To chiropract . . . or not

I come from a long line of chiropractor-doubters and have myself been to only two——once several years ago when my 1982 whiplash was seizing up. I finally went in, sometime in the early 2000s. The chiropractor hooked me up to a machine that felt like little hooks were tugging at parts of my back and shoulders–in a nice way. Stress was so bad at the time that I could feel a cold-fisted clamping at my neck that made it impossible to turn my head more than an inch or two. The treatment helped, and I stopped going after a couple of months. I haven’t felt stress like that before or since, and I was completely helpless to know what to do. I went in desperation.

Then last week I went again to someone new, this time about the lower back.

My mother would have have given me her suspicious look.

My cousin just a couple of weeks ago gave me her “no f#cking way” look (in case my granddaughter reads this). “I think it’s best to go to someone where the weight of research is on their side. A doctor.” She’s a nurse who uses a Chinese treatment for her back.

And yet, last week I went to this “real doctor” chiropractor (he’s a real doctor) who has turned to alternative medicine. I’m not going to spill the various diagnoses he gave me, or the cautious success I might be feeling after two visits, but let’s just say that going to a chiropractor when your mother (may she rest in peace) has taken a seat out in the waiting room and is now flipping through a golfing magazine . . . well, it’s enough to make you tiptoe out of there.

Going to the chiropractor is for some of us like taking a bungie jump. We know the success stories, but the internal voices are like, “Warning. Danger, Will Robinson.” It’s like a dirty little secret——when it turns out you can stand on your head or do a double flip off the high dive, and people are asking how you did it, you can let it out. Until then, you’re scurrying from the car into the old house where his office is, your big floppy hat down to your lips.

This summer my cousin and I took a wonderful retreat up to Yellow Springs, and on our last day we each got a massage. Terrific! Our masseuse was an alternative medicine walking encyclopedia. When we came back we looked up some critiques of her a couple of her recommendations, and Quackwatch pretty thoroughly trounced the cleanse she stands by. Was all her advice crap? She made too much sense and was too good at the massage and reflexology to shut her out completely. We simply had to work our way through what we could accept and what not.

I guess that’s really the heart of it, isn’t it? Not just accepting what we’ve been handed (especially when one side so distrusts the other that you can’t even talk about it without sputtering and eyes rolling). Listening to our bodies——another whole topic.

I never did like playing by Hoyle, at least not religiously. Maybe my next trip will be to the iridologist. But I’m not telling anyone, certainly not in a blog.

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