Apparently "We Care" Chiropractics cares more about my money than the pain that I was feeling.
I have never been to a Chiropractor before; in fact you'd have to call me a bit of a Chiropractic skeptic But, I sought a Chiropractor only reluctantly, after having a nagging backache with continuous muscle spasms for more than 2 weeks. I was so stiff that I could barely put on my socks. My family (rightly) got sick of my complaining and told me to "get help - now".
Because I had a similar episode last summer - where I suffered for almost 2 months before I finally went to see my family physician... I was prescribed an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxer... These made me very sleepy and worked only very slowly... I was reluctant to go through this treatment again, so trying a Chiropractor seemed like the obvious alternative.
I asked for recommendations at work, but most none of these met my criteria, so I went to the phone book. Dr Vince took my insurance and offered a coupon for a free evaluation on his web site. As a nice bonus his office was very close to my home, so I figured "What did I have to lose?"
I phoned his office first thing Monday morning and got an immediate appointment... This ease of access kinda concerned me being used to having to argue and negotiate to get an appointment on short notice at my family doctor... But at least it theoretically meant quick treatment and quick relief.
When I got to the office I noticed a nice Porsche Cayenne SUV in the parking lot... uh oh... I guess Chiropractors make the big bucks... (red flag #1) The office was nice and I was asked to fill out personal information, HIPA, and some health questions... pretty much what I expected for a first time visit - except for one question (paraphrasing) "Are you willing to follow all of the doctor's instructions and recommendations regarding your treatment?" Uh... of course... what's the alternative - endless pain, endless disobedience and as a result endless visits and expense? I checked off "yes" with a puzzled expression on my face and a barely audible laugh... (red flag #2)
After I turned in my papers, I was given a pamphlet to read all about Subluxation and the effects of nerve impingement... The pamphlet went on to describe how back care should be treated like dental care with regular check ups and treatment as necessary... although I can see the point of this - I'd love to have a whole body scan every 4-6 months (just to make sure everything's in the right place and working properly) it's not realistic in this society - insurance companies certainly aren't going to put up with this "nonsense"... (red flag #3)...
I was guided back to the examination room by one of Dr Vince's lovely assistants... She told me to have a seat (in a particularly low chair - which hurt my back to get into and out of) and watch a video... She started the tape, told me to open the door once the video ended, and left the room closing the door behind her (Let the brainwashing begin)... I found Dr Vince to be an affable enough person, a little overweight, with a very friendly smile. He popped on the TV and began to reiterate everything in the pamphlet about Subluxation and the importance of regular spinal care I metaphorically felt my wallet being removed from my pocket with every new part of his "spiel". (red flag #4)
After the video I opened the door and the assistant was standing right outside the door ready for the next phase of my indoctrination. First we started with a fun, fin one question quiz just to make sure I'd been paying attention like a good new recruit "Can you explain to me what Subluxation is?" Being as pleasant as I could manage (trying desperately to not roll my eyes), I recited the "facts" of Subluxation I believe I earned the highest possible award for a recruit of my standing, a metaphorical "gold star". The assistant, with the cheer of a kindergarten teacher, praised me for the preciseness of my answer and asked me if I'd study this stuff before (oh goody, she thinks I'm "on board" with the program)
Then we play the 2 scale game As soon as she told me to "step on the scales and not look down", I knew what she was wanted and d**n-it I wasn't gonna give it to her. My assumption was that there would be a difference in how much weight I would put on each foot resulting in an "imbalance" (oh, horror!) The reality of this is that people, when standing, always shift their weight from foot to foot. So, being a skier and skateboarder from my youth I shifted and felt my weight going back and forth between the scales The assistant, informed me that the scales weren't "settling" and told me to step off and try again, this time with my feet slightly further apart. I'd learned what I needed to from my first run and this time I almost perfectly nailed it only 1 pound difference between the scales YES!!!! The assistant did not approve of this result though she said "hmmm" and had a frowny disapproving face, but we had to move on in preparation of my face-to-face meeting with the wizard uh, I mean Dr Vince.
