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View Full Version : to go to the chiropractor, or not



Tracey
04-11-2014, 04:34 PM
I've done something to my shoulder and been in a lot of pain since the beginning of the week. On the third day I could not tolerate sitting or even standing to work and went to the doctor. She gave me muscle relaxers and Naproxin, but also a script to get an xray to rule out a bone fracture (I fell off a ladder in December), or arthritis of the joints.
Every single person who knows what I'm going through asks me why I haven't seen a chiropractor. It didn't even occur to me. I don't think I should second guess my MD before she rules out real damage. Can a chiropractor have more insight than the doc in this case?

Tracey
04-11-2014, 04:35 PM
and what do you guys think about these otc remedies like IcyHot or Zostrix?

Katherine
04-11-2014, 04:40 PM
Depends if the problem is a mis-alignment of the spine or really in the shoulder joint. Most Chiropractors will take ex rays before they work on you.

Mrleft8
04-11-2014, 05:26 PM
No. Look at PT. Ask Carter.
Or get Jim to use his hands for good instead of evil boat building, and bronze casting..... The Devil's work I tell ya! The Devil's work!

seanz
04-11-2014, 05:46 PM
The BROTM is injured? Is there a substitute rat?
:)

Shoulders are a bugger (DAMHIKT) but often respond well to massage, liniments heat/ice etc.......sore shoulders can also respond to a nice gentle walk, try it.

PeterSibley
04-11-2014, 05:50 PM
I'll always recommend a physiotherapist first, not a chiropractor.

George Jung
04-11-2014, 05:52 PM
FWIW - we use PT, as well as chiropracters, after ruling out fractures, etc. - patient preference. From your history, have to wonder about subacromial bursitis - but your doc should've picked up on that if present. Impingement syndrome is possible; torn rotator cuff. Work through evaluation based on your response.

Hwyl
04-11-2014, 05:55 PM
I hope it's not a rotator cuff. I'd stick with the MD. Good luck.

Edit, George beat me to it.

AussieBarney
04-11-2014, 06:01 PM
I went to a chiro once. He was a lad standing 6'1" weighing in about 17 stone. he put me in a standard neck breaking grip involving the crook of his elbow, at that point I wriggled out of his grip and started to walk. He asked what was wrong and I told him "You were about to break my neck". he denied this and said it was "standard practice". A couple of months later another chiropractor was charged with manslaughter for using the same treatment which resulted in the death of a woman. Chiropractors, in my opinion are dangerous quacks......Nobody "Manipulates" my spine........The last bloke who tried was named "Bubba" an he was trying to kill me in 4 yard at Goulburn Gaol. I managed to win that bout... doubt the chiro would have been able to help me. I had been sent to him after a work accident

Tracey
04-11-2014, 06:22 PM
The pain is scapular, rather than shoulder joint, and they did thoracic X-rays as well. Are chiropractors legitimate ? Can you safely have your spine manipulated? It seems to me that their patients seem to have chronic issues entailing many sessions. I'm a little skeptical. But I sure would like to be rid of this.

PeterSibley
04-11-2014, 06:31 PM
The pain is scapular, rather than shoulder joint, and they did thoracic X-rays as well. Are chiropractors legitimate ? Can you safely have your spine manipulated? It seems to me that their patients seem to have chronic issues entailing many sessions. I'm a little skeptical. But I sure would like to be rid of this.

Not mine Tracy ! I've had some debilitating problems, mainly sciatic related and the physio was the answer .

Tracey
04-11-2014, 07:05 PM
FWIW - we use PT, as well as chiropracters, after ruling out fractures, etc. - patient preference. .
George how do you present the choice of one or the other? How can a patient know which would be more helpful and appropriate. That is what I would hope to have my MD decide for me as she is the professional and I know nothing about this. For what it's worth, her next step if there is no improvement is an MRI. These flexerell make me loopy, and I still can't sit in one position for very long...

