I am a nurse. One night at work I stood hunched over a patient for three hours during a procedure. When I got home my back ached, but I was exhausted and didn’t think anything of it. The next day I noticed that sitting up straight was extremely uncomfortable, and if I wanted to take a deep breath I had to lean forward and hunch my back. My husband attempted to massage the area, and that went well until he touched one of my vertebrae and I screamed in pain. Yikes.
Fast forward three weeks. I’m still hurting, but I’ve kinda gotten used to it. It feels like this one little vertebrae is trying to escape from my spine. I’m starting to think it might be succeeding. It still hurts to sit up straight, and I am still adamantly refusing back massages from my husband… I’m starting to think it might be time to find a chiropractor.
My husband had previously brought me along on trips to visit his chiropractor – one of the top-rated in BR (and on Yelp!). I was unimpressed… and after multiple visits with no one addressing his areas of complaint, so was he. He was so unimpressed that he’d resigned himself to his daily back pain – deciding it wasn’t worth the time, money, or effort to find someone else who wouldn’t lessen his pain anyway.
But really, I need someone to convince my vertebrae to get back in line. It’s hard to fall asleep, and I’m waking up every couple of hours because my back hurts. I have a new appreciation for my husband’s chronic back pain. It’s nurses week, and I notice that there is a “Dr. Ashley” offering chiropractic adjustments to the nurses at my hospital. I look her up on Google and decide to give her a try. Even though she isn’t on our insurance plan, I like that she is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician.
When I get to my first appointment, I fill out the info and answer all the medical questions on the office iPad. I get called back to meet Dr. Ashley and she is fine with JC coming along. She identifies the angered vertebrae as T10. She has me move in different ways and determines that this is likely a muscle issue – and fixable! She then places me on a TENS unit with a heated pack under my back. Afterward, we move to a second room where she uses a special table for flexion-distraction to stretch my spine a little while applying pressure to different spots on my back. Then she asks me if I’m afraid of needles… Um, no? Should I be? She assures me that I probably won’t even feel it. This technique is called dry needling, and she’s right – painless! I felt her touching my back, but I couldn’t feel the needles being inserted into my muscles. Then she does a few small adjustments. My back feels a lot less tense, but T10 is still pissed. Dr. Ashley then used a laser right over T10 for a minute at a time. At 1 minute, T10 is angry. At 2 minutes, T10 is losing steam. At 3 minutes, I can feel her pressing on T10, but he is quiet.
On the way home, I’m incredulous that my pain is gone. JC says it will come back in a couple of days – he’s seen 9 or 10 chiropractors over the past 25 years and the visits only lessen his pain for 2-3 days. Two weeks go by and T10 is still silent. I go in for my check-up and this time JC wants to be seen, too!
She tells me it’s really unusual for someone to be pain-free after only one visit. I feel really lucky! After seeing what’s going on with JC, she says there’s no point in adjusting him. His muscles are so inflamed and agitated that they will just pull the adjustment back out of place. We are shocked – a chiropractor not doing a chiropractic adjustment?? Suddenly it makes sense that the other chiropractors failed JC – they were too focused on the bones and spent no time on the muscles that were causing the problems. JC spent two years seeing a myofascial release massage therapist on a weekly basis with biweekly chiropractic visits and while these combined therapies lessened his pain for a couple of days at a time, it never caused him to be completely pain free.
Dr. Ashley says she is going to treat the muscles. JC gets the TENS unit, the hot pack, some flexion-distraction, cupping (clear suction cups placed over the most tense muscles), and dry needling. She wants him back in a few days and will adjust him then, following muscle treatments. She thinks she can get a lot of the pain under control in just 4 visits!!
It’s been 5 weeks since my first visit and my back feels normal. JC has now had six visits with Dr. Ashley and his daily pain level is down significantly. After the fourth visit, he came home and was 100% pain free for several hours – relief that he did not think was possible without general anesthesia. We cannot express how happy we are to have found Dr. Ashley – she is amazing!