I was older than average when I started graduate school, one month before I turned 30. So I thought it was just stress when the headaches started. And I was guilty of poor posture, late night parties, not the best nutrition, slacking off on my exercise program, gaining a few pounds – all those things that just happen when you're over 30 and busy with life. My back hurt, my neck hurt, and my head hurt a little more and a little longer day by day.
I tried a massage, but the therapist could barely touch me. My muscles were so tense that I screamed and jumped too much. “You need more than a massage,” she told me. “I want to refer you to a chiropractor.”
The chiropractor wanted to know whether I had been injured in a car wreck or similar accident. No, not that I could remember. But that one adjustment she did to my neck, when she jerked my head sideways – that scared the heck out of me, week after week, even though it didn't hurt. Then I figured it out. That was how my neck felt when I landed on my head doing a back flip in gymnastics, back in college. It happened so long ago that I completely forgot.
I thought pain management clinics were places where you got the serious drugs after you jumped through a lot of hoops. I didn't know the problem could be fixed. So I spent 20 years trying chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, stretching, yoga, ice packs, heat, menthol creams, capsaicin, and pain-killing drugs. They all helped a little, but the relief was only temporary.
Finally, I looked up “pain management” in the phone book and chose a clinic nearby. I was amazed to find there are microsurgical procedures to treat pain from these long-forgotten injuries. Why didn't somebody tell me before? My new doctor explained that the nerves in my neck were getting irritated from the old injury. He injected cortisone directly into several of them. Relief! For the worst cases, he went back and killed the nerves with a hot needle. So now I have a small area of numbness on the back of my neck. No more migraines. With physical therapy, my neck and back are feeling much better as well.
That one massage therapist who referred me to the chiropractor was the only health care provider to make such a referral. Everyone else told me what I needed was what they knew how to do. And if their treatment didn't work, they said I just needed more of it.
I learned to do my own research. Surgical procedures get much less public attention than drugs and over-the-counter remedies. But in my case, a few simple procedures corrected the problem at its source. This is much better, to me, than long-term treatment of the symptoms.
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.