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Is seeing a chiropractor a good idea?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,900
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
I have severe pain from my neck down to my hands that recently moved to the right side when it was always just on the left.

I've heard good and bad things about chiropractors. Some have said it fixed their cervical disc pain, and some have said it got worse. Physical Therapy does nothing for me at all, so I'm ready to give this a shot before I try any type of surgery.

Just looking for some experiences from people.
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Comments

  • But I always remember the fact that my neurosurgeon uses a chiropractor for his neck.

    My PM doc who is a D.O. said that no doc in their right mind would try to do manipulation on a spine that has been surgically repaired or altered.

    Take it for what it's worth, that's just my experience on the matter.

    "C"
  • Yeah I'm willing to try anything and everything prior to surgery considerations. Physical Therapy is useless for me, and in fact traction seems to make my pain worse.

    I worry about it getting worse after, but it's already pretty intense so I'm not sure.
  • Mine is a life saver.
    Did as bit of gardening on monday, and the next day strong lower back pain. Rang today and got in immediately.
    He fixed the problem as a matter of routine.
    A vertebra was out of line and not sitting on the disc properly.
    It depends on what the problem is as to whether or not a chiro can help. They mainly attend to misalighnment of vertebra, as in my case.
    From what I've read of your posts, you are not ready yet for PT at all. You must get your tight muscles loosened up and stretched first so that they can begin to function normally.
    It will be a bit of a precess but gradual improvement will soon make a big difference to your pain levels.
    Remedial massage is not PT. It is a treatment that identifies the root cause of the muscle problems, and treats it.
    Whether weight lifting years ago or something else caused problems is beside the point. You have to get your muscles treated immediately!
    I can't emphasise this enough. Tight, sore muscles can cause the most awful pain, and can also adversely affect your spine, and on it goes, as per dilauro's recent post.
    If you don't do this, then you are just avoiding proper treatment, in my view.
  • As per my previous posts, I believe my Chiro has prevented, or at least postponed, surgery. Be very careful in selecting your Chiro though. There are different schools of thought among this profession and you need to find one trained in both passive and aggressive techniques. Mine uses an "Activator" - which is a very gentle way of moving the vertebrae. Deep tissue massage relieves the muscle problems. Good luck to you.
  • I saw a chiropractor a year ago last spring when my cervical radicolopathy first occurred and it was presumed to be a herniation but hadn't had MRI yet. He found a sore vertebra and leaned on it hard. It hurt significantly and I wondered at the wisdom of that manipulation but two hours later when my shoulder/arm pain had tripled, I knew I'd made a mistake. Maybe chiropractors are good for some things and some people but I won't see a chiropractor again after this experience. My previous experiences with a different chiropractor (for neck pain) didn't hurt or harm but also did no good, so for me, it's a waste of money at best, and potentially damaging, at worst. :<
    Linda

    2009 Foraminotomy C6-72010 PLIF L4-S1Multi RFA's, cervical inj, lumbar injLaminectomy L3-4 and fusion w/internal fixation T10-L4 July 17Fusion C2-C5 yet to be scheduled
  • Have you had an MRI yet? Get an MRI before letting the chiro do anything. A good chiro will schedule one for you to be sure they aren't going to impact something and make it worse. Depending on the level of what's wrong, is whether a chiro can help or not.

    Popping, activating, trying to move vertebras when there are bone spurs, herniations, etc...is not a good thing.

    If you have tight muscles, knots, something from strain, stress, etc...then a chiro can help.

    As one of the posters said, they can sometimes delay surgery, but you can't put a herniated disc back together. Sometimes it will heal, but that takes rest, time, and a more gentler approach than popping, manipulating bones.

    A while back, I went to a pressure point chiro that used his hands and knuckles to press (sometimes hard) on nerve pressure points to relieve the muscles, knots, and let the body adjust itself. I moved away from that town, but I would still be seeing him if I was near. I have been to the pop/crack kind but that was when I was young and had no arthritis and no bone problems. I have recently been to one that used an activator to thump on the bones, which made my symptoms worse. After I insisted on getting an MRI, I stopped going. He would have still been thumping on me if I would have let him. The neurologist and then the two neurosurgeons said the chiro was making things worse by pressing the bone spurs into my spinal cord more and my nerve roots were being irritated too.

