Full recovery after muscle manipulation

Theodore, USA - theodorepride@gmail.com

Posted 2013-12-29

First, some history. I am 34, have fairly severe scoliosis, and back about a decade ago, had a spinal fusion done to reduce the curvature from close to 90 degrees to more like 50. I also have a right leg that's a bit shorter than the left, so standing for more than 20-30 minutes is painful, plus of course I have reduced lung capacity from the scoliosis. Normally mostly pain-free, but I use a wheelchair when I go out, primarily as a mobile chair with good back support. I can walk just fine for short distances.

Anyway, I was at the St. Louis World Aquarium, taking a tour, when my wheelchair started rolling backwards down an incline. I'm still not 100% sure what happened, but I think I grabbed the wheels to stop myself, in case there was someone behind me, and momentum plus a too-high center of gravity caused my wheelchair to tip over and my head to smash into the ground. I didn't pass out, but the pain was pretty darn bad and I got dizzy and nauseous and lost hearing partially on one side. After a brief trip to the emergency room, I spent virtually all of the next four days lying in bed, since sitting up caused horrible headaches and a lot of dizziness. Eventually the headaches reduced to the point where I could start sitting up again and working, and that's when the tailbone-area pain began. It wasn't too bad for the first few hours, but after the second day it was agonizing, to the point where I was taking a few ibuprofen every day and it only took the edge off. I couldn't concentrate while sitting up for more than 20-30 minutes, and even that took a lot of willpower.

Pain presented when sitting up, standing up, sitting down, but not much while walking or lying down. There was a pulling sensation towards the back of my left buttocks when I did anything involving the slightest amount of leaning forwards, as well as a lot of pain. Sitting on pillows didn't seem to help at all, and I tried all sorts of different configurations.

Ibuprofen did help a bit, but long-term use has a number of side effects, including constipation (I noticed some of that, though I was taking only 2-3 pills per day, vs max recommended dose of 6) and stomach ulcers. Obviously not a permanent solution.

Anyway, I visited the local chiropractor a few times, and she did some hip adjustment and so on (I have scoliosis, see above) but nothing that seemed to help substantially. Had some x-rays taken, nothing seemed fractured or seriously out of place, for me anyway. Was going to try internal manipulation of the tailbone, after reading a bunch of success stories on this site, but my parents had an appointment with a different chiro, one who specialized in muscle manipulation, so they decided to take me along and see if he could do anything.

After a bunch of questions and experimental movements to find out what hurt the most (fun!), he diagnosed the problem as being the large muscle connecting the tailbone to the left side of the pelvis or sacrum or something of that sort. Apparently I bruised it when I fell, and just didn't notice immediately because I had splitting headaches and wasn't sitting up. Anyway, his solution was to stretch out the muscle and others in the area, and really dig in with his thumb to break up muscle adhesions (clumps, scar tissue). He had me ice 3-4 times per day (gel ice packs were way better, no hard blocks of ice to sit / lie on), stretch by pulling my left knee towards my chest when lying flat (was already doing that on my own to try to increase range of motion), and come visit him every 2-3 days. After about 5 or 6 sessions the pain was more or less gone and I phased out the ibuprofen, and after another week or two without sessions I'm pain-free, as long as I limit myself to 4-6 hours per day. The number of hours I can sit up without pain will increase over time, I'm sure.

Note - one side factor that might have sped things up is me starting to take natural anti-inflammatories a couple weeks before I started treatment with the second chiro. Cod liver oil (3000 mg daily), krill oil (1000 mg), and curcumin (600 mg). They take a couple weeks to build up in your system before kicking in, but supposedly have the same anti-inflammatory effect after that as high doses of ibuprofen (generic form of Advil), only without the side effects. I had already been taking cod liver oil for a couple years, albeit in smaller doses, and noticed a big improvement in my right ankle and knee, which had been tending towards arthritis due to most of my weight being on that leg when standing in one place.

Anyway, if you have questions about any of this, feel free to email. I really don't want anyone else suffering with this level of pain to have to keep suffering.

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