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Nurse Susan
Nurse Susan, Nurse (RN)
Category: Health
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Experience:  RN, BSN, MSN-ED, Nurse Educator whose passion is helping people understand their health and wellness
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Need chiropractic advice -I was always a very strong and healthy

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Need chiropractic advice - I was always a very strong and healthy young woman. At about age 24, I badly injured my neck and back working at a grocery store as a cashier. They did not provide floor mats nor back braces, and the grocery belt seemed set for a taller person (I am 5 foot 3). Too many repitive twists without proper support and too high of a check-out belt, they told me, caused it - my C7 was knocked badly out of place, maybe some other higher neck vertebrae as well, and both long muscles alongside my spine upper/mid back were strained so badly I needed assistance to get in/out of bed and bath for a month. The grocery store gave me "physical therapy", but the "neck exercises" they told me to do were absolutely impossible for me to do and caused sharp pain when I tried, yet the physical therapists insisted I keep doing this. I quit trying, afraid of hurting myself worse (hello - I lifted weights for years, there is a difference between good pain and 'that is really WRONG and going to hurt me worse pain!'). Don't want to sound goofy, but I'm pretty sure I was railroaded at the time for the cheapest and worst my employer didn't care to pay for, the injuries have never been fully addressed.
I am now 42, never got this mess straightened out (usually due to lack of money and proper insurance), trying now because I have Disability insurance which pays for chiropractic care. So far - 3 visits to a chiropractor. First visit - he cracked my back and neck (both of which he said were extrememely stiff so he was going to be gentle) and I felt GREAT for 2 days. My occipitals were quite out of of place (which a masseuse friend of mine trying to help told me, said it was beyond her, see the chiro)...and I still have a giant hump on the back of my neck where my C7 is badly out and I look like a polio victim since my 20s. The last 2 visits to my new chiro, he cracked my occipitals back in, but within 15 mins. of leaving, noticed either the C7 area aching very badly or sharp pains between my shoulder blades. What do I do now? My masseuse friend suggested I have X-rays done on my neck and back before my chiro works on it again. Maybe even an MRI, tho I shudder to think of the fight with my insurance company to get that super expensive test done. What do you think? I really, REALLY want to go back to my sports love, free weight lifting, but I know I cannot with my neck and back in clearly sharp painful angles. Is a chiropractor enough? Should I see a sports medicine person, a physical therapist? I'd do anything to get back to weight lifting.
-Thank you
Hello JACustomer,

I am sorry for the pain you are in and hope I can help you. I realize you asked for chiropractic advice, but I think for you a chiropractor is possibly a dangerous thing. I strongly discourage going to chiropractors for upper neck issues. There has been research done that associates upper neck manipulations with strokes.

I like the suggestion your masseuse friend gave you and I am surprised the chiropractor did not take X Rays him/her self. However, I think the specialist you should see is an orthopedist not a chiropractor, and have X Rays taken, and MRI if need be, and I suggest a physiatrist referral as well, depending on what the orthopedist finds. You can also discuss physiatry with the orthopedist. Physiatry is a medical specialty which specializes in rehabilitation. They focus on the treatment and diagnosis of injuries and illnesses that impair or affect movement. More information about physiatry is here: http://www.aapmr.org/patients/aboutpmr/pages/physiatrist.aspx

Here is an article from WebMD regarding neck cracking and stroke: http://www.webmd.com/stroke/news/20030512/neck-cracking-raises-stroke-risk

And from the BBC, which speaks about an article in the British Medical Journal which finds chiropractic for neck pain "inadvisable" http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18356045

My advice here is to ask your general practitioner for a referral to a good orthopedist and physiatrist.
I hope I was able to help,
Sincerely,
Susan
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