I am compelled to write about this subject because of my own experience a couple of weeks ago. For almost a year and a half, I had been my own worst chronic patient. I was in pain all the time and had become irritable and impatient. Symptoms included severe dizziness; vertigo, coupled with the inability to sleep on my right side; insomnia; unsteadiness; pain on right cervical rotation; and other decreased ranges of motion. I'd been adjusted by several chiropractors, but experienced only temporary relief. Like many of our patients, I had begun to feel as though my life would have to adapt to chronic pain.
A visiting classmate offered to adjust me. He concentrated on the atlas. After the adjustment, as so often occurs, I felt my muscles relax immediately. This is the important part of the story. Later that evening as I went to sleep, I found myself turning to lie on my right side. I hadn't been able to do this for over a year! I fell asleep almost immediately, waking up several hours later to notice some incredible sensations. My stomach was upset. I felt prickly sensations in my mid-back. My right ear canal was itchy. The dizziness and vertigo that had been with me for months was quiet, with a subtle, almost absent nodding motion taking its place. I was alert, not wanting to miss a single moment of this new body. That was it! I began to re-feel my body as I returned to "normal." I was feeling the "sensation of rejuvenation!"
At first I started to analyze what was happening, but then I realized I needed to just experience the feeling by being attentive to my own inner rhythms. I rolled back on to my back, afraid of losing the fluid feel of an unsubluxated neck. It felt so good to feel "normal," I was afraid that if I stayed in any position too long, I would lose the feeling the complete function allows. I found myself turning my head first to the right, then to the left, up and down, then moving it slowly in every direction to test out its new range of motion.
For two days, I felt as though I occupied the body of a 20 year old. The break from being in pain allowed me to see my family in a different light and to participate in activities avoided for some time. A chiropractic adjustment provided by a skilled practitioner that removes a critical subluxation can change a person's life. I had been reminded once again of this simple truth.
Do not allow yourselves to assume that the chiropractic adjustment is less dramatic or powerful for your mature patients because you can't see big progress in their chief complaints. Though dramatic results may not be evident to you, chronic pain sufferers may appreciate what you do even more because it represents an island of relief in a sea of discomfort.
This week, spend a few more minutes talking with your patients who experience chronic pain. Ask them to be attentive to changes their bodies experience for 24 hours after their adjustment. Ask them to write down the changes and sensations they experience. This will prove to be a rewarding experience for both of you.
Click here for previous articles by Barbara Zapotocky-Cook, DC.