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June 22nd, 2010

Why I Stopped Going to the Chiropractor

After ER ended last spring, my back was killing me. See, I had spent a lot of time sitting at desks for hours a day, and as a result my spine was beginning to mash down into my legs under the weight of my giant head. When work was over and I still had health insurance, I decided to use my free time to remedy the issue.

You know when you have one plugged nostril and you fantasize that if you could just put a small drill up there, you could bust through the stuffiness and breathe properly again? Or, when you have a headache and you wish you could run some pipe cleaner through your head veins to clear the pain out? Well, when I have a stiff back, I always imagine twisting myself around far enough that I could just crack the whole mess and become flexible again. Finally, a healthcare daydream that I could make a reality! As far as I was concerned, chiropractors existed solely as magical “itch scratchers.” They are the extra set of hands I had always needed to achieve a satisfying back crack.

My first few visits were wonderful. My chiropractor cradled my neck in his hands, counted to three, and twisted, with a ninja-like swiftness, causing my bones to make a sound reminiscent of a pile of lumber being dropped onto some rocks three blocks away. The first time he “adjusted” me, I shrieked, “Oh crap!” and then proceeded to giggle uncontrollably for about 14 minutes. It was a complete release of pent up… neck mojo, or something. I don’t know. But it felt awesome.

After three adjustments, at a cost of $25 each, the chiropractor asked me to fill out a survey about my bodily symptoms and health habits and return it to him for analysis on the next visit. Even though the questionnaire seemed long and unnecessary, I decided not to challenge the fellow who spent every Saturday with my spinal cord. I hastily filled the thing out the Friday night before my fourth appointment. “Do you get enough sleep? Are you often tired when you eat meat? Does sugar make you hyper? Do you move your bowels regularly?” I circled what I thought were the most accurate answers to subjects I had never given much thought to.

The next morning I handed the packet to the receptionist. When the chiropractor entered my exam room, I smiled, kicked off my shoes, and lay down on the table saying, “Hi! How are you today?”

“Sit up for a second, ‘kay?” the chiropractor instructed. I did, puzzled. “I’ve looked over your packet and I wanted to just talk to you about how all of your body systems are interacting.”

My inner B.S. meter went off so wildly I was afraid he would hear it. I gulped back a laugh. “Uh huh. And how are all my systems?” I asked.

And then he launched in to some lecture about my gal bladder and how it was reacting to salt and fish and how, even though I exercise, my blood system seemed to be at odds with my inner child and there were some other stupid things he said but I can’t remember because he wasn’t making any sense and I’d just spent one hundred dollars on back adjustments for THIS?!?

I felt betrayed. And very bewildered. So bewildered, in fact, that I walked out of the office with forty more dollars worth of supplements that I was supposed to take.

The first supplement was something called Min-Tran, which I think was supposed to be helpful to my… heart or liver or something, but sounded more like it was the villain’s henchman in a 1960’s Italian spy movie.

Min-Tran contains, among other things, alfalfa, calcium, and kelp. It is $20 for a week’s supply, if you do the math on the front of the box. The only thing I spend $20 a week on is ice cream. Which also has calcium. And no kelp.

The second supplement was the fabulously named A-F Betafood.

The name can mean one of two things. Either it’s the same thing you feed your Beta fish, in which case, no thank you. Or, it’s still being beta tested, in which case, also no thank you. Another no thank you is order once you take a gander at los ingredientes:

Let’s go through the highlights from least to most repulsive: Bovine liver, bovine kidney, bovine orchic extract, bovine liver fat extract, bovine prostate. Plus assorted oat and soy crap, and something called “nutritional yeast.”

Needless to say, I never went back to the ol’ chiropractor. I let him keep my forty bucks, though. Don’t want him and his ninja hands coming after me.

7 comments to Why I Stopped Going to the Chiropractor

  • Chris

    Okay, yeah, Flaxseed oil is supposed to be good for you. Nutritional yeast tastes kind of cheesy, so that’s a plus. Liver seems fine. But prostate? In your mouth?

  • I used to rent a room from a family of Chiropractors. (Mom, Dad, sister, brother, and brother in-law.)

    There was a tremendous amount of BS that they threw into their business. It really undermines the credibility of the whole profession. If there really IS any.

    The mom used this thing called an “activator” for adjusting. It looked like a big spring loaded syringe with a rubber stopper on the end. She would demonstrate its “power” on some hand held device that would measure pounds of pressure when you squeeze it. It always looked impressive because in a split second it would deliver 60+ pounds of force. I honestly believe it was a cheap parlor trick because when she used it on my back, it didn’t feel like anything.

    Also, she would pop around with it very quickly in a flourish and leave me thinking that there was no way this was having any sort of effect.

    Chiropractic is very popular in the alternative medicine community. Alternative medicine gets it’s name “alternative” because it isn’t subject to the same rigors of double blind testing and research as “medicine” medicine.

  • Liz

    HAHAHAHAH! Chris, you are very brave indeed.

  • Debra

    This post tells me exactly which stratum in your apartment you’re mining right now.

  • Eric

    This is hilarious, Liz. “The only thing I spend $20 a week on is ice cream. Which also has calcium. And no kelp.” Priceless.

  • gene taylor

    I’ll turn 58yo this Friday (while being on my way to Norway). I haven’t been to a doctor (except to get patched-up after fights, boo-boos, etc) since 1978. I take absolutely NO medicine of any kind, drink like a fish, smoke cigars and eat whatever I want. Btw…I’m, apparently, according to the A$M$A @80lbs overweight (lol) and should have died a long time ago.

  • Lyn

    Quit going to the chiro when they tried to schedule an appointment for Christmas DAY….at double the rate because it was a holiday. Said my insurance company would take care of it…. Right. In THEIR dreams.

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