My Story (Part 1): The Beginning of a Long Road

It all began with an innocent yoga injury. I remember how enthusiastically I dove into bikram yoga, learning and completing a variety of poses in a 105 degree room. The challenge, heat, and novelty were infectious, and I began to attend classes two or three times a week over a period of several months. I came home from yoga one night with a pain in my low back that turned into a week of agony, sleepless nights, and the beginning of this long road. Looking back, I believe I was not supporting my back properly in several of the poses and simultaneously pushing myself to progress faster than I should have.

Thankfully, at that time, my back pain slowly faded away, with the injury lingering in the form of intermittent and intense burning, itching, and tingling sensations in my right thigh. I didn’t go to the doctor, and after about a month of rest I only experienced pain when bending forward or when I attempted to revisit the poses that originally injured me. I quit yoga and continued on with life, but I am convinced this incident put my back in a vulnerable place, setting the stage for what was to come.

Fast-forward about a year later when I began seeing a chiropractor for stress-related upper back and neck pain. Since I was already there, she also began adjusting my lower back. I was making progress with my chiropractor until one day, without notice, she informed me that she would be transitioning to more administrative duties. On the spot, she introduced me to a new chiropractor who would take over my care, a chiropractor I knew nothing about.

Even in the moment, I greatly disliked that this was sprung on me, and I had no chance or time to process and make a decision about moving forward with someone I did not know. My new chiropractor appeared kind and genuine, but she was also clearly young and inexperienced, just out of school. Several visits passed uneventfully until the day my back was changed forever.

For my low back adjustment, I would lie on my stomach with a drop table underneath me that would fall at the force of the chiropractor pushing down on my sacrum/lower back. The drop table was adjustable based on the weight of the patient, and in that fact was my downfall. The day I was injured, the patient just prior to me was a large man weighing upwards of 250 pounds. The chiropractor forgot to readjust the drop table for me (a slender 5’2″ and 105 pounds) and the same force was exerted on me for the table to drop as needed for a much larger person. I am explaining that as best I can, so hopefully you get the picture.

The pain was sharp and immediate, and I instantly knew something was seriously wrong. I should have followed my gut instinct which told me to run and get other help, but I naively followed the advice of my chiropractor who said everything was fine. I continued to be adjusted in the same way for the next few weeks, likely perpetrating the injury each time.

This is where I look back and realize my foolishness and naivety to blindly follow advice simply because it came from a medical professional. Every day I regret not following my gut instinct that something was wrong. When I finally realized my error, the chiropractor and her supervisor denied any part in my injury, and I moved on to find other care.

I am curious if anyone else has been injured or worsened by a chiropractor? I know they do amazing things for so many people, but for me they were the beginning of my journey with chronic pain.

 

6 responses

  1. It is so amazing that I have found you and you have found me. My injury didn’t happen the same way, but I had a similar experience with a chiropractor in which he pushed so hard on my back that I was in immediate pain. This was even after he read the MRI report showing I had a ruptured disc at L4/L5 yet he still adjusted that area and like you, I blindly trusted when my gut said to run and run far. I continued to get adjusted by him until one day I told him that I could take the pain he was causing me. He offered to use a gun type device and that went ok but I eventually stopped seeing him. The one good thing I got from him was he referred me to a SI joint specialist who did diagnose me with SI joint dysfunction.

    Unfortunately he retired only 4 months after me seeing him. I had fired my pain doctor because he threw a fit when I told him I was seeing a SI joint specialist just for injections, not for med management. He said ‘There is nothing wrong with your SI joints! They might hurt because you waddle when you walk but your problem is clearly disc pain and you need a fusion!”. First, I couldn’t believe he said I waddled. I did, but he didn’t have to say it like that. And second, he was pushing surgery on me and never once offered a stimulator or pain pump. Needless to say I had the surgery and here I am almost 15 months later with only a partial fusion. Surgery did not fix me but I also have many other issues such as facet joint hypertrophy and a myriad of other auto immune things as well as fibromyalgia.

    So when is part 2 coming? 🙂

    • Thank you so much for sharing your experience! There really is something to that gut instinct. Even now I have to listen closely when something does not feel right – when I just somehow know I shouldn’t take that walk, or stand to long, or go to the store, etc… Every time I ignore that feeling, I have regretted it.

      The funny thing is, my chiropractor also suspected SI problems at the time because they gave me an SI belt that was temporarily helpful. What really got me was their refusal to admit that the adjustment had anything to do with my increased pains and new limitations. I had no intentions of suing or any type of medical malpractice case, but I just wish they would have admitted fault in some way.

      Part II coming sometime this week! I’m looking forward to reading more through your blog and experience. Lets keep in touch 🙂

  2. Thanks for following my blog… I’m glad you found me so I could find your blog. 🙂

    I have had a chiropractor cause me pain like I’ve never known, and then leave me lying on an unused table in a back room while he saw more patients… I finally left, barely able to walk, hunched and doubled over… Ultimately, that lead me to find the best chiropractor EVER! He’s helped me tremendously over the last 15 or so years.

    Good advice I read in Ann Landers years ago…

    Always remember that half the doctors out there graduated in the bottom half of their class.

    There are some good ones out there, but always watch out for what my wife and I call “The F.I. Factor.” (“I” stands for “Idiot” and I’ll let you work out the “F” rather than type it outright…) 20 years in at this point I’ve had my fair share of F.I.s… but I’ve also found some good docs and some helpful info… I hope you’re able to find some useful stuff in my blog…

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Peace,

    Dave

    • Thank you for the follow and for stopping by! Wow, I am so sorry to hear that you also had a horrible experience with a chiropractor. I could not agree with you more on your insight regarding doctors. I have had similar conversations with several doctors who are family members, and they have made similar comments! The chiropractor I saw was right out of school, first month of her first job, so I am sure experience was a huge factor as well. But, on the bright side, I have found some other absolutely wonderful doctors who I really trust. Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

      • Greetings, friend – guess I’m in this category, too, with all of you. My Chronic Back Pain issues began with a Chiropractor also; and one who would not take responsibility for the severity of the condition his adjustments were causing and unfortunately continued to cause. By the time I stopped the adjustments, the fracture that resulted was already to the point where muscle spasms had crippled up much more of my body than just the L4, 5 area, where it began.

      • I am so sorry to hear about your experience with a chiropractor. It is such a shame because I know they help so many people, but I continue to hear more and more stories like yours and mine of chiropractic care gone bad. Thank you for stopping by – from reading your blog, I think I have so much to learn from you!

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