worries that my keyboard at work may be higher than my elbows. Now that I sit at my desk on an exercise ball, the keyboard is indeed too high. I’m happy that she looks out for me.

Fortunately, I match well with her practice and personality. She’s strong and big enough to throw me around, so there will be no gentle taps. She’s effusive, friendly, supportive, suggestive, and calming.

I got on her table and she started snapping parts of my body. Unlike the kneading of massage, a chiropractic adjustment is a firm hold followed by a quick twist. Clothes stay on, but socks come off. I was quite startled to hear bones pop, but perhaps I will grow accustomed and trusting to her work.

After this initial adjustment, I did not feel much changed. My back and shoulders are where I left them. However, she did wrench my wrists, and my forearms have felt odd all weekend since Thursday. I am now quite aware of all the tension I hold in my hands.

I don’t know what I’m getting into with chiropractic care, but I’ll return weekly for perhaps ten weeks to see whether I feel different. The initial consultation cost $150 and the subsequent visits will be $60. Health insurance may cover some of the costs after I reach my yearly deductible.

Odd to find myself at 40 now surrounded by all these healers: Dr. Clinton the psychotherapist, Jason the weekend massage guy, Ray the weekday massage guy, and now Julie the chiropractor. I guess I’ve been looking for a long time to feel better in body and mind, and have put off this recovery because there was always travel, career, or fun that took precedence. I’d like eventually to relax completely. It will take some more exercise, meditation, soul-searching, acceptance, prioritization, and confidence.