Like the majority of 18 year old students, I left my family home in order to study something I was unsure about at a university across the country. Actually, I was positive that I wanted to be a doctor at that point in my life; it was only four years later that my faith in that decision started to waiver. Anyway, my first two student years were filled with more socializing than studying and this saw me land up in the hospital instead of exam re-writes.
How did this happen, I hear you say? Well, I was out partying with my friends and suddenly had the bright idea that we should take the ‘good times’ to my dorm room. I had been drinking, therefore wasn’t allowed to drive; instead I gave the keys to someone who was less inebriated (although not quite sober) feeling I was making a good judgement call. Next thing I knew the car was wrapped around a tree and I was lying in the middle of the road.
Luckily, no-one was severely injured as we somehow were all flung from the car. Many suffered whiplash and I experienced a heavy injury to my lower back. The doctor recommended physiotherapy and medication; however, my best friend suggested I contact her cousin who was a chiropractor in the next town. Apparently this cousin was a ‘miracle worker’ and had helped her mother with severe back pain.
I wasn’t too sure about this recommendation. I had read about chiropractics being an alternative treatment, and I was more attuned to the clinical methods. However, I was in so much pain I thought I’d give the chiropractor a go. Yet, I wasn’t going to give my back over to a chiropractor without doing some research!
In my readings I came across some research that made me sit up and pay attention. Chiropractics was developed in the late 19th century and was known as a form of treatment without drugs. The founder, D.D. Palmer advocated it as a manipulation of the spine to alleviate bodily pain, particularly lower back pain. The idea of spine manipulation isn’t particularly appealing; but it was the progression of chiropractics that was intriguing.
There are two types of chiropractors: the ‘straights’ and the ‘mixers’. The straights are those who adhere to the traditional methods, as noted above, and use a manipulation and correction of vertebrae to alleviate pain throughout the body. Unlike mixers, they do not integrate any alternative factors into their therapy.
However, mixers take into account any medical diagnosis and additional therapies. They feel that the patient’s current situation is vital to treatment and contributes to bodily pain. These chiropractors will utilize spinal manipulation; but will also recommend exercise, massage and heat packs. Some may also advise a prescription of supplements and other herbal remedies to alleviate pain.
At the end of the day, I went to the chiropractor with the hope that he/she would be a mixer instead of a straight. However, research indicated that the majority of chiropractors are mixers so my hopes were met. I’m glad I went because my pain was alleviated much sooner than if I hadn’t.