On a Tuesday morning in mid-January, 2015, I woke up, got out of bed, and I could barely walk. That was the first time something like that had ever happened to me. From the description of my pain, my husband said that my back was “thrown out”, as he has had issues with that before. I couldn’t take long strides, couldn’t bend over, it was uncomfortable to sit, and twisting of any kind was out of the question.
My husband has successfully used chiropractic in the past for his back troubles. Although I am a huge cheerleader for alternative doctors and therapies, I had never found a chiropractor that made much of a difference for the small issues I had seen them for in the past. I was skeptical, but also needed to “start somewhere” to figure out what was going on.
A friend referred me to Lisa Green at Heritage Family Chiropractic. I was able to get in that afternoon!
Dr. Green could immediately see the trouble I was having and the pain I was in. The first order of business was X-Rays, which she does herself right at her office, along with a gentle assessment and adjustment. Cost: less than $150.00.
Dr. Green called me the next day (Wednesday) to fill me in on what was going on with my spine:
- No lumbar curve
- Rotation in lumbar spine
- Slight S curves in lumbar and thoracic spine
- Left hip lower than the right hip
- No cervical curve
Ok, well obviously we found some issues there! With that information, Dr. Green suggested an MRI of the lumbar spine to take a closer look at what might be going on with the discs, based what we saw with the X-rays.
Thursday I went into Dr. Greens office to see the X-rays in person and get an adjustment. Cost: $40.00.
By early the following week I had an MRI. Cost: $150.00 (note: I did not go through insurance and just paid cash).
The MRI revealed two discs that are bulging with desiccation.
Exactly a week later (Tuesday again), I was at Dr. Green’s office again going over the MRI results and getting an adjustment. We also discussed a plan for going forward.
- Adjustments every two weeks
- Home use of a cervical bolster ($20.00) and a posture pump ($150.00) 10 minutes on each device everyday *see photo at the bottom of this post
Try to create some curves in my spine. My stick-straight spine (part heredity, and part 20 years of dance training) has set the stage for lots of spinal compression and disc issues. Our spines are designed to have curves to withstand the years of living upright against gravity. Without the curves, the compression of the vertebrae and discs would break us down quickly.
Reduce inflammation. Although the very first thing I did was the chiropractic visit, immediately following that, I added in acupuncture and cupping treatments approximately every other day for the first 7-10 days. The cupping seemed to be especially helpful with the inflammation.
Speed up repair and recovery. As soon as I got the X-Ray and MRI results I immediately changed the focus of my current supplement routine. Here is what I took for 30 days:
Joint Essence, UC2, Frame Builder, He Shou Wu, Pearl Powder, Ionic Fizz Magnesium +, and MyoMend – all at maximum recommended amount. I also took 1 Omega Women + 2 Ultimate Omega both by Nordic Naturals at lunch and again at dinner (6 EFA softgels per day).
When I told Karen what had happened to me, I was surprised to find out she has a lot of experience working with low back pain and bulging disc issues. She has a special “protocol” she developed for herself and for clients that need some TLC in the lumber region. Her massage for these issues focuses on decompression and circulation. She encouraged me too see her once a week if possible during the acute stage of this injury. I was on my way to healing back pain naturally.
After 4-6 weeks of taking supplements, chiropractic adjustments every other week, acupuncture and cupping every other day for the first 7-10 days, massage approximately once a week, laying on the cervical bolster and posture pump rarely missing a day, I am 100% better. I never needed pain killers or steroid shots, and made a full recovery.
Even though I have never had any back issues until this point, looking back I wish I would have used the tools a comprehensive chiropractor can facilitate – Xray and MRI. Had I known I could spend about $300, and get a really in depth look at the health of my spine, I would have done it long ago, even without symptoms because I am such a huge believer in preventative medicine. So if you DO have back aches or pains, take my advice and go get them diagnosed. You don’t need health insurance to do this. Knowledge is power, and prevention is key.
Another benefit to continued regular chiropractic adjustments, is that the neck adjustments have almost completely taken away the upper back, neck and shoulder tension that I just blamed “life” for and would seek massage to relieve. Another amazing observation due to the chiropractic adjustments, is for the first time in my entire life I am on a 28 day menstrual cycle. I have always had 30-45 day cycles.
Because of the disc desiccation (drying), I will continue on the same supplements, but less aggressive dosing. I also plan on using massage consistently 1-2x per month, acupuncture and cupping if needed, and consistent use of the cervical spine bolster and the lumbar posture pump in conjunction with the chiropractic adjustment schedule that Dr. Green see’s appropriate for at least 6 months.
I am happy this happened to me now instead of 20 years from now while it is much easier to heal and prevent further damage. I am thankful that I have the knowledge, the resources, the intuition and belief that I can take control of my health and healing. I look forward to the journey ahead as I continue bring my back into balance and expand my knowledge of the spine.
This post, like all of our posts, shares our limited knowledge and our personal experiences, and in no way is a prescription for you to follow for your health issues. Let this information be a foundation and inspiration for you to start your health journey when you need it. Results may vary.
Photo credits: discdiseaseguru.hubpages.com, pain-in-lower-back.com, Diagramreview.com