Monday, 20 February 2006

Chiro Therapy

On Wednesday my back has decided that it is time to make its presence felt, after a two year leave of absence. It started hurting, and by Wednesday evening I could hardly move and fitting myself in the car required Houdini like trickery.
I've been to physiotherapists before and, to one extent or another, they helped improve things. However, due to their reliance on exercises that I don't really persevere with, I decided that this time I should probably give chiropractors a chance. Try a different approach to the same problem.
So I booked a chiro appointment for Friday. And all shreds of self respect or self pride I might have had prior to this visit are now gone with the south to south-westerly wind.
The appointment started with the chiropractor giving me an overall examination. It was a guy, which felt strange and proved again that I'm probably not gay but rather more like George Costanza. He had me lying down and doing all sorts of motions and quickly came up with some conclusions, which – to his credit – do explain a thing or two regarding the history of Moshe Reuveni as I know it. Let us see:
My left leg is a couple of centimetres shorter than my right one.
While my left foot is sort of aligned with the left leg, my right foot is more than a bit twisted, aligning itself at a 40 degree angle to the leg. The chiro says that it is as if the foot is trying to compensate for something, and I told him that when I was six I broke a bone in my right foot – I had my shoes unlaced, my left foot stepped on the right foot shoe's lace as the right foot took a step, the right foot got this impossible angle, and knack – cast for a month, spent mostly kicking my first school year mates (I was tall, I was fat, and I had a brick foot). Since then my right foot tends to send me signals from time to time, so it obviously did not fully heal itself, hence the foot's current twist.
The chiro's response to that touching story was along the lines of "that explains it": he found this spot in my right ankle that was really stiff; one slight touch of his on that spot and I was in agonizing pain while he calmly explained that there's this muscle there that is being overworked trying to keep my right foot in place.
Moving up a notch, he commented that my bum tends to stick out. Again, nothing new here; I remember Oren Carmon and his sister Sharon mocking my big chassis during the post school afternoons we've spent playing together as neighbours between second and fourth grade. So, again, I was fat back then, but still – I was always puzzled by it sticking out.
The next note concerned the fact my spine was more in the shape of an S rather than a straighter 1 like shape. His conclusion was that the muscles at the bottom of my spine are basically holding it all together for me, and as a side effect I get this JLO a$$ and a twisted spine. He touched me here and there and concluded that the entire bottom of my spine is just one big stiff muscle (with a lot of fat covering it, I have to add). He then asked me to do these bum movements that you often see salsa dancers do in films such as Globus/Golan's Lambada 6 – The Sequel of the Sequel's Sequel, and I just couldn't do it! It was all locked. Now I know why I never ever dance – I just can't.
So he showed me this exercise where you move your behind forwards and backwards, and added at least five times that this exercise would greatly improve my sex life.
He also said I should use some stool or something to support my very lower back when I sit in front of the computer, and use some back support for the very lower back (belt height) when I sit in general; the emphasis there was not on the lower back, where I tended to put support so far but also helped that S gap expand, but rather on the very low back.
He then went on to show me this exercise where you lie down and straighten your spine. According to him, there are two ways of performing this trick: You can do it the dog way (imagine the shape of the graph for Y=X^2) or the cat way (imagine the shape of the graph for Y=-X^2). To Haim's great delight he said that I need to be a cat.
Next he felt along my spine and my neck. His conclusion, again, was "interesting" in a tragic sort of a way: My spine was twisted to the right along its vertical axis, probably in an attempt to handle my shorter left leg. The funniest thing about it all was that while he was giving me these news items one after the other in a fairly laconic and subtle "oh, and you're about to die in two minutes but it's not such a big deal because everyone dies" sort of way, I was farewelling the last remnants of respect I ever had towards my genes.
As if to prove a point he showed me that if he pokes his fingers through the fatty left side of my spine he gets zero resistance, his hand pretty much swimming in rubber, but if he does the same motion through the fatty right side of my spine he encounters stiffness all along. As if to prove his point even further he showed me that if he pressed these couple of points on the right hand side of my spine I just can't move my right leg at all, while the same doesn't apply to the left leg. Very encouraging news.
While he was admiring my "Da Vinci" tattoo, making me laugh for the first time after making me want to seek out the tallest building around, he did these manoeuvres that one would normally associate with chiropractors – twisting and knocking me all over the place.
I got up, paid, went out to see my Canyonero, and felt as if I have been set free from Shawshank prison after 29 years. I suddenly felt taller, I could move to the right in ways I could never imagine before, I felt looser… Walking felt more like floating along. Maybe Jesus walking on water was just the effect of a chiropractition session; I guess we will never know.
But if you do want to know more about the body you never knew you had, I warm heartedly recommend you visit your nearest chiro.


K Williams said...

I saw the light a year go, when Lesley (a long time Chiro devotee) suggested that I go for a review / checkup. No particular complaints beforehand, mainly curiosity and a very open mind.

I came out with a pretty comprehensive review and "to do" list. Of interest, my right-hand side pelvis sticking out compared to the left one (hence girls avoiding me and chuckling away), one leg shorter than the other (hence the funny walk) and the restricted movement of my head to the right (hence risking to getting run over when crossing the road). My job is a large contributor to all this - 15 years of IT work and bad posture has a lot to lay blame on.

It actually took a few visits to get all this right although a difference could be seen straight away. I now visit every 3 months for the "tick in the box" evaluation. And, with private health insurance (don't leave home and come to Oz without it) it costs a pittance.

But where it nearly paid off it was for my kids. The older one had a sticking-out bum (and here's me thinking it was due to her Mediterranean descent) and the younger one had a slight curve to her spine - nothing serious because it was caught early. A bit of prodding and cracking put everyything back in line again.

So - I take my hat off to my Chiro. All preconceptions gone, I now can't wait till the next visit.

ek said...

Great to hear Moshe! I haven't seen anyone about my back before but recently sent my other half(who had back pain also) off to an Osteopath which he has had no regrets. I'm interested in going too but I'm not in any pain...

Moshe Reuveni said...

As far as finding someone to blame for my bad back, I can come up with two criminals.
First and foremost, I'm to blame; I hardly do anything active with my body, although the situation would improve with the new job where I'll have half an hour of walking a day (freezing myself to death in the process).
The second one is the office, especially the one at my current job. To put it mildly, it seems as if the person picking the furniture chose the ones worst for the back on purpose. Ergonomics was probably a four letter word for him/her.
The neglect is definitely not enough: I had to have the office to finally break my back. The record shows I didn't have any noticeable pain prior to starting here.
You can say it's foolish of me, but the way ergonomics were handled was definitely a factor in me changing jobs; it just mirrors the way employees count in general.