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A warning about Chiropractic - My story

cjperkccjperk Posts: 77
edited 06/11/2012 - 9:01 AM in Alternative Treatments
First off, this is not meant to scare anyone so please do not take it that way. I'm only describing what happened to me in hopes it might save someone else of being further injured.

I've got confirmed disc bulges in my lumbar and cervical spine. I've had 2 separate MRI's so there's no questions there.

I recently inquired with a new PM about trigger point injections for my constantly flared levator scapulae. I'm also sick of my low back hurting and wanted to see what my options were. After reviewing my MRI, he told me he thought my low back was being caused by MPS - He recommended I see a Chiropractor - Not for adjustment, but for stretching, etc on their tables/equip. His thought was the disc bulge was not touching the nerve, so it must be MPS right?

Same day I do what he recommends - I go see the Chiropractor HE recommends. I explicitly tell this Chiropractor NO MANUAL ADJUSTMENTS. I'll try to keep this short and sweet - I had a RX but couldnt read everything on it. Yes, a Pain Management doctor sent me to this chiropractor.

Here's what happened -

After doing all of the eval, he finally has me lay on this bed that's separated at the hip area. He turns the machine on and it starts stretching me. The machine stops and he starts feeling around. He then uses a trigger type thing and starts popping it on my vertebrae. No big deal, right?

Then, so fast I couldn't do anything about it - wham wham wham wham 4 attempts to pop my back. He goes, "Wow, you're really locked up" It did not adjust. I didn't think much about it because while it hurt, I did not get bad until the next day. It felt like a knife had went through my T-spine and all of a sudden my left foot is constantly numb. I rarely had any foot numbness / sciatica before this visit. Now it's daily. This was only 3 weeks ago and I'm so disgusted with the entire situation. I went from bad to worse, now with daily neurological symptoms all on the recommendation of a doctor I now do not trust.

I blame myself as much as the doctor - I should have known better - I've been to chiropractor who did not help before. I let myself believe that both of these guys knew what they were doing and now I'm paying the price. I have a bad feeling that this is not going to go away and that whatever he did has further injured me. I was so desperate for relief that I got to the point of being willing to try whatever.

Please folks, if you have disc problems, seriously reconsider being adjusted. I dunno if there's anything I can do about it, but after I told him NO ADJUSTMENTS he tried anyways. I wish I'd have gotten it in writing.

This is no joke - The entire scenario went down as described. I'm now back to around my baseline BACK pain level, maybe a little worse, but the neuro symptoms daily are new. The daily sciatic is hurting like heck and the foot numbness is out of control. The days after the chiropractic visit I felt like I was hit by a truck. My entire back was completely tight and thankfully after some PT we got it worked out.

Please care for your backs people - I'm not denouncing chiropractic, but in my situation it has never helped. I used to visit a no-adjust chiro regularly and it was a money pit. This time I'm paying the price and may never get back to where I was just a few short weeks ago.


  • I would like to add this as I'm really not trying to denounce chiropractors. When my pain began in 04, I saw a lady who used the trigger thing. She was wonderful but it was all temorary and a money pit.

    When my cervical issues began (as a crick)I sought out Chiropractic again from the manual adjustment guys. This made me worse and I eventually went to a doctor who confirmed the bulges.

    I've been warned (by doctors) several times about having someone yank on my neck. They claimed that it could make my disc further bulge. I'm worried that this is what has happened to my lumbar bulge. PT people think that when he tried to adjust, my muscles guarded and bam here I sit.

    Just be careful with who you let mess with your spine. At the recommendation of a doctor, I thought I was in good hands. Now it's clear to me they have a business relationship and that my care was not priority.
  • cjperk:

    One thing that I have learned throughout this miserable existence as a chronic back pain sufferer is that therapies are effective for some patients, but not for others. This includes presribed medicine, physical therapy, heat/ice compresses, acupuncture, surgical intervention, exercise, lifestyle modification and prayer.

    I am tempted to endorse your post with some negative comments about chiropractors, but I will not, because I do believe that in some situations they can be beneficial - it just did not happen in my life.

    The source of spinal pain can be very elusive and the control of that pain is even more challenging. For some it's a pill, for others it's an adjustment, and for others it's a knife. Sadly, for many, it never gets controlled and their lives, plus those that they affect, become modified as a result.

    I am one who has tried all modalities of cure. To date we have yet to find a solution. I remain in pain, almost to the point that I must cease working. I like to think that I am contributing to the good of society by working, as well as supporting my family, but my chronic pain and surgical failure has nearly impeded my ability to do so.

    Again, one thing I have learned through this process is that some treatments are effective for some, while not effective for others. Start at the bottom (least invasive) and work upwards. It's cheaper and less damaging to your body.