Duncan Gibbs
04-11-2014, 07:17 PM
Chiro's are quacks and have no real medical training, nor any kind of legal medical registration like PTs, nurses and doctors do. See a PT. Don't see a chiro' whatever you do. They may cause further damage. If you do actually go to one and they have a "wellness chart" on the wall, run and don't look back.

Naproxin is limited as an NSAID, and I use Mobic for my back in combination with an anti-spasmodic/muscle relaxant, the strongest of which is valium. Don't go near that lathe of yours if you take this last med'.

Rich Jones
04-11-2014, 07:22 PM
I went to a chiropractor once many years ago and it did no good. But, from what I understand , they have gotten better. My main fear with them is that they don't have the training to know when NOT to treat you; when your injury is beyond their skill and that they can hurt you even more. They tend to believe that all your ailments can be fixed by popping your joints.

ahp
04-11-2014, 07:29 PM
I've done something to my shoulder and been in a lot of pain since the beginning of the week. On the third day I could not tolerate sitting or even standing to work and went to the doctor. She gave me muscle relaxers and Naproxin, but also a script to get an xray to rule out a bone fracture (I fell off a ladder in December), or arthritis of the joints.
Every single person who knows what I'm going through asks me why I haven't seen a chiropractor. It didn't even occur to me. I don't think I should second guess my MD before she rules out real damage. Can a chiropractor have more insight than the doc in this case?

My wife and I have both been thru this. We are senior citizen you know. In my wife's case it was a torn rotator cuff, both shoulders, but not at the same time. The orthopedic surgeon stitched them back together. That is the only fix. They don't grow back together on their own.

In my case it is calcium buildup around the shoulder joint which the surgeon scraped off. Also there is about a square inch of ball and socket where there is no cartilage anymore, bone on bone contact. Getting old is not for sissies.

Jim Bow
04-11-2014, 07:34 PM
My wife went to a chiro once. She will never, ever see one again.
We both have been referred by MDs to see Physical Therapists for various injuries. We couldn't be more satisfied with the results. They are amazing, and we're both glad that we don't see MDs that just throw pills at everything.

Jim Mahan
04-11-2014, 07:39 PM
I won't try 'em anymore though. It does feel good sometimes to get an "adjustment" but I think it's really a ruse. They treat you well, they act like professionals, they empathize. And they want a repeat client. I'd much rather spend the money and the time getting a pro massage.

Gib Etheridge
04-11-2014, 10:02 PM
Have you ever cracked your knuckles? I heard once that what is happening when they crack is called cavitation. What that means in the case of the knuckles is that the connective tissue is being stretched to the point that the moisture in the tissue suddenly vaporizes. Is that correct? I don't know. A chiropractor I used to go to would "pop" my back. First he would run his fingers down my spine then "pop" the areas where he said he'd found that the vertebrae were out of alignment. He said that what was happening was cavitation of the connective tissue and realignment of the vertebrae. It felt good at first, just like cracking the knuckles, but there was never any long term relief from back pain unless I used naproxen. I expect that if the vertebrae were out of alignment it would be due to malfunction of the disc(s) and that the pain would be considerable and any severe manipulation could quite possibly cause even more damage.

There is one thing they can do that works very well though. From time to time I have one rib that slips out of position at my spine, up close to the shoulder blade. He can put the heels of both hands on it and pop it back into position. When he does I realize instant relief, total relief as soon as any inflammation dissipates, usually within an hour or so.

Once I seriously damaged my ankle playing soccer. The whole foot, and especially the sole, was black and blue due to internal bleeding, and one of the bones had gotten twisted out of position. The MD suggested that it might need to be surgically repaired but that I should try a certain chiro that he recommended from time to time before trying surgery. The chiro damn near broke my leg, I would never have let him do it if he hadn't taken me completely by surprise, but I could feel the bone slip back into place. Instant relief, once again.

What I've come away with from all of this, and experienced with yet another chiro back in New Hampshire, is that they are for the most part witch doctors, but in some cases they can help.

