Up until a couple of years ago, I had never suffered with any real back pains but, after a period when the pain in my lower back just seemed to be there to stay, I decided that something had to be done about it. On recommendation, I sought the help of a Reiki healer who apparently did things behind my back and after two sessions I certainly noticed an improvement. That sense of freedom from discomfort lasted a couple of months before creeping back to a little worse than when it started.
As we all do, I carried on as best I could taking searingly hot baths, any painkillers that I could and generally being a miserable, unfriendly and moany sort of chap. I tried massage, lots of wine, cold peas on my back and blaming the worlds chair manufacturers for being rubbish at their jobs. This went on for a year or so and I became very good at being lousy company though quite knowledgeable on wine.
The condition reached a point where it actually had me in tears one day because it was so painful and because nothing that I did seemed to make any difference other than to make it worse now and again. I have been labelled as stubborn; something that I will fight to the death to deny but I can show flashes of rare brilliance and so it was that I decided to visit a Chiropractor. A local Chiropractor was found and investigations showed that he had loads of letters after his name. He would be the expert that I needed then.
Marsha, my partner made the appointment and took me to see him. He was very nice, asked me lots of questions, made copious notes and eventually did his magic on my back. It felt so much better. I left feeling comfortable that he was an expert and delighted that I was no longer in pain.
The results of his manipulations lasted for quite a while, much better than the Raki healer and when my back eventually reverted to it’s position of sadistic dominance of my whole life, I wasn’t too bothered, as I knew what to do. An Appointment was made with my chosen expert and the session started. I knew he was pulling out all the stops as he massaged, manipulated and generally tried to do Origami with my body. At one point he even climbed onto the couch with me in order to bend limbs into bizarre positions. It was like playing Twister with someone very, very competitive who was not going to let me win. It worked, I felt better and life carried on.
Time passed, my back got worse and worse. I broadened medical knowledge with my combinations of drugs and alcohol (I found that two Ibuprofen, one Anadin and at least half a bottle of a reasonable Merlot worked best) and learned to accept that this was life from now on. I could have made another appointment with the Chiropractor but the results didn’t seem to last as long anymore and the French were producing wine faster and in larger quantities, so all in all things seemed to have sorted them selves out.
In a totally non stubborn though possibly less than intelligent way, I carried on. My Back, never one to be left behind, decided to up the ante. I could no longer stand upright, I couldn’t sit down for more than two minutes and sleep was fractured as the pain woke me every time I moved. I could not understand why after eight hours of bed rest that I woke feeling less flexible than when I started.
I had been taking the odd days off of work on the days when I simply couldn’t function. These were the days when it took me twenty minutes to get out of bed and when I still hadn’t managed to adopt a vertical position by the time I had reached the kitchen. When I had to drink my coffee from the opposite side of the mug because I couldn’t straighten up and when I had to shower with my head outside the shower door as it wasn’t wide enough to accommodate my body in it’s current “L” shape. Trust me when I say that I should have gotten some kind of award just for managing to wash my hair!
Although time, life and pretty much everything had become a shambling blur to me, Marsha had been weighing up the options. Having decided that she was not willing to serve time in prison just for killing me, had made me an appointment at Chiropractic Life. Tenderly, Marsha explained that I was going. Resistance was futile. Options were only available for sensible people and I didn’t qualify. Partly because I had always considered myself as a fast learner, partly because my thought processes were so befuddled that I didn’t know what she was going on about and partly because I had developed a strange compulsion of constantly examining my feet, mainly because I couldn’t lift my head any higher than that, I found myself in the reception area of Chiropractic Life.
Everyone seemed very nice but displayed an annoying habit of feeling sorry for my plight. This was possibly my non receptive phase. During the initial consultation I was asked whether I wanted temporary relief from my condition or did I want the problem fixed? At the time I thought this a ludicrous option and before I could respond, Marsha had already blurted out “Fix Him or keep Him.” A little dramatic, I thought but I let it go as I’m not the argumentative sort. Dr Crane suggested a series of X rays to assist diagnosis and fully appreciate the areas of concern.
Two days later I was back to further inspect the carpeting as Dr Crane led Marsha and I into the consultation room. On entering the room, Marsha noticed the X rays on the wall viewer and whispered to me “ Think yourself lucky that that’s not your back, someone’s in a right mess!” I, noticed that the same carpet was used throughout the premises. Dr Crane explained what was wrong with my back, and the options available to me. Dr Crane emphasised the condition that my back was in by referring to “Steve’s x rays” on the wall viewer. Thanks Marsha! As part of my brain pondered how much metal would have to be implanted in my back to get anywhere like vertical and whether it would be stainless steel or titanium, the smarter side of my brain noticed the carpets were very clean and there was no dust or fluff anywhere.
