Monday, July 25, 2011

On non-critical medical shit

So I just had Part 2 of my appointment at the chiropractor's office. Part 1 was a lot more fun, what with me getting undressed and rubbed and all, but today's was interesting as well.

I've had issues with lower back pain since I was in high school. I saw a physical therapist for a little while, and I saw a chiropractor for a while, and I had a bone scan done, and an MRI, and some x-rays and stuff, and there was never any apparent reason for my back to hurt the way it did. I kept up with the chiropractor the longest, but really, it didn't make sense for me to pay the $20 copay a week when it only kept it from hurting for a day or so at most. So I've just sort of dealt with it, and have really appreciated massages when they help (deep tissue helps WAY more than Swedish) and have just sort of ignored it as much as I can otherwise. It's not debilitating or anything, so I just try not to think about it more than is necessary.

So the appointment the other day included a consultation with the chiropractor. I've noticed an uptick in the amount of times I've noticed my back aching lately, so I went along with it. The doctor was nice enough. I don't know. He confirmed that I have scoliosis, which I've had since elementary school, and explained how that, plus the way I sit, does all sorts of not-nice stuff to the bones and muscles in my back. He immediately zeroed in on the two places it hurts most, without me specifying, and identified them as "really out of whack."

I definitely want my back to stop hurting, and he said working with stretching, exercise, chiropractics, and massage can do that, mostly. I did like that he didn't promise anything, and that he acknowledged that the scoliosis will mean I'll always be working against some alignment issues. But in the back of my mind, I keep telling myself that I've lived with it for more than ten years, and that every new patient means more cash for this dude.

I know my insurance will cover at least part of the cost, and we have a solid Health Savings Account that would cover any uncovered amount. But I can't make up my mind. I'm supposed to stop at a walk-in imaging clinic tomorrow or Wednesday to get a few x-rays, and I have a follow-up appointment on Thursday to chat about them. If the guy were smarmy, or pushy, or a weirdo, it would be so much easier to just pass. But the idea of laying in bed and not having to flip back and forth because my back aches is a really nice daydream.

What would you do, readers? Spend money on a not-guaranteed fix that includes massages? Or save money and live with constant (very-)low-level pain?


  1. I don't have scoliosis but have some wacky back issues myself. Chiropractic helped me, but I stopped going to the chiropractor when I started going to Bikram yoga, which was like magical back-fixing goodness. I haven't actually been to any yoga in a few years (and veeery rarely practice at home) my back is significantly better than it was before even though I'm in much worse shape.

  2. Is Bikram the hot one? I enjoy yoga, but if Bikram's the hot one, I seriously would have to think long and hard about it. Besides being a giant sissy in general, I succumb to heat exhaustion pretty easily, so I'd have to know that wasn't going to be an issue, I guess. But I bet it's cheaper than a chiropractor!

  3. Um, yeah, it's the hot one. Even those who hate ANY heat do get used to it pretty quickly (my husband), but until that point you certainly feel like you already died and this must be hell. And it's not really cheaper than a chiropractor if you have insurance. Bikram classes run $12-15 per class, and you get the most out of it if you go often (4-7 days a week). Even with all that, if it were available near me now, I would probably take a job just to pay for it. Heat exhaustion is totally an issue though. "Warm" yoga is offered sometimes, but I suppose that your living room probably counts this time of year (my summer has had three 78 degree days and now we're back at 70-74 for awhile with rain - whee!) ... sorry this is a long ramble. Bikram yoga good for some, not so much for others.