I love this photo so much. I first found it a few years ago, and used it in one of my posts about pain neurophysiology education (which I hope to eventually talk about on this blog, as well!).
And it’s really speaking to me now, in the aftermath of what happened a week and a half ago.
Because I can feel it now– I can feel my nervous system function returning. It feels like my nervous system again; it feels like me.
The pain and inflammation have died down enough now that I can tell what’s going on in my body again (in all the affected areas, if you know what I mean!).
And I just feel so lucky and grateful to have gone through this and come out on the other side.
My symptoms are not all the way gone, but at this point, they are improving at such an exponential rate that now I know, for myself, that if I were to schedule that last test the neurologist offered me (the EMG) everything would probably come out normal, at least by the time I was actually able to schedule the test.
It’s an amazing feeling, to feel that knowing coming from deep within, that you’re going to be okay. Because for a moment there, I don’t think I, or my body, knew what was going on.
What I can tell you is that, in the moments after that chiropractic adjustment, my body had a strong, deep knowing that things were not okay.
The way my legs were trembling and on the verge of buckling beneath me when I stood up– not okay.
And the fact that (I didn’t even mention this yet) all the stress of everything made my period come two weeks early– not okay. I know this happens to some women often, but it has literally never happened to me.
All of it was my body reacting, and telling me that whatever had just happened, it was wrong for me.
Multiple people have asked me, since it happened, whether I’ve talked to my chiropractor about it. And the answer is yes, he did. He saw me as I was standing there with my legs shaking, and he decided it was fine to leave for the day.
To be fair, I’ve had a lot of anxiety around chiropractic adjustments before, and he had come to think of me as someone with a lot of anxiety. But I’m starting to think that it wasn’t really anxiety– that, actually, I was starting to become really aware of the risks, and was actually correct to be so worried.
Where do I go from here?
We can’t really know whether things happen for a reason. But either way, we can make meaning out of things for ourselves.
This is how I’ve come to deal with many of the health challenges and setbacks I’ve faced at times. Resisting change makes things worse; instead it’s easier on you if you can adapt.
So I’m choosing to see this as a reason and an opportunity to learn more about the alternatives to chiropractic adjustments. This is probably really important for me to learn anyway, as a future PT who plans to specialize in the sacroiliac joint.
The SI joints
“Why are you still talking about chiropractic adjustments, when you already decided they were bad for the SI joints?” I can imagine some of you asking me. Well, the answer is two-fold:
As many of you know, SI joint dysfunction can cause pain and symptoms in all sorts of places in the body. Although I had found chiropractic adjustments to backfire for the SI joints themselves, I had still found they helped to relieve pain and restore motion in other parts of the back. My chiropractor was always sort of there as my back-up plan when I pushed things too much and hit a wall (as I did in the past month, due to moving).
So it’s sort of a change in plan for me to know that, actually… my backup plan of being able to run back to the chiropractor when my lower back (or upper back) got locked up is now off the table. There were times that he really helped me (otherwise I wouldn’t have kept going back).
The chiropractic profession and the SI Joint
I’ve also learned a ton of about the mechanics of the SI joint itself from chiropractors. As I have said before, I do think they know a lot about a joint that mainstream medicine has yet to devote proper attention to. My chiropractor was the only person I came across, in the first few years, who was able to free up my joint once it got stuck. Obviously this wasn’t really a great long-term plan, as the joint would only get stuck again a day later, but it was the best option I had at the time.
And I imagine the same is true for many of my readers. It can be so hard to find the right doctor and the right PT. There may be a lot of people out there, like me, who’ve found that a chiropractor is the only person able to give them (temporary) relief for their SI joints.
For all these reasons, one my goals for the future, as a PT, was to try to adapt some of this chiropractic knowledge in a form that was gentler, and less risky, for patients.
And I suppose it still is my goal… it’s just going to have to look a lot different.
Links that may interest you:
I’ve been doing a ton of research in the past week, trying to make sense out of what happened to me. So… now I have a bunch of links to share!
First, I thought this would be a good time to re-share an article I’d found, written by a chiropractor who is actually critical of his own profession. He goes into detail on why he doesn’t think chiropractic adjustments alone are enough to heal SI joint dysfunction.
I also thought I’d remind you of the information I’ve put up about the Muscle Energy Technique, which ultimately is what allowed me to stop receiving chiropractic adjustments to the SI joints, and was one of the keys to my healing.
Interesting article from Spine Health on some of the various manual therapy techniques used by physical therapists, such as soft-tissue mobilization, strain-counterstrain, joint mobilization, and of course, Muscle Energy!
Explanation of the different grades of joint mobilization from Wright Physical Therapy. As I understand it, chiropractic adjustments are Grade 5, while usually what PT’s do doesn’t go above Grades 3 or 4.
I will definitely have more to say on this topic in the future! Stay tuned! As always, if you have any questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!
Photo available courtesy of Cliph