I love my chiro, but…

Source: wellcome.ac.uk

… sometimes they make me nuts. Like when they start talking about me being “stuck” as though it’s an emotional issue, or there’s some deep-seated drama that’s broiling just beneath the surface of my psyche that needs to be exorcised, in order for my back to be flexible.

Ugh. Good gaawd.

I suppose it couldn’t possibly be all the falls I’ve experienced over the course of my life, or the cumulative effects of having had to keep myself ramrod straight, to keep from falling over, those many, many, many times I’ve been so dizzy, I didn’t know what to do.

Don’t get me wrong. My chiro has helped me immensely, and I credit them with helping me along the path to an amazing recovery from multiple traumatic brain injuries. The constant headaches that I had for years… gone. The difficulties with turning my head and back… pretty much gone, too. And I’ve had this amazing energy and sense of well-being that is almost unprecedented.

Now, I have had plenty of times where I felt energetic and truly well. But since I started seeing this chiropractor, my level of wellness, not to mention the duration of my sense of well-being, has jumped way up.

And that’s good.

I just wish they’d knock off the talk about mind-body connections that makes the mind and the psyche into the Master Controller of the body.

Lately, I’ve been increasingly sensitive to this mind-body orientation (which a lot of my friends have) that the body is an outward expression of what is going on inside you. There’s this “meme” that runs through my social circle that dictates “a strong body indicates a strong mind” and which equates physical illness with psycho-spiritual imbalances — or “dis-ease”. It’s kind of arbitrary and heady, and it seems to tie in with a modern American version of the “everything is an illusion” school of thought.  It’s like folks believe that if your mind and spirit are well, then you won’t “manifest” any outward difficulties. As though physical pain and issues are “lessons” we concoct for ourselves to teach us what we need to know… and when you’re psycho-spiritually “fit” and you know everything you’re supposed to, you won’t experience any bodily pains or aggravations or stiff back or whatever other physical dis-ease seems to correlate with an inner problem.

I wish to high heaven people in the healthcare/caring professions would have compulsory traumatic brain injury training (ahem – that’s standardized and based on fact and the latest research, not all that blather that passes for neuroscience that we’ve been belabored with for the past 50 years or so). Seriously. How many people have concussions every year —  let alone full-on traumatic brain injuries — and how many doctors and nurses deal with them each and every day? It’s just crazy, that we have this all-pervasive health care phenomenon (I won’t say “crisis” as the word is way too over-used), which touches countless lives — millions upon millions of people each year. But nobody can seem to get a clue as to how brain injury “works” or what the right thing to do about it is.

It makes no logical sense to me. Maybe it’s all of my own head injuries that make me so idealistic and make me crave a common-sense solution to a vast and lives-altering part of our culture — even our whole world. Maybe it’s my broken brain that thinks this should be a no-brainer. People, it’s serious. It’s a priority. It’s important. Get it?

But no…  instead, we have a health care system crammed full of people who are so busy prescribing drugs and procedures, that they can’t see what’s right in front of them. We’ve got alternative health care providers who are getting farther and farther out in left field, looking for some guru-defined explanation for why we’re all so screwed up and can’t seem to get any better.

Good grief. And now I hear my chiro talking somberly to me about my back being “terribly stuck” and needing to get some relief — as though this stiff back of mine were a terrible torture I can’t even begin to endure… and it’s due to some hidden wound that I haven’t faced up to yet.

Hidden wound… yeah — how ’bout nine of them? As in, concussions. Have I got wounds for you! But in all seriousness, framing my difficulties as some sort of psycho-spiritual phenomenon isn’t going to help me through the logistics of my days. It’s not going to help me remember to shampoo my hair in the morning, or put my socks where I can find them (I wore my driving Tevas all day at work today, because I forgot one of my shoes in the car, and after I went out to get it, then I couldn’t remember where I put my socks). It’s not going to help me deal with the vertigo that has me teetering at the tops of staircases (as my life passes before my eyes). It’s not going to help me keep my mouth shut when I’m this close to chewing someone out or making an inappropriate comment to a co-worker.