Yoga is the best medicine, or at least maintenance, for your joints. As we get older and less active our connective tissue shortens, which explains why we get more stiff. Yoga keeps things stretched out.

In your case Tracey, where you appear to have an injury, a chiro, especially one who is willing to take chances with your welfare for the almighty buck, is to be avoided. If you get into Yoga wait until you're shoulder is healed and start slowly.

elf
04-11-2014, 11:13 PM
Chiro is mumbo jumbo. Stick with doctors.

Jimmy W
04-11-2014, 11:35 PM
I haven't been to a chiropractor in over twenty years, but I used to go to one fairly regularly for back pain. He could pop by vertebrae back in place and make me feel better instantly.

slug
04-12-2014, 01:40 AM
Ive got a bad back. Best place to go is a physiotherapist . Normally when something is wrong its because you are out of shape. Old age, too many pizzas . Getting back into shape always relieves my back pain.

A chiro might be of some assistance...ask the physiotherapist.

Tracey
04-12-2014, 04:55 AM
There is one thing they can do that works very well though. From time to time I have one rib that slips out of position at my spine, up close to the shoulder blade. He can put the heels of both hands on it and pop it back into position. When he does I realize instant relief, total relief as soon as any inflammation dissipates, usually within an hour or so.
This sounds exactly like my predicament ! The first thing I said to the doc was that my shoulder blade felt like it popped out of place. The pain is nearer to the middle of my back than it is to the shoulder. I still have range of motion, though everything clicks like a xylophone ! Lying flat is my only relief. I see my weekend before me and it wasn't the one I planned...

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
04-12-2014, 06:13 AM
You can surely think of some way to have fun lying flat....

Curtism
04-12-2014, 06:26 AM
The trick to chiropractors is finding the right one, someone you're personally comfortable with. And a good rule of thumb is to check if he/she runs half page ads in the phone book containing the words accident or victim in bold type face, he's more interested in how much insurance/money you have than helping to heal your injury. Just as with any trade, there are excellent ones who can be very beneficial and there are the hucksters who string people along and give the craftsmen a bad name.

I've been seeing my guy for over 30 years and had my career been in sports, on many occasions he's the one who got me back out on the field when I was dinged up. I'm not sure what I'd have done without him. Along with being a chiropracto he's practiced in something called applied kinesiology, the interconnectednes of biological systems, and has done a lot of work in sports rehab. The biggest thing he's done over time is teach me preventative measures and how to listen to my body when I put heavy demands on it.

A couple things I learned from my chirodoctor (and this is gonna seem too simple) is to stay hydrated when you're having muscle/tendon issues. It's not the cure all but drinking a lot of water will ease muscle tension and help flush toxins in your system. For inflammation use a cold compress on the painful area, don't put it directly on the skin or leave it too long, like when it starts getting numb or uncomfortable. A bag of frozen peas wrapped in a thin washcloth is my favorite and when it's a persistent ache I'll do five or ten minutes on every half hour or so.

In my late teens I had a white water mishap that sent me tumbling along a rocky bottom and bruised up my lower back and pelvis. About ten years later I started to get flare ups in that area and they came on every couple years. They pretty much stopped about ten years ago, right around the time I quit crawling around on all fours for a living, but I get a twinge every now and then when I over-do something. So I know too well how agonizing being locked up to the point you can't get comfortable can be.

Hope you find some relief.

Tracey
04-12-2014, 07:37 AM
You can surely think of some way to have fun lying flat....
I sure set myself up for that one, eh? :d

JDolby
04-12-2014, 09:38 AM
Consider physical therapy.

I was having neck & shoulder pain with a lot of cracking. Everyone said chiro but my doc sent me to a physical therapist.

My problem turned out to be bad posture. Phy therapists, though, do chriro & massage, but they mostly put u back in alignment with correct movement & posture. Try physical therapy. It's usually just a few visits.

slug
04-12-2014, 09:49 AM
Consider physical therapy.

