Hey everybody. I just had my first visit to see Dr. King at King Chiropractic and want to tell you how it went. It wasn’t just my first visit to King Chiropractic, it was also my first visit to see a chiropractor at all.
I’ve known since I was a kid that I have a mild form of scoliosis and kyphosis. This means that my spine curves a little bit front to back and also side to side. It’s not a big deal. Most people don’t even notice it. But it has still caused its share of back pain over the years.
Anytime I’m on my feet for more than an hour or so, I can definitely feel the familiar ache and sense of pressure on my spine in my mid-back.
I have family members that are big advocates for chiropractic care. My girlfriend has been going to a chiropractor for 4 years. But I’ve never been as sold as they have, largely because as I just said, my girlfriend has been going for 4 YEARS.
The once-you-start-you-can’t-stop part of chiropractic care has always bothered me. Was it really necessary?
I mean who doesn’t like to have their back popped? I get the appeal. It just didn’t seem like something where you’d want to buy the lifelong monthly plan. And beyond that, I was skeptical. Besides what my family says about chiropractors, literally everything I thought about chiropractors could be summed up in this short Eddie Izzard comedy bit.
Then I met Dr. King. I told him about my scoliosis and he asked me to come in for a visit. Okay. Why not? I was curious how accurate Eddie Izzard’s got it.
My visit lasted about 45 minutes. I showed up early to fill out paperwork. And weirdly enough (at least to me) most of the questions were closer to real medical questions than what I thought a chiropractor might ask. I was prepared for “Circle on the body where you want me to crack your bones”. Instead I get a full page of three columns of possible ailments and problems that chiropractic care can treat.
Fair warning to all the fellas: they don’t treat baldness. 🙁
For me, it was straight-forward: I’m there because my back hurts after activity due to a spine that’s bent a bit wrong.
While I filled out the paperwork, I thought about what would happen. It came down to four things:
1. He was going to take x-rays.
2. He was going to crack my bones
3. He was going to give me a foam roller or some other rehab tool to use
4. I was going to get homework
For the most part, I was totally wrong.
First, there were no x-rays. Why? They weren’t necessary.
Next, he told me something that made a lot of sense, but that I had not heard before. With scoliosis, he said, we don’t really treat the curvature. Instead, we see what the scoliosis has done to various muscle groups and then we treat those specific issues. I thought this sounded really smart. After all, it’s not the spine that hurts, it’s the muscles that are continually tense and taught as a result.
After talking through my issue, Dr. King had me go through an easy movement assessment. I had to cross my arms across my chest while sitting on the table. Standing behind me, he bent me from side to side and rotated parts of my upper body to see how flexible I was and where I had a limited range of motion.
When he’d find a spot, he’d make a note. Afterward, I had to lay down on the table and he did much the same thing with my legs, checking for limitations in range of motion.
Then, wait for it, he cracked my bones.
To be fair, saying “crack my bones” isn’t accurate. He’s not cracking my bones. He’s unlocking a joint. The joint “cavitates”, which is to say that a little bubble of CO2 that’s trapped in the joint pops when the joint is moved. It’s the same thing that happens when you pop your knuckles.
The point of the movements isn’t to hear the cracking sound. That’s why sometimes you don’t hear it. Or you hear it early. More than once, my body would pop while he was adjusting me into a position to unlock the joint. The actual unlocking didn’t produce a noise. But it still felt good.
What I wasn’t prepared for, and I guess I can see why people love this part, is the endorphin rush. When the joint gets unlocked, endorphins are released at neurological pathways are stimulated. The result is that it feels like more of your body is coming online. In my case, I felt like I could feel more individual muscles on my back than before.
This is also due to what came next.
Dr. King grabbed a small tool known as a , it looked like a wax comb for a surfboard without the comb part. Picture a smooth one of those and you roughly have an idea of what he was holding. Its job is to breakup micro scar tissue that’s connecting one muscle to the next. As he worked on the tense side of my back, the other side started getting more tense. I didn’t expect this. I could feel in real time one side of my back relax and the other have to be responsible for the effort the first side was giving up.
And that was basically it. No exercise tools. No homework.
Dr. King also made a point to explain to me that he’s not looking for lifetime clients. He wants to identify a problem and treat it. He believes in using the exercise tools and in giving homework when it’s necessary. Everybody needs treatment that is specific to them. The ultimate goal is to get better and to get on with life. And that’s a philosophy that resonates with me.
As I was leaving he told me to ice down my back to speed up healing from breaking down the scar tissue. On that point, he was 100% correct. For the rest of the evening, it felt like I had a sunburn. There’s a little bruising today, but nothing too bad. It doesn’t hurt or bother me.
Does my back feel better today, after a night of sleep, than it did before my visit? It’s a little hard to tell, but I think so. “Better” might not be the right word. I would describe it as feeling more awake. There’s something to the neurological pathways thing. I’m interested to see how future care continues to affect me in that way.
When I left King Chiropractic, I was definitely in a better mood. Endorphins are a real thing. And who doesn’t like to feel good?
I learned a lot from that first visit about chiropractic care. I learned that Dr. King knows a lot about how the body moves. He can dial in on an issue quickly and develops a very logical and reasonable plan to fix it. I was a bit of a skeptic before, you might say, but I’m really interested to see where this goes.
I’m going to keep updating my story about seeing Dr. King at King Chiropractic over the next several weeks. We’ll see together how regular chiropractic care aids in pain relief stemming from scoliosis.