Back Crunch

Mixed day… annoying, but I guess it’s a funny story so the irritation factor of it will die down over time.

Back pain continued this morning as I went to the school. I limped around the staff room and tried to finish the marking I had to get done. I figured if I was stuck at the school during exam week I might as well make the most of it. By late morning the back pain was causing me to seize up pretty bad, so I jetted home and decided to head east on Eglinton looking for a chiropractor.

A bit of background: After getting in a nasty car accident back in college days, my spine and muscles have never really been the same. After I started teaching in Calgary I ended up throwing out my back so severely that I was stuck in bed with limited mobility for three days straight. My girlfriend at the time recommended a chiropractor, but I was too scared to try it. Over a year later I threw it out again and when I went to a chiropractor I limped in the door and walked out much better 20 minutes later. So, while not all chiropractors may be good, some can be a real godsend.

Nowadays my back tends to stiffen up or go out when I’m stressed or if I do something stupid (like dance a little too heavily while drinking, like on Saturday).


I end up going into a chiropractic place just down the street. The sign on the front talks about all sorts of different things offered, but the chiropractic words jump out and I want some damn pain relief. In his waiting room he has a photo autographed by Burt Reynolds praising him for his skills, that’s gotta be a good sign :). When the gent finally takes me, I slowly realize I’m not at an actual chiropractor’s… it’s a bullshit clinic. Allow me to illuminate…

This guy tells me to stand straight. He pokes at my legs for a few seconds, pokes at my back through my shirt, rubs my tummy a bit and then explains that my ankles and feet are displaced. He recommends that I get special custom made insoles that will instantly improve my posture and back problems. Cocking an eyebrow, I ask him how much.

“$300. I can take an impression of your feet right now and have them sent off for you.”

“Um, let’s just focus on the back right now and I’ll come back if I need to for insoles.”

He looks at me sly.

“Oh, are you worried about the price? That was just assuming your insurance is covering this. If it’s your own money I’d only charge you $200.00.”

Okay, so now you want to rook my insurance company out of $100, because obviously you’re not losing money at the $200 level. What a great start.

I delay the option until another visit (which at this point I’m doubting will ever happen). Then I lie stomach down on the chiropractic bench and he tells me he’ll be using noninvasive chiropractics. He tells me it involves very little pressure or adjustments, unlike standard chiropractics.

“Okaaaaaay….” I say.

He proceeds to run his hand along my spine gently. Far too gentle… like some kind of limp noodle. “Little pressure” apparently means “absolutely none whatsoever”. He puts on a soundtrack of atmospheric wind through the tress and birds chirping shit and thumbs uselessly at my spine for a good 5 minutes. I’m not fucking kidding. Occasional taps at my neck and lower back, no pressure, just the occasional touch and moving back and forth. You could barely push a piece of bread with this kind of pressure, let alone adjust my posture or muscles.

Then he gets out an ultrasound machine that looks like it was built during the Great Depression and runs the cold thing along my spine. Okay, ultrasound is for getting images of internal stuff. Any idiot knows that. It’s not hooked up to anything, he’s just shooting lame ass sound waves at my spine for the fuck of it. Even worse my shirt isn’t even off, so it’s completely useless. This guy’s an idiot.

I don’t know why I didn’t leave right there and then. Maybe I have this sick internal moron barometer and I wanted to know how much more idiotic it could get. It’s hard for me to understand, even now.

So he goes to get the “laser”, telling me that he’ll be able to repair the torn tissue and promote better circulation by shooting my back with a “laser”. What the fuck? Okay, lets see this thing.

He brings in a white tube with a red light on it. I’m not kidding. He shows me that it doesn’t do any harm by running the red light up and down his arm a few times as a demonstration.

Let me get this straight…

If it doesn’t do anything to your arm, doesn’t do anything to the tissues or muscles or anything, why would it do ANYTHING to my spine? This is unbelievable. I’m waiting for him to tell me he’s kidding, but he’s not. He runs this laser over my back seemingly at random, focusing at times where I feel the pain. Now I just want out of here.

He finishes up and tells me I need to see him tomorrow to continue the treatment. I’m obviously in a lot of pain and he wants to help. He explains that he has all sorts of different alternate medicine titles that he can use to defray the cost to my insurance and make sure “I don’t get screwed” by them. Right.

Paying the initial examination fee, I curse myself for actual paying because of my embarrassment and inability to tell this guy off and just leave. Heading further down the street I found a real goddamn chiropractor who adjusted my spine in 25 minutes for half the cost of the first guy and I walked out of the clinic feeling human. I’m not perfect, but the pain is about 80% less than it was this morning. That’s what I wanted, a goddamn good spine crunching not some touchy, sound wave shootin’ laser horseshit.

Yeesh. Burt Reynolds has bad fucking taste in medical practitioners.

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