Marsha agreed to the course of action and Dr Crane fully explained the proposed treatment plan, timescale and fees. With Marsha’s guidance, I signed up for the plan and made a mental note that her fingernails may benefit from a manicure. I later found out that Marsha’s nails weren’t that sharp, She was just pressing really hard.
Dr Crane started my adjustments straight after the consultation and suggested a routine of ice packs every hour to reduce the inflammation. I was happy to do anything that would help, plus I intended to carry on taking the Ibuprofen Max Strength. Dr Crane then informed me that I was to be signed off from work for two weeks and that I should not sit or stand for any length of time during this period. I was not so sure. My employers had a track record of not being particularly understanding in moments such as prolonged absence from work. Nervously I tried to negotiate this time period even though a little voice inside me nagged that the Dr was probably right. Outside of my head, Dr Crane was explaining the reasons for this course of action and Marsha was emphasising the importance of me learning (as quickly as I could) who knew best right now. Judging on the look that Marsha was giving me, and the fact that everyone around me had a better argument than I did, I gratefully accepted the proposal of one weeks complete rest and a review at the end of the week.
Following the almost constant Ice packs, the complete rest and the adjustments that I was receiving every two days, the situation was easing. I failed at the weeks end review and Dr Crane extended the sign off period for another week. I didn’t argue. During my time resting, I reflected on the initial consultation. That strange question of “temporary relief from pain or problem resolution” wasn’t as daft as I first thought. It was now obvious to me that the Chiropractor that I had seen before was adopting the temporary pain relief route, without offering me the options. I wasn’t very happy at this realisation.
I also thought about the x rays and Dr Crane’s detailed explanation of what we were seeing there. My Hips were out of alignment, the vertebrae at the base of my spine rather than being a neat stack were seemingly loosely balanced and my neck was so far out of alignment that I looked like a bewildered tortoise.
My treatment routine included adjustments every two days and after returning to work I was glad that they were as frequent. Sitting at my desk each day obviously wasn’t helping.
Dr Crane had to pass my care over to Richard, the Principle of the practice and my initial concern was that this might be detrimental to my progress. Dr Crane’s adjustments were certainly helping, and now I was to be seen by Richard who may have a different approach that I would have to get used to. It’s probably due to me worrying about problems that aren’t there that Marsha and I have split our responsibilities at home. Marsha decides on all the little things such as where we live, how the house is maintained, what we eat, how much we spend and so on, whilst I decide on the larger issues such as, are carbon capture and storage coal fired power stations better than nuclear? Or are we injecting enough money into the system for quantative easing to work?
At the end of the first month of an adjustment every two days, I felt much better than when I first shuffled into reception and I found that I actually looked forward to going for an adjustment. Apart from the obvious health benefits, everyone is so cheery, warm and friendly, we’re all on first name terms and it’s great to have a chat with the lovely ladies (and Jeremy) at reception. Richard’s wife, Karen and daughter, Elise together with son, Jeremy really make you feel as if you are part of the family.
Richard on the other hand is a consummate professional who delivers his adjustment magic with such experience that it’s not until the next day that you realise that he has done anything and that you feel better, stronger, fitter.
After the first month of rather intensive adjustments I progressed to the next level of just two adjustments a week and I felt proud to have achieved a position that a month previous was just a dream. To be fair, my feelings of pride were maybe a tad unjustified, as all I had to do was turn up and lay there but Richard could not have got to this point without me. I hardly noticed the day’s whiz by until I was into the next stage of the legendary one adjustment a week.
By now I hardly felt the need but I knew that Richard enjoyed our time together and who was I to deny him this little treat? Actually that wasn’t always the case as I still got the occasional twinges and lower back stiffness from bashing away at my keyboard every day. I never had to mention any changes in muscle tightness as Richard’s almost casual explorations of my spine always went right to the point.
My return to the real world sort of happened without me noticing it. It was only when I stopped and consciously thought of how I was that I noticed the vast changes that had taken place. No longer would I be first choice of lead in a remake of Quasimodo and the belles of Notre Dame. I could sit, stand, spend hours at my PC and it was all natural. I felt happier and more energetic. I still don’t like my job but I guess Richard’s magic only goes so far! Marsha doesn’t seem to mind me being around like She did. She doesn’t say so but, you can tell.
One day at work, recently, a good friend who I have known for years but who works in a different department, was genuinely shocked and surprised at my height. Apparently She hadn’t realised how tall I was! The only downside to this story is that I am becoming a bore. If anyone at work even so much as stretches, I am up telling them to go and see Richard and sort their life out.
I can’t remember when I last took an Ibuprofen or an Anadin. I’m saving so much money on drugs that I can afford extra wine. Yeh, I am still fighting a one man crusade against the French and their evil plot to drown the world in wine but, now it’s because I like the stuff and because well, they are French.
The New Steve Forrest