Awhile ago we got new pillows. They are the gel ones that are supposed to contour around your head and give you the perfect fit. (My wife says in the morning my pillow looks like the mold of a giant rutabaga, but it could be worse. It could be the mold of a giant sugar cube.) We got the pillows because my wife had back problems and she thought the problem might be the wrong kind of pillow. After a week she decided she couldn’t sleep on the new pillow and went back to the old one. I still use the new pillow. Sometimes I wake up in the mornings with a stiff neck. It’s been three months since we got the pillows and no stiff neck. I don’t know if it’s because of the pillow, but I’ll keep using it for now.
The stiff neck has bothered me for years. I’ll get one and it takes about three days for it to go away. I’m not a big fan of chiropractors, but I went to one once about my neck. I was supposed to go on a fishing trip and the morning before I was to leave, I woke up with a stiff neck. The doctor sat me down after I explained the problem and ran a metal probe up and down my back.
He had me take off my shirt and lay face-down on a table with my forehead resting on a pad. When I was comfortable he put a metal rod against the back of my neck.
“Will I be able to feel my legs when you’re done?”
“Ha ha,” he said the way people laugh when they’re actually annoyed.
So he dropped the pad, the metal rod pushed down on my neck and I could still walk.
He sat me up and ran the probe up and down my back again.
“Got it,” he said. “Everything’s good as new.”
“But my neck still hurts.”
“It might take two or three days for the treatment to work,” he said.
So I’m not sure what he accomplished other than making a payment on his car.
Years later I came back from three days of salmon fishing. Three days of casting heavy lures with heavy rods is hard on the back. Usually it takes a week before the muscle soreness goes away. This time after three weeks, my back was just as sore as it had been the first day back. I knew there must be something else going on. I tried to get in to see my doctor, but he was booked solid for two weeks unless it was an emergency. To me if I stub my toe it’s an emergency, but all my limbs were attached and blood wasn’t gushing out of any openings so it didn’t fit their idea of an emergency. After enduring a couple more days of pain, I decided to give a chiropractor one more try.
This time I went to a different one. He was young and friendly. The first thing he did was sit me down in his office without a table or metal rod in sight.
After I explained the back problem to him, he said. “Most chiropractors would just put you up on a table and pop your back into place and be done with it. I believe the problem has to be cured or it will just come back. First what I’m going to do is weigh each side of your body to see if they are equal.”
“Will this involve a chainsaw?” I asked.
“Ha ha,” he said and then continued. “Next, I’m going to take digital pictures of you standing up to see if you are leaning to one side or the other.”
“I don’t think I am,” I said, “because I’ve never toppled over.”
“Ha ha.”Then he explained that I would be coming back twice a week for treatments for the next year or two until the problem had been taken care of or he had his Lexus paid off. (Okay, maybe I added that last part.)
“Are you ready to get started?” he asked standing up.
“Quite frankly, no,” I said standing up also. “If I’m going to invest that much time and money, I’ll go see a real doctor.” (Note: never say real doctor to a chiropractor. I didn’t even get a ha ha.)
So I left without getting treated. The pain went away on its own in another week or so.
I have friends who visit chiropractors regularly and swear by them. They say they have cured their headaches, relieved their back pains and even showed up at their doors with a check for ten million dollars. (Now that I think about it that may have been Ed McMahon.) I’m not trying to discourage anyone from seeing a chiropractor. If you like your chiropractor, you can keep your chiropractor. It just hasn’t worked out for me.
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