Wednesday, January 18, 2017

My Chiropractor Visit

I'm almost 76 years old and I've never visited a chiropractor.   That is until Friday, January 13th, 2017.  Dr. Shane Hancock at Hancock Family Chiropractic.  And a genuinely nice guy.

I didn't set out to become a patient but my Sweetie has been having some serious and unrelenting pain due to a fall a few months ago.  She visited an orthopedic doctor we know and he diagnosed it as an inflammation in L-4 of her back.  He recommended some exercises and ice packs which she religiously does.  At least he didn't suggest back surgery or even epidurals to get the pain relief she needs.

Weeks later, the pain continued, and on some days she was in agony.  So in desperation, she called for an appointment with a chiropractor our neighbor recommended.  His office was nearby and he takes Medicare, so she went there by herself.  And she came home feeling better, both physically and emotionally.

Needless to say, I decided to go meet this guy who made her life better.  So on her follow-up visit a few days later, I watched and listened closely to what he was doing and saying.  It all seemed to make perfect sense, that something in her was not exactly where it should be in order to align perfectly with the rest of her body.  A few snaps, or as he referred to them "alignments" or "adjustments."  It was all very fast and she was smiling even more than before.  The pain was clearly gone or going away.  She was comfortable and definitely more relaxed than just a few days before she visited him.

She asked me if I might want to schedule an appointment to see if he could help me with some of the pains I've been suffering for years.  I said yes and after some paperwork and discussion, he had me on the table.  He performed a few (three or four) alignments.  There were some clearly noticeable 'snaps' or 'pops' sounds.  But no pain.  And he was through.

I didn't immediately notice any difference in anything but I felt like something good had happened. He wanted to see me again the following Tuesday and I was eager to be there.

Meanwhile, I spent much of the weekend reading about chiropractic, including watching a number of videos of patients actually being treated.  It was an eye-opening experience.  I could easily see that many of my lifetime collection of painful events could probably have been successfully and more quickly treated than whatever method I decided to use.

On Tuesday, (yesterday) I was back for my follow-up visit with our newly discovered chiropractor. Judy was also there for her follow-up visit.

We actually spent more time talking than being ‘popped’ back into alignment.  The reason for all the talk, mostly questions, was because I had been spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos of chiropractors treating patients for a wide range of conditions, including some I would never thought to be ‘body-alignment’ related.  Like acid reflux problems (which I don’t have), and cramps/tingling/burning/stabbing-pain problems with my feet, along with restless-legs, mostly when I lie down in bed (which I do have).

After actually seeing Judy’s instant return to mobility-without-pain, I’m thinking chiropractors can fix a lot of problems that conventional medicine cannot.

Oddly, when I mentioned the problem I have with cramps/tingling/burning/stabbing-pain problems with my feet, and restless-legs, he didn’t jump with joy that he just hit the “Magic Money Button” for expensive treatment to correct my problem.  Instead, he just said, “Take magnesium supplement pills.”  Yes, that's it, and he went on to explain why.  And that led into a discussion about the Centrum supplement vitamins we’ve been taking for years, to which he explained that we were throwing our money away.  He said told us to take a Centrum pill and put it in a cup of vinegar and see what happens.  He had our curiosity up, so he went on to explain that even a couple of days later you can still read the name Centrum on the side of the pill.  And that’s in spite of the vinegar’s acidity being stronger than our stomach’s acidity.  That means the pill can easily go through our body without even being dissolved and absorbed.  He said the pills can actually be so clear in X-rays that they can sometimes read the name on the pill.  Thus, no value whatsoever to us. 

So needless to say, we stopped at a health-pill store on the way home and had yet another interesting conversation with the store manager about the products they sell.  She agreed about the Centrum pills, and said they call them ‘bedpan bullets’.  Realizing that much of it is hype and some may or may not work with certain people for all problems, we still came home with $30 worth of pills.

But not one to intake anything without first reading up on it, I looked up possible side effects and conflicts with me taking Magnesium, and sure enough I should not take it because it will diminish the effects of the thyroid pills that I take daily.  So no Magnesium supplements for me.  

But Judy being Judy, she emailed my regular doctor to ask him if I could take the Magnesium.  She soon received an email reply that I could take them for up to ten days.  Great!  It takes about that long for them to start taking affect.  I just can’t take them at the same time as the thyroid pills.  We’ll see if they work or not.  If they do work there still may be a way I can take them without reducing the effects of the thyroid pills.  Or maybe a ‘buffered’ version may work.  Or maybe something else altogether.  Worth a try.

Sometimes ‘Medical Ignorance’ is a good thing, but in the last few years I’m starting to realize that many of my ‘self-diagnosis’s’ and ‘over-the-counter’ treatments were totally wrong.  I was just wasting time and money, and quite possibly making things worse.  

Thanks to the Internet, I can not only look up symptoms, I can respond accordingly, including knowing what to say or ask when describing my condition to a doctor.  “I hurt!” is no longer a definitive statement when my doctor asks why I’m there.  I want to be able to tell him where and how it hurts.  I want to tell him I’ve taken Tylenol for it and it works or not, or that I’ve experienced something recently, seemingly unrelated, that could or could not be a factor.

But what really ticks me off is that I’m just now learning all this stuff when I’m on the down-side of the mountain of life.  At least I’m becoming a bit more proactive in it.

