Back Pain? Visit Your Chiro.

IMG_1917 (2)Morning y’all. The sun is shining but there are clouds that look very threatening to me. Keith Marler, my go-to weather guy says they are innocent cumulus clouds and will just pass us by unless you happen to be somewhere else in the state then watch out! I only mention this because I am a Minnesotan and I have explained over and over weather is our obsession, so forgive me, without weather we are bored and know not what to say.

This morning almost one week after signing off Facebook for two weeks I am back on the social media site. However, the experiment continues. The SU and I were talking about my little, unscientific experiment last night and he mentioned that perhaps to be fair I should go back online without telling him I have done so and then ask him again if my mood or attitude has changed at a later date. Voila! Any excuse will do, I am back on Facebook and he doesn’t know. I will update you once I have been back for a while and the SU hasn’t guessed (or has guessed).

Pain and more pain

I may or may not have told you but several weeks ago I tried a conventional chiropractor. I wanted to try the “crack your back” method just for comparison’s sake because for several years now I have been adjusted by a C1/C2 chiropractor (Blair Technique). Just to make a long story short I have been in pain ever since.

I think some of the pain can be explained away. I had two conventional adjustments and then went on a longish road trip to our cabin in Idaho. I have no doubt that I needed more adjustments but all the same while we were on our longish road trip I could not get out of the car (a Tahoe) and walk normally. First, I would carefully lower myself to the ground, stand for a few minutes and then stiffly hobble through the rest stop. WHAT WAS HAPPENING?

I felt like I had aged about 20 years and when you are 59 this is not a good thing. I literally could not move without clawing pain in my left hip, so for a few seconds after my exit from the vehicle I would stand. Finally things would loosen up and I could walk normally (sort of normally for a silver-haired fox of 59 with hypothyroidism and challenged adrenals anyway). By the time I got back to the car all was well and I would hoist my body back in the seat and wait for the next stop where I would once again feel ancient and unable to move when my feet hit the ground.

Thrash and turn

We were gone for a full week and in that time I would thrash and turn most nights due to hip pain but at least I could walk and even climb the mountain trails that surround our perching cabin. The ride home was a return of the exiting nightmare but I was somewhat resigned to this by now, if you just act like you need to stretch from your long ride the slight limp as you walk in certainly will be less noticeable, right? Oh my goodness I was acting just like all my patients who tell me they are in need of a hip replacement.

Home, sweet, home but no less pain. My bedtime was the worse as my left hip would ache like I imagine a tooth when it is dying aches. There was no relief, (but keep in mind I don’t take NSAIDS), so I tried ice before I actually turned the light off and Arnica gel on the affected hip. That would ease the ache a bit but something about laying on my side and what that does to your pelvis and hip joints eventually would cause an ache that woke me up and kept me turning until I finally found a spot that didn’t hurt. You might ask “Didn’t this wake up your spousal unit?” Yes it did, he isn’t much to complain but I think when I mentioned that his snoring was bothersome he casually mentioned that my thrashing and turning wasn’t doing his sleep any good either.

I do not like conventional chiro

I was really in a quandary once we got home. I had a lot of pain and now I could hardly go upstairs. My left leg was feeling weak and somehow my body felt like it was high on the left side and lower on the right. I couldn’t see it in a mirror but it felt that way. For instance, I stand at my computer and I found myself standing leaning on my right hip with my left hip somewhat higher. I needed a chiropractic adjustment but the thought of the physicality of a conventional chiropractor plus this particular chiro’s condescending attitude kept me from making an appointment for a week. I was pretty sure I was preparing for a hip replacement and I could put up with this pain for a long time given my alternatives.

I talked to several people who told me to try their chiro and I have to admit several of them sounded really great, very holistic and kind, which I really appreciate. I resisted making yet again another change, mostly because of the deniro involved in first time appointments and no insurance to cover the costs.

Then last Monday, I suddenly had an intelligent thought, one of those thoughts, in retrospect, that had seemingly been escaping me of late. My thought? Call Dr. Hilpisch. Why? I had not had back pain in years. In fact, I had not had back pain like this since I started seeing Jon Hilpisch. I got on the phone and made an appointment for yesterday.

