Friday, September 30, 2005


I used to be an avid practitioner of the grappling martial arts, primarily Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was my passion, and I wasn’t bad it at it, either. Martial arts grappling in general, like wrestling, is a very rough sport, and my school was particularly tough. Although I never broke any bones or suffered any injuries worse than a black eye (hence the picture in my blog), I did develop upper neck problems that crept up over time.

My neck began giving me problems for the first time in 1999, and I was seriously worried. It hurt to turn my head, and pain would shoot down my arm. Not only could I not grapple, I couldn’t lift weights. One night I woke up to take a leak, and as I walked to the bathroom, I noticed that I didn’t feel the coldness of the floor on my right foot—it was numbed.

I was getting seriously worried. I was in so much pain that it was hard to imagine being pain-free again. I had no insurance. I was in pain and despair. My good friend’s girlfriend at the time, however, worked at a chiropractor clinic and was just beginning to study it herself. She told me to visit the clinic.

The doctor there took pity on me. He suggested we forgo expensive x-rays and offered to give me adjustments at $20 per session. I think I went to see him twice a week for a few weeks. The pain went away, and like an idiot I continued grappling. My mom was very dubious about chiropractic, but I thought the philosophy made sense. I was convinced, naturally, when my pain went away—and relatively quickly, I might add.

Since then, however, I have been very susceptible to getting a stiff neck. I hurt it again in 2000 when I was living in Israel. Luckily a friend of mine had a brother who was an osteopath, which he explained was the British version of a chiropractor. After a few adjustments, I recovered.

Last late summer/early fall I returned to grappling. It was a blast and I was picking up my old skills pretty quickly, but one day I woke up with a pretty stiff neck and decided that I should accept the fact that the long-term risk to my neck—and thus overall health—was not worth the thrill of grappling.

Then, as I blogged recently here, I began getting serious shoulder pain, or sort of pain between the shoulder and neck area. It’s hard to explain. So, on Monday I went to a chiropractor that my friend suggested.

While on the phone with the receptionist, I realized that I was dealing with a different kind of a doctor; the kind of doctor whose primary goal was to heal his patients, not make money. The receptionist said right off that the doctor would want to take x-rays. I asked her how much and she said, “Well, they can be a little expensive, like a little over $100.” Then, without any prompting from me, she said, “Or, if that’s too much, we can do them for $49.”

So, I went in and met the doctor. I explained to him my pain and previous injuries. He gave me four x-rays and then adjusted my neck, back, and shoulder. After that they put electrode thingy’s on my shoulder area and “zapped” me for ten minutes. They said it helps to relieve pain. It felt like a tingle and almost made my muscles twitch. It felt nice. I made an appointment to see them in two days (today).

When I went in today the doctor showed me a little information video explaining my injury: a sublexation in one of the vertebrae of my neck. Then we went over my x-rays. He showed me where the problem lay and then said he found nothing wrong with my shoulder. The pain, he suggested, was actually because of the neck. Long story short: when the vertebrae in your neck slip off course, they can pinch disks and nerves and other tissue and generally wreak a lot of havoc.

For treatment he suggested three adjustments a week for four weeks. Then he told me I could discuss a payment plan with the receptionist. The receptionist was so cool. She asked me what I could afford, and I said, “Well, I don’t know…I’m a student…” and she suggested, “How about $10 per adjustment?” I said, “I can do that!”

So, all four x-rays for $50 dollars total, and only $10 dollars per visit for the next 4 weeks. Not only will I get very affordable treatment for my injury, but it will not eat a hole in my wallet.

What a good, good man. Thank god for people like him.


Blogger airforcewife said...

That's awesome!

I first visited a chiropractor when I was pregnant with #4 and he (11 pounds when born) popped my hips out of place.

I lucked out and my midwife sent me to a guy like the one you found, right off the bat. Best 30$ I've ever spent...

7:25 PM  
Blogger semite1973 said...

Cool. I'm going to see him soon. My neck feels better. I can move it all around it doesn't hurt and is less stiff. The shoulder still hurts, but it feels now like it's the muscle, not the bones. We'll see... it is a little better.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Ben said...

Hey, I'm going to study in Israel soon, looking for places to train. Know of any Jiu Jitsu schools in Jerusalem? I heard there is a guy in Tel Aviv.

7:42 AM  
Blogger orie said...

great story

6:03 PM  

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