I was having neck & shoulder pain with a lot of cracking. Everyone said chiro but my doc sent me to a physical therapist.

My problem turned out to be bad posture. Phy therapists, though, do chriro & massage, but they mostly put u back in alignment with correct movement & posture. Try physical therapy. It's usually just a few visits.


Yes indeed. Pain is almost always caused by your bad behavior. When you are young you can recover from bad behavior...as you get older it bites you.

only a physiotherapist can correct this.

i have never taken any drug for my bad back...aspirin...and I follow the docs advice. It works. The problem is laziness.

Get lazy and it returns to bite you.

tomlarkin
04-12-2014, 10:00 AM
Chiro's are quacks and have no real medical training, nor any kind of legal medical registration like PTs, nurses and doctors do.

In the US, chiropractors go through 4 years of training, just like doctors, and need to be licensed the same as doctors. I would be surprised if this was a true statement where you are.

beernd
04-12-2014, 03:22 PM
Try finding a 'Mensendieck gymnastic' practiononer, that cured my displaced vertebrae disc problem.
You don't get a massage or anything like that, you get a series of Physical Exercises to do.
It is great.

Mrleft8
04-12-2014, 03:52 PM
I went to a Chiropractor twice a week, for several years after a particularly nasty head on collision with another truck (mine won). I felt great every time I left his office..... Trouble was, he wasn't fixing the problem, just alleviating the pain temporarily. Great for his bank account, and my insurance paid for most of it, but it wasn't fixing the problem..... I finally went to a Physical Therapist (Which insurance would not pay for), and after 6 sessions I was pain free (From that issue), and had no need for further treatment.

johnw
04-12-2014, 04:06 PM
I'd eliminate all the possibilities you can with the MD first. Physical therapy has helped me a lot with several things, but when I was recovering from an automobile accident, nothing helped my back but the chiropractor. I'd try them in that order -- MD, PT, Chiro.

Gib Etheridge
04-12-2014, 04:18 PM
I'd eliminate all the possibilities you can with the MD first. Physical therapy has helped me a lot with several things, but when I was recovering from an automobile accident, nothing helped my back but the chiropractor. I'd try them in that order -- MD, PT, Chiro.

Me too, Unless I was certain that it was the rib.

Lay on your stomach (your second invitation to lay down). Place a couple of pillows, oh wait, my mind wandered. Have your mate place one thumb on either side of your spine and slowly massage right up against your spine starting at your neck and working down. If it's the rib you'll know it when you feel the pressure right over it, it will hurt some.

You say that it is clicking. I assume you mean when you rotate your shoulder. I never had the rib click or grind.

Garret
04-12-2014, 04:47 PM
Chiro is mumbo jumbo. Stick with doctors.

This is pure BS Emily.

Can a Chiropractor do everything? Of course not. An adjustment is not likely to fix a cut that requires stitches - nor is a Physical Therapy session. Different folks do different things & I'm hear to say that a Chiropractor can make an amazing difference in one's health.

When pan/discomfort is caused by misalignment (not just of the spine, but of most joints) - a Chiropractor's non-invasive, non-drug oriented methods simply work - as long as the damage hasn't worsened into something permanent. Of course there are times when the misalignment can reoccur - but that's usually because of lack of strength building, stretching, or just doing that stupid thing that you knew you shouldn't the last time you tried it.

Are there Chiropractors who are good a milking patients with too many visits? Yup. Are there many who treat their patients ethically & carefully? Yup. As was said, all in the US are licensed & require a 4 year degree. No it's not the same education as an MD - if you want that, go to an Osteopath, as they have MD's but do manipulation.

George Jung
04-12-2014, 06:26 PM
The educational tracks are different; in years past, I believe the DC degree was a two -year (but I could be wrong). I googled it - it's a 4 year, now. You can enter a DC school after 2 years of undergrad, most folks have a Bachelors. Most MD programs require a Bachelors degree; many now require a Masters, before med school; that is 4 years, plus internship (1 year) and then residency - 3 - 7 years, depending on the specialty. They're entirely different courses of study.