This morning Judy is up and feeling great.  So the chiropractor definitely did good for her.  I’m still undecided on me.  I don't want to say it's working for me until I absolutely know that it's working for me.  But it was worth the try and the learning experience is and will be invaluable.

We go back in a couple of days.  By then I should know if it's good for me.

Update:  It is now 2-5-17 and I haven't been back.  After three treatments, he and I both agreed that he can't fix my tingling/cramping/burning sensations in my feet, but he suggested I take Magnesium supplements.  I purchased some but I know to check with my doctor first about taking any kind of supplements or medicines, prescription or over-the-counter.  He said I could take the Magnesium pills for up to 10 days but that's it. Magnesium reduces and counters the affects of my thyroid medication.
So I tried the Magnesium for 10 days and I really couldn't tell if it helped or not.  Although I didn't have any serious spasms or cramping/burning events, the tingling was still there.  So I opted to remain off the Magnesium rather than risk causing more thyroid problems.  The thyroid can be a serious problem if its not functioning right, with or without pills.

As for Judy, she also finished her last treatment with him.  She is very happy with the treatments he gave her.  Although she isn't all the way back to normal, her leg/hip is no longer a serious and painful problem like she was before seeing him.

Another update: 2-13-17  During Judy's visit last week she mentioned to the chiropractor that my back really hurts.  She told him that I keep saying it started after my last visit when he did something to my back.  I initially said I didn't want to have any more adjustments but he explained that the symptoms suggest that my hip is out of alignment.  He convinced me to have another adjustment to see if it would help.  He used the drop table and pushed hard in the middle of my back.  Although I didn't hear or feel any shift in my bones, he said that treatment should take care of it.  And to return on Monday (today) to see if it helped.  I'll be there later this morning, but in the meantime we purchased another Select Comfort Number's Bed to replace our old Select Comfort Numbers Bed which we thought may be a contributing factor to my back pain.  I feel somewhat better but I'm not sure whether it is due to the 'adjustment' or our new bed.  I'll know more in about three hours.

Saturday, January 07, 2017


One of the nice things about living in the South is that extremely cold weather is a rarity.  Here in Spring Texas, we didn't even get below freezing last Winter.

But last night, it got cold. really cold.

I haven't been outside to check the pipes yet, but I took the precaution of letting them trickle all night hoping that would keep them from freezing in the predicted "27°" weather.  

The problem is, their prediction missed by a mile because this morning we woke to what is probably record-breaking low temperatures:

I'll update this later but right now I'm just thankful to have a warm house and toilets that flush.

Monday, January 02, 2017

The 2017 Diet/Exercise Program/Effort

Two words in the English language are absolutely hated by some of us.  That would include me.

The first word, and most hated of all, 'Diet' actually starts out as 'Die' and someone long ago forgot to add the hyphen before the 't,' which I believe was an abbreviation for 'tomorrow.'  The tomorrow was put in there as sort of a grace period just in case you came to your senses.

The second word, 'Exercise' is just another word for 'voluntary punishment' for something that humans are programmed to do by those who compete in sporting events or sell exercise equipment, or by doctors and pain-pill companies who probably make more money off you by treating your aches and pains from, guess what - Exercise...

I think the funeral industry is in on it too.  As near as I can tell, everyone, whether they exercise or not, will die (see paragraph above about the Diet/Die connection).  The funeral home will eventually get you, but may get you sooner if you exercise yourself to death.

Think about it - how many other Planet Earth animals voluntarily exercise?  Take your time, and you still won't be able to name a single one that ordered a gym set from Amazon, or built a wing in their hole-in-the-ground for exercise equipment.

No, we humans are the only ones who eat so much, drink so much, sit on our ass so much, smoke so much, and generally do too much of nothing to stop ourselves from becoming overly fat and underly fit.  I know, I'm one of 'em!

So on December 31st 2016 I decided to employ those two words, Diet and Exercise, in my life, but with a bit of caution.  Too much could kill me and not enough may also kill me.  So 'how much' of each had to be just right.

Come Sunday morning, January 1st, 2017, I climbed aboard my treadmill and took a little stroll.  I set no goals and no limits.  In route to nowhere, I decided at the 3/4 mile point that I should stop.  I had set a pace of 96 steps per minute and it took 27 minutes to reach 3/4 mile, which meant that I had racked up 2,592 steps under controlled conditions.  The recommended number of steps per day is 10,000 but that's if you really give a rat's ass about being in 'perfect' condition.  I just want to feel a little better. So I'm fine with the 2,592 steps, plus any additional steps I accumulate going between the refrigerator and my recliner.  Well, it's a start...

But wait, I also dusted off my Total Gym and set it up in the garage and did 100 reps each of 6 different sets of exercises to make my legs, arms and gut better.

And I did the same thing again today just for good measure.  And I plan to do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next day.......

Is it working?  Well, I'm down 4.8 pounds from when I started yesterday.  And I ache all over.  And I feel good about it.  So yeah, I think it's working.  We'll know for sure in a few weeks.

1-9-17 It's still working.  As of today I'm down 7.8 pounds.  Feel better too.
Here's a breakdown of my daily exercise/BP/Blood Glucose/Weight (I'm not diabetic) steps:

                  115/57             68              291.6°°®
                  Blood Glucose Before Breakfast 99
                  Treadmill      .75 miles @ 2.3 mph
                   2.5° incline   101 Steps Per Min
                100 Reps of 10 lb arm curls
                100 Reps of 6 Sets on Total Gym (legs and arms)