Having suffered for many years from low-grade, but persistent back and neck pain that has failed to respond to physical therapy, I finally took the advice of Mrs. GolfBlogger and went to see a chiropractor. I just finished my third treatment, and it’s been an interesting experience on several levels.
The initial visit was a sort of consultation, and began with a series of rather suspect tests. I filled out a long health questionnaire and then talked to the Doctor about possible stress in my life (there really isn’t any). Then, I demonstrated (or rather, failed to demonstrate) a range of motions involving my neck, shoulders, and arms. The Doc meaured my weight balance on a platform that had a scale under each foot, and checked my posture against a frame that had a series of wires at odd angles at the back. Then, the Doctor ran an electronic device up and down my spine which was supposed to measure temperature and tension or somesuch.
At that point, I half expected the Doctor to tell me that my body was inhabited by Thetans and that I needed to donate to the High Church to cleanse myself.
Fortunately, I was then taken to another room for back and neck x-rays—a technology which I understood.
The final diagnosis was that I’ve got the beginnings of arthritis in the neck and some degenerating parts in the back. It came as no surprise to me, since both my parents have suffered from both since their 30s. More interesting was that the Doctor concluded that my left leg is 9mm shorter than my right, throwing my hips off kilter. That also was really no surprise—I’ve always suspected as much.
The prescription was a series of the usual chiropractor back and neck cracking therapies. The idea, the Doctor said, is to loosen up the stiff and stuck vertebrae, allowing a greater range of motion and permitting the disks to begin to repair. He also suggested that anything else that might possibly ail me—from asthma to infertility to hemorrhoids—also would be cured as the nerves were restored to balance.
Fortunately, I don’t have any health problems (that I’m aware of) other than the neck and back pain, so I won’t have to test that part of the chiropractic theory.
The therapy is for me rather unnerving. I lie on a pivoting platform while the Doctor gets a grip on my hips, back or neck. Then he gives my spine a sharp twist. There’s a loud crack and a discernable feeling of the relief of pressure. I feel somewhat better almost immediately, but just thinking about it is a bit stomach turning.
I’m cautiously optimistic about the eventual outcome of the entire course of the treatment. The initial x-rays clearly showed some mashing of the vertebrae (when compared to the x-ray of a “healthy” spine), and if the only thing that happens is that I regain some flexibility and pain relief, I’ll be happy.
I’m also curious about the treatment’s possible effects on my golf game. Clearly, regaining flexibility will help with distance.
More intriguing is the effect that having a shorter leading leg may have had on my play. My poor shots typically are fat, and if I’m shfting my weight to a shorter front leg, that makes sense.
The Doctor suggested that one possible future treatment may be to insert a “lift” into my left shoe to even out my stance. That could help alleviate the back pain from an uneven gait, but I think it also might improve my swing.
It also makes me think that I might benefit from the recent Stack-And-Tilt swing. Assuming I understand the swing correctly, with my weight starting and finishing over my front leg, the 9mm difference would be made moot.
It’s a lot to think about. I’ll let you know how the treatments progress.