AFA 'how do I decide' who to send patients to? I don't - most often, my patients have a preference. Many really prefer DC care; others, only want PT. I've found good practitioners in both; and if they don't improve with treatment, I generally don't order the advanced imaging studies, such as CT or MRI - for the simple reason that, I can't do anything more with that information, whether it be a recommendation for injections or surgery - and so defer that decision to a consultant, generally an orthopedic surgeon. they can decide on further imaging studies, and how they want them done - ie, how thin of 'cuts' on an MRI, for instance.

Tracey
04-12-2014, 07:09 PM
Are MRI images useful to a PT? I spoke with my doctor this morning; my X-rays were negative and she ordered an MRI.
i imagine it's course of treatment, but if I read your post correctly, would you agree that it's not useful to non- surgical treatment? I would pursue PT before an invasive treatment if there were a choice. And I wouldn't want to succumb to MRI twice if the surgeon needs specific films.

Mrleft8
04-12-2014, 08:24 PM
My God, Tracey!
Jim can make boats out of piles of rotting lumber, and bronze sheaves out of old bent drive shafts, and .75 caliber cannons out of bamboo garden stakes, and he can't fix your back? What the hell is wrong with this picture!? :D

George Jung
04-13-2014, 09:04 AM
Hehehe.... Lefty has a semi-valid point!

I'd advise - don't put too much stock in internet advice - we're all guessing. Best guess, for sure - but I'd say go with the folks you're seeing in person. They have a whole lot more information. We're trying to be helpful, but this is definitely a case of YMMV. The imaging isn't 'invasive', so that info won't 'hurt' anything. Hopefully you'll have a better idea of options afterwards.

Chip-skiff
04-13-2014, 12:47 PM
I went to a Chiropractor twice a week, for several years after a particularly nasty head on collision with another truck (mine won). I felt great every time I left his office..... Trouble was, he wasn't fixing the problem, just alleviating the pain temporarily. Great for his bank account, and my insurance paid for most of it, but it wasn't fixing the problem..... I finally went to a Physical Therapist (Which insurance would not pay for), and after 6 sessions I was pain free (From that issue), and had no need for further treatment.

This is quite like my experience, with repeated/chronic back injuries from horse wrecks, heavy lifting, strenuous rock and ice climbing, etc. The chiros would give me some relief but never urged any exercise or self-therapy. In New Zealand I saw a chiroŚ same story. When I started seeing a physio, she gave me a set of exercises at the first session, and said that my improvement depended on how well I followed through. Since then (12 years ago), I've been doing the exercises with some added, and only had one acute episode of back pain. Saw another physio and it cleared up.

Garret
04-13-2014, 02:12 PM
This is quite like my experience, with repeated/chronic back injuries from horse wrecks, heavy lifting, strenuous rock and ice climbing, etc. The chiros would give me some relief but never urged any exercise or self-therapy. In New Zealand I saw a chiro— same story. When I started seeing a physio, she gave me a set of exercises at the first session, and said that my improvement depended on how well I followed through. Since then (12 years ago), I've been doing the exercises with some added, and only had one acute episode of back pain. Saw another physio and it cleared up.

How strange. I've been to many Crackopractors over the years & except for one who was a waste of perfectly good skin IMO, all have given me exercises & stretches to do - with the advisory of "You can do them & see me every once in a while, or skip 'em & come see me regularly".

Spin_Drift
04-13-2014, 06:54 PM
I like a good chiropractor who preferrably knows kinesiology. They have really helped me over the years.

I can't tell you what to do, but I'd go to a chiropractor rather than MRI. I'd have the chiropractor take an X-ray. They adjust their X-ray machine differently than the hospital and they can see where the vertebrae is out of place and they can relieve your pain quite fast.


