Archived Issue - PRAKTIKOS Summer Solstice, 2006

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
    – Alan Kay, inventor

Why We Do What We Do And Why It Works So Well

As Jackie lay in the emergency room she could not believe haw fast it had all gone bad. Just the morning before she had been excitedly opening up her family's place on the private water skiing lake for the coming summer.

The weather was great, the water was smooth and their next-door neighbors had just invited her to take a quick lap around the lake. But first she just needed to finish vacuuming behind that rocking chair. She bent over and forward to move the heavy piece of furniture and felt her back give way.

The pain was immediate and sharply searing. It reminded her of the pain she had experienced years before that had lead to her back surgery for a blown disc. She knew that there would be no water skiing today and feared that there might be no more water skiing ever.

She had dealt with this kind of thing before so she knew what to do. Ice and anti-inflammatory drugs, which had been effective in the past, did nothing to help. She could not sit or stand or walk and the pain just kept growing.

That night she could not sleep so the next day she and her husband Gary were off to the emergency room looking for help, any kind of help. After a series of tests and diagnostic imaging studies they gave her shots of painkillers and even stronger anti-inflammatory drugs.

They went home with three prescriptions for the standard medications given for this kind of extreme muscle and nerve pain and the unnerving prognosis that there was little to be done but ride it out for the next six weeks while her body tried to heal itself.

Monday morning as we arrived at the office there was a desperate call on the answering machine for an appointment if there were any cancellations. The drugs had helped a little bit but they made her so drowsy and groggy that she had not taken them that morning for fear that she would have a car wreck on the way into work.

Now Jackie is the head of an accounting department for a large local firm and there was no way that she could just not show up for work. Things had to be done and she was the only one who could do it. There was no option.

A typical chiropractic office using old-school high velocity techniques would have been in a real quandary. Her pain was off the scale, her ability to move was almost nil, and she had the further complication of that old disc surgery to add to the difficulties.

It would have been impossible to roll her up on one side, twist her up like a pretzel and "pop" her low back by dropping the doctor’s weight on her knee while pushing back on her shoulder.

Luckily, we are not old school here at Dr. Borman and Associates P.C. We practice the chiropractic of the future that uses no fast or sharp motions to move an injured spine so we were able to immediately begin easing her pain and fear.

It took a little while and some work just to get her down on the adjusting table that morning but once she was in place it immediately became obvious what her problem was. There had been a severe slippage of the sacroiliac joints. That was where her pain was and that was where the solution lay.

We slipped the small triangular blocks under her pelvis in such a way as to slowly and gently begin moving the pelvic bones back into place and to stretch out the spasming muscles. In this position her pain immediately began to subside.

This slipping of the large pelvic bones is not only very painful, but extremely common as well. The internal architecture of the SI joints consists of a series of interlocking nubbins that normally hold the joint in correct position. But once the joint is sprained like Jackie did that fateful Saturday, those same nubbins act to hold the joint out of position.

The spine sits upon the pelvis like a building sits upon a foundation. Both types of structures depend upon the underlying foundation to be stable and level. When the SI joints slip out of place and then lock into a bad position, the pelvic foundation becomes unlevel and the entire spine suffers.

In the early stages of this condition there is horrible low back pain that can affect the low back and perhaps shoot down into the hip or leg. If the pelvic problem is ignored and the patient takes drugs to treat only the symptoms, the joints will stabilize in this abnormal position.

Unfortunately, if left uncorrected in the pelvic foundation the body will begin building a series of compensatory curvatures, called scoliosis, in the upper spine. These curvatures will eventually aggravate the nerves of the upper spine and cause muscle spasm and pain far removed from the site of the original injury.

Thus, when we see a new patient with shoulder pain or headaches or hands that fall asleep or chest pain or neck pain or any symptoms that seemingly came from nowhere and will not resolve...... we check the pelvis and the SI joints for problems.

In our view, any pelvic unleveling must be addressed before attempting to fix the mid-back or neck related problems. The failure to tackle these problems in a logical sequential order is responsible for many a continuing nightmare.

So back to Jackie who is now lying comfortably on our adjusting table just taking her first breaths without pain. We need to find a quick and easy way to relax and clean out her muscles which have become exhausted and filled with irritating lactic acid from their recent spasm.

You see, muscles move bones. This is to say that if we do not address the muscle problems and spasm these very muscles will pull her pelvis right back to the wrong place.

To this end we use ultrasound because it quickly cleans and relaxes even deep muscles without any pain. Ultrasound feels like a gentle circular massage but it our secret weapon. The machine compresses and decompresses the muscle tissue strongly one million vibrations every second.

These vibrations push swelling and lactic acid out of the muscles via the lymphatic system, thereby jump-starting the healing process. Sure we could just do massage but ultrasound feels better and works faster and more deeply.

When it was time to get Jackie up off the table we strapped an ice pack around her waist and centered it over her SI joints to keep her pain at bay and stabilize the joint in its new position by keeping the internal nubbins interlocked.

She was instructed in simple positions that would prevent her from reinjuring the joints. We also told her to walk because the muscular movement pumps the lymphatic system and reinforces the effects of ultrasound in cleaning out the affected muscles.

She returned the next day and every day that week for more of the same gentle, effective therapy to insure complete healing because she had a goal. You see, Jackie is a grandmother of four who was about to turn 60 years old and she wanted to waterski again on her birthday.

And do you know what?.... She did! Just one month after her injury and trip to the E.R., she skied again. Not just one time but four days in a row she was able to do her favorite things: waterski and teach her grandchildren to ski.