Home Search

That Time I Went to the Chiropractor

Hi everyone!

I have mentioned the trouble that I am having with my neck/shoulders before, but saved the details for this post as I had not yet finished treatment. For the past 4 years at least that I can remember my shoulders would go into spasm. Normally I would get a voltaren shot and it would be fine for a while. Sometimes it would be fine for months. I couldn’t isolate that it was triggered by anything specific, so I just treated it when it happened.

Image Source

About 5 months ago it happened again. I popped off to the pharmacy to get anti inflammatories and muscle relaxants to try and sort it out. After 2 weeks of taking meds daily I still found no relief. Some days it was so bad I could not lift my right arm to touch my eyebrow. I decided to go to a physio to try and get some help. The physio tried a few different methods of treatment uncluding massage, dry needling and traction. At my fourth session the physio advised me she thinks I need to see a chiropractor. Fortunately we have a chiropractor on site at work, so I was able to make appointments and see her without having to go after work or leaving work during the day to have it seen to. I went for an assessment at the chiro and the news was not good. Over time my head had shifted just over 6 cm forward due to bad posture. Where my head weighs about 9 kg, the angle at which it was now putting pressure on my spine was calculated at 63.5 kg. No wonder my neck and shoulders just couldn’t take it anymore.

The chiropractor advised me that a treatment plan was needed to try and correct my posture which would in turn relieve the pressure on my spine and should then sort out the muscles going into spasm all the time. At the time the treatment would amount to almost R5 000 and it wasn’t really something I could afford, but I decided to make concessions elsewhere to try and get out of the cycle of chronic pain. I claimed half of the treatment from my medical aid savings account and the rest I scraped together. I had about 16 appointments with regular dry needling to release the spasm. After the treatment I would have relief for a few days and the muscles would just jump right back into spasm. I remained unmedicated for the duration of my treatment as I was able to handle the pain. I suspect the relief from the needles was enough for me not to take anything for further relief.

During treatment I started receiving compliments at work about my posture. People would randomly tell me how good my posture is. It is hard work. It was painful trying to keep myself upright all the time, strengthening my core and consciously trying not to slouch. Some days, especially if I was unwell for other reasons, I would get tired and end up slouching at the end of the day. I made an effort not to and tried very hard to keep my posture upright and my head back. It still is hard to do this. I stay aware of my posture and do my best not to undo the treatment and posture correction. I have always wanted to have better posture and now I do. After the treatment my head is now only shifted 0.71 cm forward and putting 15 kg pressure on my spine. This is a huge improvement! It is still a daily struggle to keep everything straight up and I hope one day it will come naturally. It took me years to alter my body into a slouch, so it might just take a while for all the muscles/joints/ligaments to correct themselves as well.

Problem is….my muscles in my neck and shoulders are still in spasm. It is still very painful and I am all out of money trying to fix it. I recently went to the doctor because I had an eye infection. I mentioned the spasm to him, he felt it and prescribed schedule 5 anti inflammatories and painkillers. Those are finished. While they helped for a while, the pain is back and I’m on over the counter meds again. My GP said this is definitely not normal and I need to have an x ray done to see if they can pinpoint what is causing it and see if they can fix it. I would go in a heartbeat, if I could still afford to. I’m going to have to wait till I have some extra money (HA HA HA) or until the medical aid resets. I don’t like taking the over the counter meds because they have horrid side effects, but sometimes I am desperate enough to resort to them. Like now. I discussed the having the x ray with my chiropractor. At first she said it would be pointless since she knows what’s wrong, but after thinking about it said she would send me with a form ordering the x ray so that we can get a better look. She does not think it will change the treatment plan, but reckons a medical doctor would likely recommend surgery to fix it. I told her that I am at a point where I am willing to have surgery to get it sorted out. I am always sore and uncomfortable. It is horrible. She mentioned that one of the top neurosurgeons in America doesn’t do neck surgery at all anymore. Apparently 5 years after having surgery there is no difference between patients who have had surgery and those who have not. Where does that leave me? 🙁

I have asked Rudi not to let Elijah sleep in our bed since I sleep very uncomfortably when there are 4 of us in the bed and usually wake up in more pain than I was. It seems to be making it worse, although I’m pretty sure it isn’t the cause. I can’t sleep badly every single day and the symptoms cannot be so persistent.

When they went back into spasm the other day, I was nauseous from the pain. Some days I have just sat and cried because I’m really tired of being in pain every single day. I really need to get this sorted out. Why is money so damn evil?! I really hope it is nothing serious and that I can have it fixed and won’t be stuck like this for the rest of my life.

I really enjoyed my chiropractic treatment. My chiropractor was also a really fun person and we got a long well. She taught me things about my body that I didn’t know and helped me improve my posture, BUT I’m still in pain. I know she has done everything she could, but with my limited finances it wasn’t enough. Have you ever seen a chiropractor? Were they able to help you?