Anyway, I’m venting this evening, I know. I’m starting to annoy myself.

What’s my point? It’s that sometimes our physical issues are just that — physical challenges that come up as a result of injury or just life, not due to some inner moral or psychological deficiency… and I get tired of feeling judged for having these issues — especially the physical ones, which my chiro loves to lecture me about. I’ve been in a bunch of car accidents, I’ve been attacked, I’ve had a number of falls, and my head got hurt a lot. As far as I’m concerned, I’m extremely fortunate to be as well as I am, and I get a little frustrated with people judging my condition as being terrible and awful and untenable… and due to some deep-seated psycho-spiritual morass I can’t haul myself out of.

Oh, screw it. What-ever. I’m tired and I need my rest. Of course my chiro is going to tell me I need more work. They need the work. I just wish the helping professions could just… help. Without the lectures that go along with it all.

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

4 thoughts on “I love my chiro, but…”

  1. From my own experience with an ABI (you like that? I just learned that is what you call my brain injury….3 yrs later), I have learned that emotional and physical healing are very intertwined. Because my brain injury resulted from a suicide attempt and was so emotionally tied, physical healing accompanied emotional healing.

    I know there is a strong connection there. I also know that there are just purely physical injuries that have nothing to do with emotion. (I think that is what I am left with now.) It puts a lot of responsibility on a person to think that every physical ailment has a psychological cause. Uugh! That is quite a burden. Maybe some just are what they are. I am working on those from a physical standpoint now.

    Muscle tension is a side effect of a brain injury. My hands used to be so tight they hurt. Think the claw. I would suggest to you to do yoga and stretching for your back and neck. I have done bikram yoga (in 100 degrees and 40% humidity) for 2 years. It has been miraculously healing both physically and mentally.

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  2. Thanks for the tip about bikram yoga. I had heard about it several years ago, and it really intrigued me. I do like heat and humidity doesn’t bother me, so maybe that could help. Since winter is coming, it might not be such a bad idea 😉

    For me, I find that my emotions often follow on my physical state – when I’m over-tired, I tend to get get upset much more easily and I just feel BAD… feel down on myself… and I just don’t have the self-respect and optimism that I have after a good night’s sleep.

    I do get that physical and emotional healing are closely intertwined. I just don’t think we ought to lay every physical malady at the feet of our emotional “evolution”.

    What’s particularly baffling for me, with my TBI, is how I can be so down… and not even realize fully why that is… all the while with people telling me I need to address my emotional issues… then all of a sudden – bang – I’m snapped out of it and moving on to the next thing. Feeling better than ever, as though nothing was ever wrong… Without me even doing anything specific to address the issues. Or sometimes the thing that I do will be eating some food or taking a nap. My physical well-being tends to precede and be the foundation for the rest of my well-being. I may be a little unique in this, but after years of suspecting there was something wrong with me for not being like everyone else I knew (whose physical health seemed founded on their emotional state), I have quit worrying about it and just take care of my body.

    I have a saying… if I take care of my body, my mind will take care of my brain.

    Works for me.

    BB

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  3. Sudden and brief episode of sadness/depression are common among long term BI survivors.
    I don’t believe one can parse out emotion and physical issues completely – emotions can of course cause innumerable physical problems or add to them – and of course physical problems can have an emotional impact – living with chronic pain for example can cause anger and depression – which can lead to more pain since one is ambivalent about addressing it.
    Knowing this isn’t meant to be a burden – it’s awareness. We have cycles of behavior and to break the cycle we have to change an element. Sometimes it’s mindset – we need to think about something differently or tell ourselves a different story. Sometimes its physical – we need to exercise, eat better, get more rest, care for ourselves.
    Awareness of ones body is a good thing, pain is a message of some kind telling us something – we need to listen to it. Understanding that mental states and physical states are part of the same fabric is important; particularly in not judging ourselves (or others). Judgement – perceived or given – is what does harm.
    It’s not about blame, not about failure, it’s about what is.

    Bikram Yoga is very good – it is also very hot. Take it slowly, especially if you do not know yoga and have not experienced working out in extreme heat. Try to get into the experience of he heat and not resist it.

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