    So be careful. Use your head. Try it, but don't go back if they don't sound like they are going to take your current symptoms into account and just keep saying they can fix you.
  • Agreed - have an MRI before going to the Chiro - they probably won't touch you without seeing one, anyway. For me, a chiro wouldn't touch me because my disc herniation was too severe. Luckily though, traction worked for me and I've improved a lot since the inital diagnosis late last year. Good luck to you.
  • I think im ready to start going back to the chiro again...
  • haglandc said:
    But I always remember the fact that my neurosurgeon uses a chiropractor for his neck.

    My PM doc who is a D.O. said that no doc in their right mind would try to do manipulation on a spine that has been surgically repaired or altered.

    Take it for what it's worth, that's just my experience on the matter.

    "C"
    wow....your nero uses one?

    yea if i have surgery i will never be able to go again..
  • Peter what works best for arthritis ?

    tomorrow i go for my first appointment with a Rheumatologist...
  • I agree with everything candle99 said..

    I wouldn't let a chiropractor touch my spine because of the possibility[/u] of making it worse.It already hurts pretty bad,and last night I slept with the TENs on my shoulder(referred pain I think)all night.It did help somewhat.

    Sometimes whenever I think that I'll try almost anything because the pain is that intense...I stop and remember something that I've tried/done in the past because I thought that it couldn't get worse.It got worse,so now I'm more cautious.

    Though maybe the chiropractors that do other things besides manual manipulation could be helpful...I don't know.I've no experience with any of them,but I know there are those that have found relief with those types.

    I do hope you find relief,as with [u]anyone
    in pain.my best to you.
  • I've had multiple MRI's, Myleograms, X-Rays and others just not very recent. Problem is my doctor is making me do an EMG before getting an MRI before seeing a Neurosurgeon. I'm in so much pain I can't keep waiting, and Physical Therapy is useless and traction actually makes it worse.

    If I can go to a chiro, get their opinion and maybe they can get me an MRI and I can get the process moving faster I'll be happy. I can't keep waiting months after 2 years now, it's too bad to keep waiting.
  • Have you considered trying acupuncture as an interim measure?
  • JKDE302 said:
    Peter what works best for arthritis ?

    tomorrow i go for my first appointment with a Rheumatologist...
    That's just about impossible to answer, but be guided by your doctors and try different things to find what works for you.
    From my perspective:
    There is no cure, only pain relief.
    Analgesics may be enough, as varying strengths and doses are available.
    Steroid injections may help on a temporary basis.
    Anti-inflammatories may help.
    Neurontin may help.
    Remedial massage may help.
    Chiropractic may help.
    A big break through for me was finding that the pain attributed to arthritis was in fact just very tight knotted muscles from my back up both sides of the neck. Now that's under control, I can now recognise the arthritic pain. For me, it is a dull, constant ache at the base of the skull, sometimes with sharpish pain in some cervical joints.
    You really have to get a good medical diagnosis and then try the various options, starting with the least intrusive.
    Be aware also that medicine is not an exact science, so medical opinions and recommendations may vary enormously.
    But whatever you do, try the remedial massage as I'm convinced that everybody needs it, and you may be lucky like me to find that it will reduce your pain enormously.
  • I've never been shy about my opinion on this subject. Anyone with chronic or undiagnosed spinal problems is taking a huge risk by allowing any manipulation of the spine by a chiropractor or anyone else. Just the thought of someone doing anything like that to my neck or back gives me the shivers.

    What about a psyiatrist (sp)? It seems as though you really need to find out the true source of your pain and not just find relief for it since it seems to be worsening. Is there a reason that you can't simply go see a surgeon on your own, insurance etc.? Your shoulder and arm problems sound a lot like mine and it took a lot to figure it out. Just don't give up and do something rash out of desperation, okay?

