I had the worst migraine of my entire lifetime (possibly of any human being’s lifetime) after Dude 3 was born.
He was only just a couple of weeks old and it came on suddenly while I was nursing him.
I thought I was going to die because I thought my head was going to explode, and everyone knows that you die when your head explodes.
I went to the doctor that same day. He checked me over to ensure I wasn’t having a stroke (I wasn’t) and then he gave me some immediate pain relief along with a referral to see a neurologist.
Because my town only has like three neurologists are like the most popular doctors ever, I couldn’t get in to see him for a couple of weeks. When I went for my appointment I remember sitting in the waiting room with my newborn and my toddler, both of them wailing for over an hour. When his nurse finally took me back, he asked me a million questions, did a brief exam while my baby screamed in his car seat, and then he decided that he figured I was probably getting migraines, but he wanted me to schedule an MRI just to be sure.
It was a terrible visit that ended in no real diagnosis.
When I called to schedule it, they informed me that I’d need to stop nursing my baby for 24 hours if I wanted to do it.
I decided that I did not want to do an MRI. I wanted to nurse my baby. And take care of my two year old. And make sure my kindergartener didn’t miss any more school due to new-baby-woes. And never sit in a hot doctor’s office for hours while my children lost their ever loving minds.
Plus, my headache was gone, I didn’t want to have to pump and dump all day, and sleeping sounded way more enticing than dealing with a three hour doctor’s appointment and a newborn who was basically starving because he didn’t take a bottle.
I told the lady at the MRI place I’d call her back. I never did.
Fast forward 6 years and I consider myself an official migraine sufferer.
At least three times a month I clutch my brain in pain and wish away every thing other than my pillow and my blanket and my dark, dark bedroom. I never get to actually clutch anything in a dark room because that’s just not possible while also house running, business running, and kid running full time, but you know, it’s what my body begs for.
Recently, because I am so over this monthly pain fest, I went to the doctor again seeking medical intervention (she gave me a prescription that works mostly). Never having been one who liked taking medication, I asked for a referral to a chiropractor too (some friends said it might help).*
Having someone crack your back and rub your head seems way more holistic than the meds she prescribed with their two page list of potential side effects.
Don’t get me wrong, when my head reaches about-to-explode land, I down those pills, no questions asked. But, I wanted to try something more long term and less chemical-y too.
After getting my referral it took me weeks to actually make the call.
Why? Because I was afraid!
WHAT IF HE PARALYZES ME?!
What? It happens!
Okay, probably it doesn’t very often, but it could.
And I didn’t want it to happen to me.
I asked for confidence on Facebook, I talked to my local friends, I Googled “paralyzed by chiropractor” like 25 times (seriously, never do it).
Finally, after weeks of planning and researching and making excuses, I had my first visit a month ago and I’m happy to report, I remain in full control of all of my extremities. Not paralyzed yet! I walk and talk and use the bathroom just as easily as I could before.
Also, my headaches have gone down, way, way down.
Struggling with pain and thinking of seeing a chiropractor in your hood?
Here are some things to know.
What Does a Chiropractor Do? 5 Things to Know Before You Go
1. It hurts. During and also after. It’s not excruciating (although I have a hip issue he’s working on as well and woohoo, it burrrrrns), but if you have tender spots having someone jam their fingers into them doesn’t feel particularly comforting, at least not at first. If you’ve ever had to go to physical therapy because of an injury, and felt the muscle pain of working on something that isn’t in great shape, that’s kinda what the chiropractor feels like at first, if you’re going to him to address a problem. If you’re going just because you like having your back aligned, probably your experience won’t involve pain of any degree. I’ve noticed that after a particularly hands on visit (back cracking, leg stretching, hip flexing, etc) I usually feel like I had a pretty good workout when I wake up the following day. So, it’s not bad hurt, it’s good hurt!
2. There is a lot of touching. Personally, I am not super comfy with being manhandled manipulated. I get that touching and moving your parts is part of the treatment, but I don’t even enjoy hugs very much, and I have never been someone who gets excited about having a massage. So, when my chiropractor climbs all over me and turns me into a human pretzel with his hands, I get a little sweaty over it.
3. The table is a thing. Like part of your treatment. They use it to bend and stretch and manipulate your body parts. It’s basically a medical device all on its own.
4. Everyone isn’t a candidate for spinal manipulation of the neck region. This is a common treatment for migraine sufferers, but for some people with certain risk factors, there could be complications that make it less safe. I’m one of those people. That doesn’t mean he can’t help me, it just means he has to take a less aggressive approach to my therapy and be more creative. And by creative apparently he means me exercising more.
5. It takes time. My treatment requires me to visit him twice a week right now (he says it will be less in the future). Fortunately I feel better after just a few weeks of treatment, but I’m not healed. My chiropractor uses a bunch of different therapies (heat and tens, spinal manipulation, massage, stretching and exercises) some work more quickly than others, some don’t work at all, and some I will need to continue to do at home well after I graduate from twice a week visits.
Random side notes: 1. Don’t go in a skirt, you have to lay and swing your legs around a bunch, and just, it’s the wrong sort of attire for this venue. Ask me how I know this. 2. When they put the TENS machine sticky pad thingys on you, they’re cold. Prepare yourself so you don’t yelp. 3. If you wear “interesting” shoes that have a unique heel on them, expect to hear about it from your chiropractor even if they are insanely cute. 4. Don’t lie about doing your homework stretches because when they are more aggressive in their manipulation of you, your body will betray you by pooping on the table, or at least wanting to (I did NOT poop on the table, but I can’t say I didn’t kinda want to).
*Just FYI: I also am receiving treatment for sciatica that has been plaguing me since my baby making days, so if you have questions about that, bring ‘em on.