A good one will also give you exercise to do that will strengthen the area.

George Jung
04-13-2014, 11:35 PM
'They adjust their x-ray machines differently'?

Praytell - how does that one go?

TomF
04-14-2014, 08:05 AM
Years and years ago, I worked as a waiter during summer jobs at university. Carried about 30-60 pounds of plates on one arm for hours every day, all summer long. And yeah, on two seasons, by the end of the summer I suddenly felt enormous and quite piercing bone-scraping-on-bone kind of pain in the spine of my upper back. After trying my physician and having no relief, I eventually went to a chiro - for several sessions over a week.

The pain vastly reduced after the 2nd "adjustment," and after a week was gone.

The chiro wanted me to be returning 3X/week for months after - and I very swiftly felt that this was turning into a money-making proposition rather than a treatment one. I stopped after about 5 weeks, having transferred a large chunk of my summer-job earnings to this robust and prosperous youngish man. But however I felt about the business model for ongoing adjustments ... my experience while in acute distress was eye-opening and transformative.

The best thing I've ever been able to do for back pain thereafter ... is to do the big multi-joint exercise with weights with very strict form, giving proportionate attention to the whole body rather than focusing on body-building "show" muscles.

I've had 2 different types of trouble with shoulder pain as I've aged - neither were rotator cuff tears. The first was inflammation (close to tendonitis) from crappy form while doing high-rep dips (in my Crossfit days), the second was inflammation from poor form in putting things overhead. Learning to rotate my scapula under - for me, I learned to think of "tucking them into my back pockets" - changed this quickly. In each case, form issues I'd been able to get away with as a younger guy acted up as I aged, my various soft tissues became less flexible, and my body's recuperative capacity reduced. Fixing the form - and building proportionate strength in all the muscle groups around the joint - eliminated the pain.

In short - in my experience chiros have a place, but one must view the business model with clear eyes. And strength-retaining or building exercise with impeccable form and a focus on functional movement rather than building beautiful muscles has been the best long-term help.

Spin_Drift
04-14-2014, 01:17 PM
'They adjust their x-ray machines differently'?

Praytell - how does that one go?

George, I don't know how their machines are adjusted but I remember the image showing simultaneously the body as well as the bones. If you're in medical business, maybe you could help me find the right words.

Thanks. :)

Boater14
04-14-2014, 10:16 PM
They can work miracles but the chiropractors who want to get you into a lifetime commitment are to be avoided. I've walked in bent like a pretzel and walked out like a young Fred Astaire.

Garret
04-14-2014, 10:19 PM
Did Ginger walk out with you?

:)

The Bigfella
04-14-2014, 10:28 PM
Chiro's are quacks and have no real medical training, nor any kind of legal medical registration like PTs, nurses and doctors do. See a PT. Don't see a chiro' whatever you do. They may cause further damage. If you do actually go to one and they have a "wellness chart" on the wall, run and don't look back.

Naproxin is limited as an NSAID, and I use Mobic for my back in combination with an anti-spasmodic/muscle relaxant, the strongest of which is valium. Don't go near that lathe of yours if you take this last med'.


Oh dear..... misinformation at its best.


To become a registered chiropractor in Australia you must have studied an accredited 5-year chiropractic program conducted at a University within Australia, or have completed an accredited program overseas that satisfies the requirements set by the Australian Chiropractic Regulating authority.

Tracey
04-26-2014, 08:27 AM
Interesting comments here on chiropractors. Thankfully I won't be needing to consult one.
Turns out that the MRI revealed a small tear in a shoulder tendon; tendonosis - which is apparently an accumulation of small unhealed injuries.
Not skeletal related at all. Time and PT if the pain does not resolve somewhat within 2-4 weeks.

George Jung
04-26-2014, 09:04 AM
'Sometimes' surgery! Depends on the tendon, and why it's frayed. Sometimes an impingement syndrome, surgically decompressed (that's the last option, btw).

Fun, isn't it?