No, this isn’t a post about Rice Krispies.

Yesterday, in an effort to relieve the pain I was experiencing in my neck, back, and shoulder, I finally relented and decided to take a trip to see a chiropractor.  I went to see Dr. Ben Sweeney at 180 Chiropractic & Wellness because he had come into my workplace to offer free massages during the workday to everyone who works there.  In addition to that, a number of people I know from work had started going to him for adjustments, and they recommended him to me.  So with much trepidation, I went.

You have to understand … I had always said I would never go to a chiropractor.  The idea of someone grabbing of my head and then whipping it around so that it makes a loud popping sound has always freaked me out.  I’ve seen it done on people, and it makes me cringe every time.  Not to mention, I’ve always had the likely irrational fear of a chiropractor accidentally going a little too far and snapping my neck.  I know, I know.  I’ve probably seen way too many movies.

Upon my arrival, the receptionist had me fill out some obligatory paperwork, and then she gave me a quick tour of the place.  After passing by the offices of the doctors, she showed me a room with about four or five automated massage beds and said that that was where I would probably be taken first.  At that point, I was thinking that maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  She then showed me the adjustment rooms, the x-ray room, and the physical therapy section of the building.  After this, I was led to Dr. Sweeney’s office and offered a bottle of water.  Not bad so far.  After a bit, Dr. Sweeney came in and talked to me about what was going on with my neck, back, and shoulder.  He was very professional, taking notes the entire time, and this calmed me down a bit too.  I won’t lie.  I guess I’ve never really thought of chiropractors as real doctors.  They aren’t medical doctors, but they are still doctors of chiropractic.

Next, Dr. Sweeney led me to the x-ray room and first did a series of tests.  I was a bit bummed because I was expecting to go to that massage room first.  He tested the range of motion in my neck, taking note of where and when I was feeling pain.  Then, he did a hand strength test, having me grip this device and squeeze as hard as I could.  I was told that the dominant hand is typically about 5 to 10 pounds stronger than the non-dominant hand.  I am right-handed, but my left hand was about 7 pounds stronger than my right hand.  Not good.  He said that this probably indicated some kind of a nerve issue with the pain I was experiencing in my right shoulder and on the right side of my neck and back.  Then he took x-rays and told me to come back later in the afternoon.

When I returned in the afternoon, he spoke with me about the results of my x-rays, showing me how my neck isn’t at all curved like it should be.  He also showed me a place in the middle part of my back where my spine was a bit misaligned.  He said the good news was that this all looked to be very correctable.  He said he wanted to set me up for a series of eighteen visits, presuming that this is what it would take to fix me.  I agreed.  Then he led me into the massage room and set me up on one of those automated massage beds.  Yes!  The weirdest part was when he attached these two little electrodes, one on either side of my neck, that delivered little electric shocks to my muscles.  That was an odd feeling, but not painful.  The massage bed was nice, but the rolling bar going up and down my back was really pushing my body around a lot.  It was a weird experience.  After ten minutes of that, I was led into the adjustment room.

And here is where I started to get a little nervous again, though not as much as I expected.  He assured me that there was no chance of injury from the adjustments and told me to relax.  First, he had me lie down face first on the table while he pushed on various places on my back, testing for pain or tenderness.  After that, he told me to flip over.  And here is where he took my head in his hands and turned it slowly to the right.  After telling me to relax, he gave it a little nudge, and I heard three or four very loud pops.  That was kind of freaky, but I felt no pain from it, so that was good.  He then repeated the procedure with my head turned to the left.  Again, no pain.  Then, he told me to lie with my arms across me as if I was giving myself a big hug.  He turned me on my side a bit and told me to take a deep breath.  When I did, he pushed down on my left arm, and my back popped.  And that one hurt a bit.  But he said he expected that one to hurt a bit.  And I THINK I believe him.  Haha.  No, no.  I do believe him.

Well, anyway, when all was said and done, I still had the pain in my neck, back, and shoulder, but Dr. Sweeney didn’t seem to concerned with this.  For some reason, I had originally thought one adjustment was just going to take the pain away, but when we were talking in his office, he had told me that it could take seven or eight visits before the pain was gone.  So I wasn’t too dismayed.

A day later, I think I am feeling a bit better.  The range of motion in my neck is slightly better.  One thing I found a little weird is that my neck hurts a bit when I turn it all the way to the left now.  That wasn’t happening before the adjustment, but after talking to some other people who have been getting this done for awhile, I guess your body tries to compensate somehow and balance out the pain when you are getting adjusted like this.  I’ve got eighteen visits to go.  I’m not excited about the cost of all of this (though hoping that insurance will cover all or most of it), but I am kind of excited about the prospect of being properly aligned for the first time in who knows how long.  I’m wondering if I will feel significantly different (hopefully better).

I guess only time will tell.  I’ll keep you updated.