2010.01.06 It's back to the back

Written by David Green.


OK, so we’ve gone through the finger splits and the leg cramps. I mentioned the mysterious smell of cigarette smoke when there’s no one around smoking, and, as expected, I received no response on that oddity.

We might as well keep this health thing going. This week: the back. The lower back, to be exact.

Here’s my story. On the Sunday before Christmas, I was wrapping a gift for my wife when I reached across the box and felt it go. Something on the right side of my lower back.

I do this every year or two or three. Sometimes it’s the upper back, sometimes the neck, and this time the lower back. It never happens from lifting something heavy or straining. Instead, it’s a simple act such as lifting a cereal bowl or drying my hair after showering.

This time it was an act of gift-giving, and it was a doozy. I could tell immediately that it wasn’t going to go away. It was Sunday, with the two newspaper days coming up. 

I wore one of those elastic truss things around my waist and walked slowly around the office Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday morning we left for a family Christmas party in East Lansing, then later in the day we drove on north to deliver son, Ben, and his wife, Sarah, to her parents’ house.

Colleen had received an e-mail notice about great deals at Grand Traverse Resort near Traverse City and she signed us up for a couple of nights.

Five hours in the car didn’t do anything good for my back. By then the pain had moved on across to the other side, also. I was a mess.

On Thursday afternoon—Christmas Eve day—I started looking for chiropractors in the area. I wrote down some addresses and headed out in the car. 

I passed one of the offices and it had deep snow in the driveway. I thought I was just having phone problems when a recording told me the number was no longer in service. Two other places were closed and another I couldn’t find. Only one remaining.

I parked in front, walked in and asked if they were still taking appointments. The receptionist asked if I had an appointment. I told them my predicament and the doctor said to come on in. The receptionist didn’t seem too pleased. She was about to walk out the door.

I hurried through some paperwork and asked if they would accept a credit card. The receptionist said, “No;” the doctor said, “Come on back, it’s my Christmas present.” And he sent his helper home for Christmas Eve.

He talked quite a while about his work and how it’s different from most chiropractors. He doesn’t take x-rays. He doesn’t do spinal manipulation. He doesn’t use a lot of force.

That sounded interesting because I’ve been to a chiropractor a few times after messing up my back and this was nothing like other experiences.

He counted up a few vertebrae and pushed. It wasn’t much more than a touch. He checked something with my legs, then went to a different spot on my spine and pushed. In the middle of the back, it was a firm push—a little heavier, but really nothing compared to other treatments I’ve experienced.

This went on for a few vertebrae until he had me step off the table and walk around.

It wasn’t a “throw down your crutches and walk” moment. It still hurt, but it was so much better. Really an amazing difference, especially considering what he did. It really made no sense, but I wasn’t one to complain. I was elated. 

I thanked him profusely, drove away laughing. Not only did he take me in when he was ready to go home for the day, not only did he do it for free (although I later sent him a check), but he really helped me and he did it without listening for that cracking sound as a vertebrae gets adjusted.

He told me his most distant patient lives in Sparta, but that’s only 130 miles away. I want to become his new long-distance guy at 300 miles.

I don’t really. I want to find someone much closer than five hours who does similar work, and that’s my question this week.

You’ve helped me through split fingers and leg cramps. Give me the name of a light-touch chiropractor.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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