When the Chiropractor is in pain

When the Chiropractor is in pain

backThough it’s never been my main focus in practice to take care of people with back pain, when you have the word “chiropractor” associated with your name, it just comes with the territory. You get used seeing so many people come in limping and in agony, and they leave as happy as a camel on Wednesday. Sometimes it’s easy to become desensitized to how much something like back pain can impact someone’s life and health.

Life has a great way of reminding you to stay humble. Two months ago, while I was painting and constructing furniture for the new office, I actually felt my back start to go out. I started to struggle getting out of bed in the morning and my daily workouts became severely limited because I couldn’t dead lift or squat like I usually did. Although the pain wasn’t crippling, it was certainly hampering parts of my life that I cared about.

Go figure, 3 years of Crossfit with no injury. 3 weeks of painting, spine feels wrecked…..

Naturally, I went to my personal chiropractor and got a check up. Though I had been getting checked 1x/month, my spine was holding it’s proper position for almost 3 months. I figured I’d finally be due for an adjustment, and I’d be back to my normal self again.

Structura/Upper Cervical Chiropractic leg check

Structural/Upper Cervical Chiropractic leg check

Low and behold, my spine was still in a properly aligned position, and I didn’t need an adjustment. Pretty much the worst words you can hear from your chiropractor when you’re not feeling well is that everything is fine. Although I was disappointed with the result, I have enough confidence in my chiropractor and my body’s innate ability to heal to give it some more time.

It’s times like these that puts you on the spot. Which doctor will you be?

A) The doctor that does what he tells his patients to do to get better

B) The doctor that says “Do as I say, not as I do”
I chose to listen to my own recommendations and experience things from the patient point of view. Here are the main points:


1. Listen to your body – as much as we all want to jump into our normal day to day routine as soon as possible, by applying some restraint and avoiding activities that we know will aggravate our condition can save us weeks and months in recovery time.

2. Abide by Postural Recommendations – It’s boring to focus on posture. It’s not sexy, it’s tedious, and you don’t notice a difference right away. But then you start to notice that lifting things doesn’t feel as bad with strong posture, neither does sitting at a desk, heck, most things feel better with stronger posture. Maybe there’s something to it.

3. Mobility – by having someone in your corner that can assess how your body moves, you can start to find dysfunctional patterns that are setting you up for injury. These issues can be addressed by figuring out what muscles or patterns are creating problems. A great trainer and/or massage therapist can help identify and correct joint mobility issues.

As time progressed, I followed my own advice and within 4 weeks, that nagging pain in my back was subsiding. I’m able to start lifting heavy weights again, run normally, and wake up without problem.


Take Home Messages:

1. NOT every problem is caused by a structural shift or distortion in your spine. There are so many tissues in the body that can create pain, and the alignment/structure of the spine does not address every ache.

2. When your spine is structurally sound, your body can and will heal even when it feels bad. Every process requires time to heal, the spine and nerves are no different.

3. Pain is annoying and inconvenient, but many times, the inflammation that’s causing pain is the inflammation your body uses to fix damaged tissue. If your nervous system is working properly, your eating habits are sound, and your body is biomechanically sound, then trust your body’s healing processes will heal you in it’s own time.

For every person that comes in feeling great that needs to have their spine corrected, there are many others who have a spine that is structurally sound but are in pain. By paying less attention to the pain, and by being intensely focused on what’s CAUSING the problem, your doctor/practitioner can truly identify what you need to have lasting health.


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