I have so much to share with you all… the epiphanies are really piling up for me, this month.
As you may know, I recently sought out a new physical therapist for help better understanding what happened to me back in May, when I ended up in the emergency room after a chiropractic adjustment.
It’s not so much that I’ve been looking for treatment, in the traditional sense. It’s more that I still need to make sense out of what occurred.
After all, I never got an exact explanation from anyone about my symptoms. Part of the problem was that none of the people treating me (the emergency room staff, as well as the neurologist I followed up with on an outpatient basis) were actually familiar with chiropractic adjustments. So no one felt they could truly say what was likely to have occurred.
Thankfully, as you know, my symptoms were not permanent. Whatever it was seemed to be a temporary injury, and everyone told me to thank my lucky stars it wasn’t worse (which, of course, I have been!).
But, if you know me at all, you know that my mind doesn’t stop. I like to understand things. When something like this happens, I need to know why. (And I think this mindset is a big part of why I was eventually able to claw my way out of the depths of SI joint dysfunction. I don’t take other people’s word for it. I need to know for myself).
That’s why, recently, I’ve been wanting to speak with someone who has an understanding of both chiropractic and mainstream medicine.
Because I do think chiropractic adjustments have something to offer… but, quite frankly, I don’t really trust the chiropractic field to be able to handle things on their own. For safety reasons, I think there needs to be a lot more oversight from the traditional medical community.
I mean, let’s consider the fact that once something went wrong at the chiropractor, my only option was to head to the hospital, with x-ray, MRI, and, if need be, surgeons. Many people people like to think of chiropractic as a stand-alone specialty, but to me, it really shouldn’t be. Once something went wrong at my appointment, my chiropractor couldn’t fix it. It was out of his hands.
So that’s why, recently, I’ve been wanting to speak with someone with an understanding in both areas. In order to understand what happened to me, I felt like I needed someone who had all of the knowledge and solid scientific grounding of the mainstream medical field… yet was also familiar with what, exactly, chiropractic adjustments could do.
I thought this was sort of a shot in the dark, but it turns out that I’m far from the first person who’s been envisioning this type of collaboration!
It’s an unfortunate trend I’ve been noticing recently in healthcare, at least in terms of musculoskeletal pain. Because pain, and the body, are so individual, there’s room for a lot more diverse types of treatments than other areas of medicine. And sometimes, you don’t know what’s out there unless you specifically look for it.
It’s a strange paradox. I wrote about this in my last few posts about segmental spinal hypermobility, as well. Sometimes you won’t be able to find the right person to treat a certain kind of condition, or offer the exact type of treatment you need, until you as the patient know exactly what to ask for. Which, of course, is ridiculous. You’re the patient… how are you supposed to know?
But this is exactly what’s happened here as well. Now that I’ve actually started looking for people who were trained in both chiropractic and mainstream medicine…. I’ve started finding them.
What I’ve discovered so far:
So… let me tell you what I’ve found, since I started doing this research.
Integrative Spinal Research
You may have seen my recent post on the Integrative Spinal Research program at the Balgrist University Hospital in Zurich, Switzerland. (That was just one of the first things I happened to come across).
Since then, I’ve actually started discovering a bunch of new treatment options– near me– that I didn’t even know about!
Orthopedic Manual Therapy
As I touched upon in my last posts, I recently met with a new physical therapist, David, who is a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists. This is a pretty big deal– it was an additional three years of schooling after his physical therapy degree. I am really excited about David– we had a fascinating conversation not only about biomechanics and chiropractic adjustments, but also the neuroscience involved in some of these concepts. I can already tell he’s going to be one of the people who influences me significantly, as I proceed with my PT career.
As an orthopedic manual therapist, not only can David perform the gentler joint mobilizations PT’s more commonly perform. He can actually perform chiropractic adjustments himself. How crazy is this? I really had no idea this was possible.
Now, I’m still not interested in actually receiving chiropractic adjustments myself. The point of this appointment was to see if David’s training would allow him to better make sense out of what went wrong back in May. And I believe the answer was yes– because he was trained in giving adjustments himself, he had a much better sense for what might have occurred than the PT in the emergency room.
I have so much to say about what I learned in my first appointment with David that I’ll be covering it in its own post. Right now, I just want to make sure everyone knows what I’ve been up to!
Primary Spine Practitioner
I also met with another type of specialist recently– a Primary Spine Practitioner. This is a new type of specialty, and I don’t think you’ll find PSP’s everywhere, just yet. But the idea is that they’re like primary care doctors that focus on the spine (because regular primary care doctors are not really equipped to manage complex spine conditions themselves).
This certification is open to both chiropractors and physical therapists.
I purposely chose to meet with someone who’d initially trained as a chiropractor. To be honest, the results were somewhat disappointing, compared to what I was expecting. I could tell he was incredibly knowledgeable about the spine.. but he’s one of those doctors who has pretty firm opinions about SI joint dysfunction not being a thing.
I’d never encountered that before. I’d met plenty of doctors who weren’t sure, or said it wasn’t their subject area… but never someone with strong opinions that it didn’t exist.
However I did get what I was looking for out of that appointment, in the sense that I wanted to speak with someone who had knowledge both of chiropractic adjustments and mainstream medicine. He was helpful as far as the spine itself was concerned.
Right now, my goal is just to give you a sense of some of the possibilities that are out there.
Although I have made the choice not to personally receive chiropractic adjustments again, I do appreciate the contributions the field has made to my own healing.
Back in 2011, the only person who even knew what was wrong with me– let alone “unlock” my joints when they got stuck– was a chiropractor. It stayed this way for a few years.
Yes, in retrospect, I wish I had looked for other opinions sooner. But that doesn’t diminish the fact that that chiropractor was there, when no one else was.
So I’ll never totally write off the field, or say that it’s useless.
But I am really excited to see all of the examples of collaboration between chiropractors and mainstream medicine.
I really think this is the way it has to be, in order for all of us to continue to receive the benefits of the chiropractic field in a safe and responsible manner.
I have a feeling I’m going to continue to discover even more examples of collaboration, and expanding areas of knowledge. So I’ll be sure to keep you posted.
I’m also going to be writing more, in detail, about exactly that I learn in all of my appointments.
So… I hope you enjoyed this post!
As always, if you have any questions, you can leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, be sure to check out our new SI Joint Facebook Discussion Group. We’ve had some great conversations so far!