    Griff
  • I've read a few of your posts but I'm not fully coversant with your problems.
    One thing that caught my eye was that you had neck and shoulder pain with tight muscles.
    Have you tried remedial massage to fix this?
    Well worth a try if you haven't.
    Very gentle but so effective in taming those angry muscles that cause awful pain in head, neck, shoulders arms etc.
  • I must have gotten very unlucky because my NS basically led me to belive going to the chiro is what started my whole mess. My disc's were herniated in towards my spine which he says was cause by improper manipulation...My opinion would be to stay totally clear, have you tried massage????I would be very careful if you go to the chiro, just not worth it, Iam permanately disabled now.We even thought about a lawsuit but, decided not to because it is really hard to prove I didn't have these problems before, if anything else I would atleast have them do Xrays before hand.This is what my NS said he should have done in the first place since I was complaining about numbness in my hands and pain in my arms...
    Everyone has an opinion though,,,,,,,
    jeanette
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,714
    a good idea for anyone that has disc related problems.
    The manipulation that most chiropractors perform can cause more harm then good. I say most, only because there are few chiropractors that are properly trained in handling spinal disc patients. But that is something you need to find out in advance. I know a chiropractor and he has told me that in his practice and most others he knows about, when a patient comes in with a potential disc problem, they will not work on them and instead refer them to a spinal specialist.

    There are so many conservative treatments that you can try before thinking about surgery. Seeing a chiropractor should not be one of them.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Peter~I've read some of your posts pertaining to remedial massage in the past.I'd love to try it,and am going to bring it up at my next appt.,I don't know if my PT offers it,but we'll see.

    I have DDD and OA in the C-spine,along with other issues.
  • My NS told me that I shouldn't need pt after surgery, and still said that at my follow-up. While the surgery cured my radicular pain in my arm and hand, I am still having pain in my neck and shoulder muscles. I was referred to a neurologist who said I should go back to pt, and have gentle massage work done, but absolutely no manipulation. I went back to my pt, who was absolutely wonderful last year when I saw her, and told her what the neuro said. She did some light massage work, and after only one session, I had such a great night, with minimum pain. I can't wait until after a few sessions!!! Whoever you go see, make sure they know what your situation is, and what is wrong, before they do anything, and check with your doctor to make sure it's okay.
    Good luck!!
    Kelly
    APROUD CANADIANveteranButNOTa doctor, my thoughts are my own
  • I HIGHLY recommend myofascial release therapy. Worked wonders on my neck and shoulder for quite a while and kept me from having to have surgery for months. I left there after the first session vowing never to return but after the second I would have gone every day if my doctor would have allowed it. I learned techniques that I still use to this day. It was the only time that I had true pain relief.
    By the way. I am totally against seeing a chiropractor if you are having known disc issues and like Ron said they shouldn't treat you if you do go to them. They should refer you to someone else.
  • Well for one I'm not positive it is a disc problem. Over a year ago the only answer I was given was a disc bulge at C6-C7, but the doctor said it could be 100% normal and would not do a thing for me. Maybe it's something else, but doctors push me aside and don't try to find out. My last EMG didn't show a problem either, but the pain is much worse now.

    Second there's no conservative treatment I haven't tried, and I'm seeing the chiro more than anything to get an opinion on what's wrong. My doctor won't let me see a spine specialist before my EMG, and before an MRI and it could be months. So I'm being proactive and doing this, and if they refer me that's great, but I refuse to wait.

    My issue isn't insurance, it's the doctors. My insurance doesn't require referrals, but the doctors do. The Neurosurgeon's also require a previous MRI, and my Pain doc wants to do the EMG first, then an MRI. So if the EMG shows nothing, I may not even get the MRI. So far most of my tests haven't pinpointed the problem.

    I have numbness, burning, tingling down the arms and shoulder blades with crunchy/grinding when I turn my head. I wish this wouldn't be spinal related, but I'm not sure how it can't be. Doctors are a lot less intelligent than people seem to believe, and I'd rather see a chiro before surgery. I'm not going to let this guy work my neck, I want an opinion more than anything. However surgery may fail and I may be worse off, so if Chiropractic manipulation could've helped, why not?

