Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Orthopod vs. Chiropod

Years ago, the first time my back went out on an Easter Sunday -- as in bent-over-so-I-couldn't-stand-up out -- I made two phone calls on Monday. The first was to an orthopod at Northwestern.  The other was to a chiropractor whose name I got from a dentist who raved about him. The dentist said his back went out and he couldn't work again until he started going to the chiropractor.

I could choose the dentist's recommendation or wait to see the orthopods at NU who were team physicians for one of Chicago's pro teams. 

I had been carrying around the chiro's phone number for four years and never called him for my nagging back. Mainly because I'd never been to a chiropod before. My dad was a doc so we were raised that chiros were quacks.  It wasn't until I had several friends who were elite athletes and spent at least one or two days a week at their chiropractor's office that I began to understand the good those "quacks" could do.

So when my back finally went WAY out I made the two calls. And decided I would go to see the doc who could see me first. The orthopod didn't have any time for me until the end of the month. I made the appointment just in case. 

The chiro could fit me in that day. I couldn't drive, so I actually called a limo and rode to his office lying on the backseat like a hooker on her way home. Hey, sitting up was out of the question. 

The chiro took x-rays, then showed me where the disk was thinning and had probably slipped. He even said he wasn't sure he could help me. If I had nerve involvement down my leg, he was going to recommend waiting to see the orthopod.

My lower back was so torqued out of line it looked like a question mark. But no sciatic pain. So, three times a week for a month, he slowly worked the disk back into place, literally separating the vertebra with his fingers and hands. Then I had fifteen minutes of electrical stimulation to reduce the spasms. He never did one of those jerky chiro moves you see and hear about. By the end of the month I was back to normal.

I still had an appointment with the orthopod. So, even though I was back to normal, or my version of it, I went. He looked at the painful x-rays and said he thought I had a birth deformity. I said, no my back was curved in the x-ray because the muscles were in spasm when it was taken. He didn't believe me until he actually looked at my back, which was now straight. He also did a whole bunch of tests to see if the nerves were okay and decided everything really was back to normal.

I told him I'd been to a chiropractor during the month I was waiting to see him. I thought he'd be annoyed or arrogant at least, invoking the gods of orthopods and spewing lots of invective.

He just smiled and said he went to a chiropractor too.


somenuttychic said...

That's a neat and very interesting story. I always wondered what Chiropractors did. But of course, the best part of this story is knowing that someone was able to fix your problem without surgery. Awesome.

suzypwr said...

The last time I went to a chiro I threatened to rip his balls off if he ever did that to my back again - but it sounds like you found a good one!