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Anyone see a Chiropractor for Years (myself 18 years going) only to need spinal surgery?
I was in 3 accidents close together while in college. I was diagnosed with a small disc herniation in C5-C6 and a bulge in C6-C7. Fractured tailbone, whiplash (all 3 accidents) and concussion. My pain slowly progressed from there to include fibromyalgia. I suffered for a year where my primary care doctor thought I was crazy and ordered no films whatsoever, not even xrays. In my youthful ignorance I let a year go by as I got worse. I finally spent $220 to see an ortho, out of pocket since my primary refused to issue a referral and was diagnosed on my exam before the MRI was done.
In 1997 someone recommended a low-force chiropractor to me. When I saw her I couldn't hold my head straight and my clothes didn't fit right I was so twisted. I had trouble walking and most of my body hurt. After the first chiropractic visit I no longer needed to use a lot of things to assist me. Then I would notice my body slipping back to the way it was, but slowly I got better. I felt addicted to it. I also did PT. I will admit I did not do exercises regularly in those 18 years I saw my chiropractor. I led an average life in that time. I saw her on average once a week to every 2 weeks. (I just estimated I spent at least $30,000 on it in my lifetime!!!) It almost always helped my chronic pain.
In 2007 I had an MRI that showed my disc herniations getting slightly worse and degeneration, but everyone told me it is so unlikely to ever need surgery. I did PT and felt better. I had always had a physical job in retail which I think has helped me keep moving over the years. Originally, I had to leave my desk job in 1998. In about 2011 it got worse again and I had a terrible burning pain that my chiropractor couldn't relieve from my left shoulder to the base of my neck. I was too busy to pay attention, but I would go every 2 weeks to see her and it helped but not that particular pain.
Then in 2015, it quickly went downhill with severe tingling, numbness, weakness and loss of balance. I found out I had 3 severe cervical disc herniations compressing my spine and if I did not have surgery in 6 - 8 months, I could possibly become paralyzed. There was no more room left for them to continue to move out. Since my diagnosis I have not gone back and decided I will never waste my money on chiropractic again. I truly believe my practitioner is a good person who believes in what she does. Perhaps it kept my disc hernaitions at bay longer that it would have otherwise. I will never know for sure. I had ACDF C4-C7 so no one would adjust my neck now anyway. In some ways I wish I could get my neck adjusted as I feel it needs it but it is NOT recommended ever with a fusion like mine.
I truly thought that chiropractic would protect me from ever needing surgery, but I was wrong. I'm curious what other patients think about their spine health and years of chiropractic.