    Modern medicine is so sure of itself, yet it knows very little. It bothers me that they can be so against chiropractors, but be content to let you suffer pain and refuse to help you as I've been refused before.
  • ChronicPain1~You should not be being refused anything and I do understand your frustration..I can feel it in your words,and I've been...hell,I AM right there with you.

    Drs don't know everything.......and while they take their sweet time with us we are waiting and sometimes waiting in a LOT of pain.We are expected to be kind,patient,forgiving,understanding,yada yada yada..but it gets a little harder to do with each passing day when we are in a lot of pain.

    I might want to be kind,but my neck and shoulder are making it really hard to even type or function properly..and tomorrow is a week with this and getting worse...I'm really close to going to the ER-but I won't.

    Another hot shower...
    Good luck to you,and everyone else.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,714
    They cant work magic, they just work with what they have with the patient and their knowledge.
    People tend to figure since they are paying for a service they should get the world.
    Doesnt work that way. Medicine is an art, its a science, its not something that is so simple.
    If it was, we could all be doctors.
    The best way to work with a doctor beside having a mutual respect for one another is to provide them with all the information... Its almost like a detective game, you have to give them clues, without clues, they just guess, with solid information, they can form some valid conclusions.
    I know that you think a Chiropractor can do you good and if you believe so, we cant stop you. But all you have to do is read the posts regarding this subject and you will see that almost to the tee, spinal disc patients would not recommend seeing a chiropractor.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • Here was my diagnosis in September, 2008.
    Dx from MRI was:

    1. Focal disc protrusion at C6-C7, causing marked encroachment on the leftneural foramen and mild displacement of the cord posteriorly.

    2. At the C5-C6 level there is moderate encroachment on both neural foramen secondary to disc osteophyte complex.

    3. At the C4-C5 level there is diffuse disc bulging, extending into the left neural foramen. Fairly marked encroachment secondary to disc osteophyte complex. Mild encroachment on the right neural foramen at this level as well.

    4. There is an abnormal area of signal identified within the spinal cord in the upper thoracic spine, seen only on saggital images. Dedicated MRI of the thoracic spine is recommended.

    Orhtopedic Surgeon suggested PT, epidural injections or surgery. After 12 weeks of PY, saw a Neurosurgeon who suggested 2 level ACDF and scheduled for the following week. After reading many of the stories on this forum, I canceled the surgery. In January, I saw my Chiro for a consulration only, MRI and X-rays in hand. He is gentle, would NEVER EVER "crack" my neck or back, and I also get deep tissue massage weekly. I am in the minority for sure but I can say that I feel as good today as I did a year ago before my injury. To have gone from "marked encroachment" to feeling great without surgical intervention has amazed me and I think there are two things that caused this result. Number one, ALWAYS take responsibility for your own care-leave NO STONE unturned. Although I have always believed Chiros to be charlatans, there was no way I would discount any possible therapy that might help. Secondly-and the most important-is a positive attitude. I never doubted that I would be able to recover 100%, with or without surgery. I'm not a youngster by any means-I'm 59 years old-but there are a lot of things I still want to do and I believe I will do them all. The reason for this long message is just to encourage others to explore EVERY avenue and please don't ever give up. Your life is in YOUR hands and you can make the most of it.
  • Your in a sticky situation mister. I feel bad for you, I have been there several times. The reason for the ekg is to rule out heart problems because a blockage can have similar symptoms. I just went through all of that. I would not see anyone but a orthopedic surgeon for your problem. They treat disk and nerve problems. If your having burning pain i would bet its a nerve problem because when i woke up from my fusion my arms were on fire because they moved the nerves. The only thing that works for me is aqua therapy. No pain when your under water. The more exercise you get around the injury will reduce inflammation. Also I take anti imflammatories to reduce the inflammation around the nerve causing the burning pain. Good Luck :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • Like I said I'm going to the Chiropractor because I don't have any options. Also shortfuse, it's an EMG, not an EKG just to clarify.