    Good luck.
  • I consider myself fortunate to have found a Chiropractor who doesn't believe in the "snap, crackle, pop" method of healing. He applied warmth and mild stretches to help the pain in my hip, and diagnosed me as having a locked SI joint. I researched exercises to "unlock" the joint, and with the Dr.'s gentle approach and exercise, I was soon free of pain. Most important, if the problem should return I know what exercises to do at home that will bring relief.
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,818
    you would find scores of posts from members who state to stay away from chiropractors once you have had spinal surgery and disc problems.

    The 'manipulations' that many chiropractors do can be harmful to spinal patients.

    This is not to say that there aren't any chiropractors that can be seen. They need to be completely trained in spinal/disc/nerve conditions.
    Not all are trained in detailed there, much is concentrated on the muscular/skeletal system

    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
  • I simply wanted to share my personal experience with a chiropractor. Fortunately, the doctor didn't use the traditional manipulations. His was an holistic approach and my issue was a frozen SI joint. Heat and gentle stretches remedied the situation after only a few visits.
  • For me it was the only thing that helped and the surgeon I saw recommended it. Now I am to far gone for it to do much good.

    Sometimes I would feel worse after an manipulation for a few hours. Compared to the stuff you hear about surgery it's really quite safe. That being said, some spines should not be manipulated and there are a lot of quacks with DC and MD after their names.

    I will be heading to PT. I asked them about non surgical decompression and they say that the do the same thing only they call it intermittent traction. They told me that one reason it is better than conventional traction is that it prevents muscle guarding. I would think that if a disk is badly calcified it would not work at all.

  • I want to share my experience, as well.

    I've seen chiros off and on for about a decade, but I've never really had any relief from them. I get the same sort of "Ahhh" from a chiro that I get from cracking my knuckles...but my hands still ache again in a few hours, kwim?

    My back pain got nasty in Feb 2012, so I decided to go see the chiro again. He sounded very educated and said he could help me (after reading my x-rays with DDD and hip alignment issues, etc). We started a treatment plan.

    I had an unrelated surgery a few weeks after starting treatment with the chiro, which put therapy on hold for a little while as I healed from that. When my healing time was up, I called the chiro to get things started again!

    The very first visit after the surgery hiatus, he adjusted me gently, and then he used the "pop" thing on my vertebrae. I hate that darn thing. It hurts so bad!

    The next day...POW. I felt searing pain down my leg, numbness below the knee, and the MRI showed I completely, severely ruptured my disk at L4/L5.

    I can't work. I can't do anything without the numbness getting worse. I never have sensation in my numb strip on my foot/leg...no tingles...no pins & needles. But sometimes, as it gets worse, it feels like my foot is extremely swollen...but it isn't, if that makes sense. Then I'll get that nasty nerve ache in my leg (different from the searing pain I had at the time of the injury).

    My husband is 100% convinced the chiro shouldn't have been adjusting me. I'm beginning to think so, as well, as I think I was exhibiting neurological signs of a bulge early in treatment. Just 2 wks after commencing therapy with my chiro, I felt this weird sensation around my waste (particularly on my left side). It felt like a thin ring of fire, actually, at about the L4/L5 level. I was batting at myself and checking my cell phone, because it, quite literally, felt like there was something on fire around my waste somewhere. Then...it disappeared. I told my chiro about that. He said, "Hmph. Wierd. It was probably just psychological."

    I'm inclined to call BS on that, unfortunately.

    I still think spinal manipulation may be good...but not the harsh cracking, anymore. I think inversion, decompression, massage (for spasming muscles), and physical therapy to balance imbalanced muscle tone and stretching HAVE to be the way to go.

    I'm just hoping I can fix the damage, now, without surgery, but it isn't looking like it. I would not recommend traditional chiropractic adjustment to ANYONE...especially since I now understand that it is contraindicated for anyone with neurological symptoms or a history of disk damage.
  • Fritz said:
    For me it was the only thing that helped and the surgeon I saw recommended it. Now I am to far gone for it to do much good.
    I'm afraid I am in the same boat. I think I'm too far gone, at this point, but I'm still holding onto some hope that PT will help me heal without surgery.
    Fritz said:
    Sometimes I would feel worse after an manipulation for a few hours.
    Me, too! I was told this is normal, actually. My chiro advised me to take Ibuprofen before each visit, to ice when I got home, and to take Ibuprofen as needed in the days following an adjustment.
    Fritz said:
    I will be heading to PT.
    There are a lot of people who think PTs are even quacks. They call them "glorified personal trainers." They are definitely personal trainers, but I think they have more of an in-depth understanding of how muscle strength variance around the body affects how the body moves and, of course, the spine. I'm still holding out hope that PT will eventually help me regain feeling in my leg and foot. If nothing else, it is helping me to fix my poor posture! I'll take it. lol :-)
  • ohmyachinback76oohmyachinback76 Posts: 1
    edited 09/21/2013 - 7:21 AM
    hi were you in Oregon? wondering if we saw the same Quack?
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