The return “ain’t” easy

I admit it was a little difficult to go back to Dr. Hilpisch. I had just spent almost $200 at someone else’s office and was here to tell him that the $49 he charges had kept me away for almost 6 months. Yikes! When I say it I can’t believe I felt that way but so be it.

Meanwhile back in the moment, Dr. Hilpisch was not impressed (to say the least) but as a health care provider I can honestly tell you that if someone says they tried another office but they are back with us I welcome them with open arms. It is a compliment. We, as patients, have the right to see other practitioners and seek second opinions. It should not be frowned upon, nor discouraged, but I am sure it is hard to realize you missed out on the $200.

A Blair adjustment

I immediately, in my embarrassed state of mind, started prattling on about what hurt etc. and he looked at me, smiled dismissively and immediately I knew. I had already sinned, gone against the first Cardinal Rule. I had said too much. The first rule of a Blair adjustment is, do not complain nor point out sore areas. He wants to check me first and then I can tell him what is wrong. Chagrined, I shut my trap and he checked my neurological signs. I was off by a full inch.

Dr. Hilpisch then scans your upper cervical area to see where the “hot spots” are (this part kind of goes right over my head and I am not sure it really does anything). My feeling is, if my neurological signs indicate I am out of alignment what difference does it make if hot spots show up on a scan. However, if it floats his boat and he finds solace in the fact that it backs up what he found physically that is good enough for me, scan away.

With the Blair Technique you are asked to lay on your side and he raises a small area of his table to support your head and only your head. He measures something (I try not to ask too many questions, yah right), adjusts the part under your head, presses on a particular part of your neck and while pressing drops the little table under your head. That’s it. No cracking or body high jinx. No making you do calisthenics all the while having their body uncomfortably close. I had a real fear with conventional chiro that her helping me might be throwing her out of whack and she admitted that it did.

Okay, the adjustment segment is complete. Now you rest. First, you rest on the table and then you move and rest in a comfy chair in a room that is very Zen-like. The lights are low, the chair is comfy, there are blankets and soft music that soothes the savage beast in most but not all of us. I have been in the Zen room when a salesman or builder or some such person who is constantly in demand (or they think they are) occupies a chair and it does dampen the peace, let me tell you, but once they leave you are back to your waterfall in Tahiti and the 15 minutes passes too quickly.

Ahh, so much better

I had a restless night last night but I think that was due to caffeine at 15:00 yesterday afternoon and a heart-to-heart political discussion with my one and only adult child yesterday. Don’t they say never talk religion or politics? I can tell you that you should stick to your guns on that one when it comes to your children.

Anyway that life lesson put on the back burner, I realized when I woke at 12:30 that my hip was not hurting. Yes, I was awake but it was not the hip ache that had my brain whirling and I was not tensing my muscles like I have been recently. My gluteus maximus (large butt muscle) did not feel sore and crampy. I slowly fell back in to a rather awful dream I had been having and gradually even managed to get out of that without waking again until I took my T3 at 3 am which knocks me out for another two hours (I will talk about that issue on a later blog posting).

When I did awake at my normal time I got out of my sky high bed (we need a new mattress that is something less than 2 feet thick) and set my feet on the ground. Lately this has been sorely received, in other words, my ankles have felt sore and stiff when I start to walk in the morning. This morning my ankles felt once again like the ankles of a 59 year old silver fox.  My hip was so much better I actually added that to my “I am grateful for….” list for the day.

Is it perfect? No, my left hip is still  stiff going up a stair but then again I didn’t say the Blair Technique was miraculous. However, the improvement is remarkable and the weakness has almost disappeared and in less than 24 hours. Now that I am back may I never stray again but you never know.


For me the Blair Technique is the answer. If you do not relish the idea of cracking and twisting, even though you know it is probably a good thing, adjusting C1 and C2 will work wonders and you never dread the appointment. I really like the idea that some chiros do massage and Dr. Hilpisch does nothing of the kind. He never gives you PT exercises but then again he doesn’t tell you how much water to drink nor make you feel guilty for your lifestyle. Sometimes the entire appointment takes less than 5 minutes which has to be a money making proposition but if you don’t need an adjustment why should a chiro adjust your spine? Better than anything it will get you out of pain without a hip replacement and perhaps save you from becoming a crooked elderly woman long before your time (and if you are guy that is really saying something).




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