2010.01.06 It's back to the back

Written by David Green.

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.

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