Next the assistant gave me a vision test that was based upon my understanding lack of understanding of optical illusions and the power of suggestion She stood me in front of a full length mirror and came up from behind me, placing her hands on my hips. She then proceeded to stick her pointer fingers out, pointing toward the mirror. She then asked me to "guess" if my hips were "even" (my assumption being that she meant level). Being the disagreeable person that I am I said maybe At this point she took away the metaphorical gold star she given me after the quiz, more frowny faces too Giving me an opportunity to redeem myself, she said "Don't you see how your left hip is higher than your right?" A which point I gently grabbed her left pointer and straightened it and "Not if you bend your finger this way", I said
No reply but for some reason I think she actually liked my defensive tactic
She then pointed asked if I could see that my shoulders weren't level (I could, but being stubborn and sort of enjoying the game, I refused to admit it at this point). Then she placed a finger right below my adams apple and one above my belly button and asked if these points seemed to be aligned (wrong question geometry tells us that any two points define a line (and therefore are aligned) but I let her off the hook on this point). The points actually seemed to be vertically oriented to me, but being uncooperative and resistant to suggestion I claimed that the plaid of my flannel shirt made all parts of my body appear to be in alignment
Once again, no answer I guess I'm gonna have to right the short bus from here on out
For her last question she referred to a poster on the wall with two men on it (Mr. Perfect Posture and Scoliosis Scott). She then asked "Which back is more like yours?" Not being two dimensional, this question was a real poser for me But finally, my disobedient side kicked back in and I claimed that I was more like Mr. Perfect Posture. (This whole interview represented red flag #5)
At this point, because I wasn't seeing reason and because she had run out of questions for me, she had no choice but to call the Principal to give me a talking to She stepped out and 10 seconds later Dr. Vince finally came to see me!!!!!
He asked me about my family. He asked me about my back and how I'd injured it. Then he began to examine my backbone, starting at the base/bottom and asked me if I'd had any problems with this bodily function or that bodily function as he worked his way up This sort of made sense, except for the act that I'd already filled out a survey of these exact issues in the paperwork I'd been asked to fill out when I first arrived If you know what a cold reading is, it felt like a psychic performing a cold reading on me "Does the letter "B" have any significance to you?" "Oh, my god is my Aunt Barbara here from the great beyond?" What he was doing is referencing where various organs make nerve connections into the spinal cord as he worked his way up, so what he was doing made some sense, but it still felt like a TV psychic putting the moves on me.
He then had me repeat the two scale test my previous "best" score of a 1 pound difference was hard to beat. I still managed to get the two scales within 7 pounds of each other. He made no comment as I stepped off He then looked at my shoulders and asked if I could see that these weren't even I admitted that they were a bit off He hadn"t pushed me into my disagreeable mode yet (apparently I reset disagreeable mode every time I meet a new person).
Then he had me lay down on the table. ("Ah, finally we get to some cracking and popping", I thought). WRONG. He then performed a further examination of me, this time of my hips and legs. As he was doing this he asked me if I'd broken a leg Still being somewhat agreeable, I said "yes". He then pointedly asked me, "Which one?" The pointedness of the question got me back into disagreeable mode, so I replied "You tell me which one." no answer. I guess I stumped him (I win" oh I forgot to mention that I'm a hyper competitive person also) (giant red flag #6 I would have preferred a wrong answer to no answer on this one)
He then told me to sit up (whaaaa????) no cracking and popping and pain relieving?
Dr. Vince's face turned all serious and his assistant stood proudly behind him. He informed me that we should get some X-rays to determine the proper course of action. Somewhat worried regarding how far off treatment was, I asked, "Where would I need to go to get these?" Reassuringly, he said, "Right here." Phwew. That was a close one He then proceeded to tell me that I needed to bring my wife in before we could get started. Huh!??!?!?!?!?!? (I need my Mommy's permission to get X-rays and my back "adjusted"???!?!?!) Quite annoyed, I coldly asked "Why?"
Dr. Vince informed me that there were lifestyle changes that "might" need to be made. (uh oh, I'm joining a cult now) There might be certain things that I wouldn't be able to do anymore. (This has pluses and minuses is my wife going to have to mow the lawn now while I watch the "big game" sweet deal OR, does this mean we had to sell our house and all of our worldly possessions?)
The doctor continued the pressure, basically telling me that in order for me to be treated I needed to get my wife in the office The sooner she arrived and we worked out a "treatment" maintenance plan the sooner I'd be out of pain I considered this is subtle (or maybe not that subtle) blackmail
I retorted, telling him that I didn't need my wife involved and that I saw no reason to inconvenience her with what in my opinion was a simple matter, to be addressed by he and I. He persisted (obviously having had this conversation many times before) by saying, "This is the way we do things around here." At this point, I'm simply looking for the way out (with the least financial damage possible) I informed Dr. Vince that I was uncomfortable with this approach and I made a point of reflecting how much pressure he was exerting upon my (unfortunately the pressure did nothing to alleviate my back pain). He finally relented (with a bit of disgust), well if you just want someone to crack you He then asked if I wanted a recommendation for someone else to treat me For whatever reason I called his bluff and said sure Even more disgusted and a bit of a disrespectful chuckle he told his assistant to "give em Dr. Ripley Oh great, I thought
Both assistants scrambled to get a phone book, look up the number, make a call and set me up with another immediate appointment I left the office wondering if I should place a credit fraud alter on my account and call my insurance carry warning them that any charges coming from "We Care" were fraudulent
P.S. Dr Ripley helped me almost immediately and I now understand the benefit of a good Chiropractor