    I have to wait almost 2 more weeks for my EMG, then if it shows a problem get an MRI, then see a Neurosurgeon. I've been waiting over 2 years for an answer and been shot down, so I'm done waiting. If the Chiro can send me for some tests and help me diagnose what's wrong, that's what I'm looking for. I don't actually know 100% that this is a spinal issue although it most likely is, because the doctors have been flippant and pushed me aside ever since it started.

    I first saw an Ortho doctor and was given a cortizone shot, they were convinced it was my shoulder only, Bursitis. Cervical Epidural did nothing, pain kept getting worse until an ER visit from severe tingling and numbness down my arm and face. 2 trips to the Neurologists pointed out a possible disc bulge cause, but I was told nothing could be done. Pain meds controlled it for a while so since no one would help I dealt with it.

    Now it's become too bad to deal with and I'm going to a Chiro to help get an answer. So many are fond of PT, but I'm sorry, it's useless for me. Many people get surgery or trust Ortho doctors, I don't. Surgery that goes wrong can make things worse as it did for my knee. If the Chiro says he thinks it's my neck, I doubt he'll manipulate it and I probably won't let him, but it's worth the chance if it did work and I could avoid surgery.
  • Your terrified to have any surgery huh? Well, the way I see things are: If you want to stop the pain you must create more pain by having surgery. Or, put a lot of energy in to physical therapy and reduce the inflammation to reduce the pain. I have been in so many situations it would take me all day to discuss them with you. Long story very short I was in a car wreck and seen a chiro and he made things worse. Pain was moderate before he moved my spine around. Then that night it was so bad i had to have emergency operation on my spine. I have replied to other posts you have hand maybe those ideas will help you somehow. :)
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
  • I'm fully for surgery if it will fix the problem, I'm afraid that surgery won't fix it and will actually make it worse.

    My pain is far beyond moderate, it's to a level where being in a coma would be a good thing.

    I've put as much energy into PT as I can, it just doesn't work. I've been to PT almost a dozen times now, and it never changes. If anything it helps for a day, and it comes back the same. Traction actually makes it worse.

    Sitting around doing nothing, doing exercises or trying to sleep makes it worse. Everything makes it worse really. 2 Neurologists told me there was nothing they could do when this started, and it makes me mad because if they could've done something maybe I wouldn't have suffered this long.

    If my pain was minor, maybe a Chiro would be bad but it's so bad now anything is worth a shot. Like I said I'm not letting him twist my neck around right away, but I've got intense knee pain, intense lower back pain and horrendous neck/shoulder/arm pain. Trying conservative methods is a failure and something needs to be done.
  • ChronicPain1 said:
    I'm fully for surgery if it will fix the problem, I'm afraid that surgery won't fix it and will actually make it worse.

    My pain is far beyond moderate, it's to a level where being in a coma would be a good thing.

    I've put as much energy into PT as I can, it just doesn't work. I've been to PT almost a dozen times now, and it never changes. If anything it helps for a day, and it comes back the same. Traction actually makes it worse.

    Sitting around doing nothing, doing exercises or trying to sleep makes it worse. Everything makes it worse really. 2 Neurologists told me there was nothing they could do when this started, and it makes me mad because if they could've done something maybe I wouldn't have suffered this long.

    If my pain was minor, maybe a Chiro would be bad but it's so bad now anything is worth a shot. Like I said I'm not letting him twist my neck around right away, but I've got intense knee pain, intense lower back pain and horrendous neck/shoulder/arm pain. Trying conservative methods is a failure and something needs to be done.
    I agree totally. Have i suggested a orthopedic surgeon for you yet? thats who did my surgeries. What state are you from and if your close to where i went ill inform you of that location. Surgery will hurt at first but anything is better then what your dealing with now. Correct?
    2005-ACDF with Corpectomy at C3-C-5.
    2006-L4-L5 diskectomy.
    2009-Cervical laminectomy at C3.
    Steroid injections series x 4.
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