Confessions of a Chiropractic Skeptic
By Will Forrester

I’ll never forget my first appointment with Dr. Ranicki. As I’ve mentioned before, I came in with severe sciatic pain. I was hurting and I was desperate for help. And I was a chiropractic skeptic

I had internal defenses up a mile high in my mind. It was like I was looking for something to not go well, for someone to say something I disagreed with so that I could say, “See, this chiropractic care is nonsense. It’s a rip off.” Instead, the office was pleasantly decorated, and the staff was out of this world. The place had a very calm, soothing feel. They offered me a bottle of water, had me sit down to watch a video with some information about chiropractic, and asked me to fill out an intake questionnaire. 

As I’m watching the video, I’m still skeptical. Then at some point, they ask me what my goals are for my chiropractic care. Do I want to have Good Health, Great Health, or Optimum Health? Now my skepticism really rises up. Now I see they’re plan. They’re trying to manipulate me into signing up for some regimen that I don’t need or want. What person is going to honestly say they only want to settle for good or great health? Of course I’m going to say “optimum,” and then they’re going to sell me on some long term commitment I’ll never get out of. Right? 

But there was no manipulation. Yes, I admitted I wanted optimum health, and Dr. Ranicki explained what type of care I might need (and also what lifestyle changes I would need to consider as well). I didn’t feel pressure, but I did sense that Dr. Ranicki genuinely cared that I get the very best health and wellness care I could possibly get. 

It took some time for my mind to absorb the difference that chiropractic care could make for me. How it wasn’t just about cracking bones but about improving my central nervous system and removing subluxations. How it was designed to help with more than just leg, neck, and back pain. I didn’t become sold on the program overnight. But I’m so thankful today that my leg pain was worse than my skepticism and hesitancy. Pain can be a great motivator, and it pushed me to at least come back for a few visits and see if this deal could work. 

Why do I bring up how skeptical I was at my first visit do Ranicki Chiropractic? When I was looking for any exit I could find to get out of there? I bring it up because it’s been more than two years now, and while I’m not sure I’ve hit optimal health just yet, I think I’m pretty close. I feel so great most of the time now! This skeptic has become a regular. I still see Dr. Ranicki regularly as part of my ongoing care so that I stay healthy rather than get sick and in chronic pain again. I wouldn’t think of missing my appointment each week so that I stay healthy and feel energized and alive. 

But if you are a skeptic like I was—if you’ve clicked over to this blog and are considering your options but are just unsure—it’s okay. Be skeptical. It’s a good thing to use your mind, toweigh the facts, to consider what path is best. Just don’t be so skeptical that you don’t do your own investigation. Maybe you’ve heard this quote from Herbert Spencer, which definitely applied to me before giving chiropractic care a fair hearing: "There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation."

If you’re in need of help with your back, neck, sciatic pain, whatever – why not give chiropractic care an honest evaluation? Come in for an assessment and see if Dr. Ranicki and his team can’t 
take you to better health. Maybe even optimum health.
 
Getting Bent Out of Shape 

by Will Forrester

I was zipping along the interstate when I saw the brake lights ahead. It was nighttime, and the traffic was pretty heavy. I could tell we were going to be stopping quickly—probably a wreck up ahead. But when I looked in my rear-view mirror to see if the people behind me were going to stop, I had a split second to recognize I was about to be in a wreck myself. A big one. I could tell it was a heavy duty pickup truck barreling behind me. Turns out they were hauling a heavy trailer and there was no way they could have stopped in time. They creamed me and then I hit the car in front of me, and off we went. It was a miracle nobody was hurt, especially me. My car was barely recognizable, but the front and rear ends smashed in. 

The next day I had a friend drive me to the lot where my car had been taken so I could retrieve a few things I had missed the night before. I was unbelievably sore—I felt like I had new muscles I was not previously aware of all acting like I’d done a major workout. But everything seemed to be working fine. My friend was shocked to see the terrible damage. She even noticed that the driver’s seat was bent. You could easily see that the frame of the seat in which I was sitting had been bent. But I was fine. I never even bothered to go to a doctor. And I was young at the time, in my early twenties. I used to just bounce back from everything. So, no, I don’t have any hard evidence that the car accident that had enough force to bend the seat in which I was sitting didn’t manage to do any major damage to my bodily structure as well. But how I do wish I had gotten things checked out at the time. I was a long way from considering chiropractic at that time. 

I guess it was about eight years later when severe sciatic pain drove me to make an appointment with Dr. Ranicki in Pooler, and when I came back to get the results of my initial evaluation, the results were not good. Even with my untrained eyes, I could easily see that my spine had major problems. Again, the problematic places in my lower back and in my neck could have come from any number of causes. I was overweight, I slouched when sitting, I didn’t stretch much, and I used to crack my neck and back on my own in ways that likely weren’t helpful. But I have to wonder if that severe impact from that car accident so many years earlier hadn’t caused lasting damage that, if addressed early, could have prevent years of gradual and increasing pain. 

If you’re in the Pooler area and have had a car accident lately (or not so recently) and are experiencing neck or back problems, whether it’s pain, stiffness, numbness, tingling, or any combination of those symptoms, I want to urge you not to make the same mistake I did. I know we’ve all seen the jokes about people who make a big deal about neck and back problems after accidents just to try to scam people out of money, and I’m sure we’ve had enough of those personal injury lawyer commercials. But don’t let people who take advantage of car accidents for personal gain deter you from making sure you are okay after an accident. It’s not about money, it’s about your long-term health, which of course will have financial repercussions. 

The force of even a minor car accident can cause major problems in the spine which can definitely be helped by chiropractic care. If left untreated, the damage can become more problematic over time, so why not schedule an evaluation today! If your car is bent out of shape, chances are you’re going to at least get it fixed enough so it can run, or else you’ll get a new one. Shouldn’t you give at least as good care to your physical body as you would your auto body? Stop by Ranicki Chiropractic in Pooler or give us a call and schedule an appointment.
 
My First Massage

by Will Forrester 

I think I was on a romantic weekend getaway when I had my first massage – one of those couples massages where you’re in the same room. I was crazy nervous, not used to being mostly unclothed in front of strangers, and also sharing this experience with my new bride. At first I was chatting away nervously with the massage therapists, peppering them with lots of questions, till finally my lovely wife gave me a kind look as if to say, “It’s time to relax and be quiet now.” 

Before the massage therapist got to work, she asked if there was anything in particular I had been struggling with. I said no, I was doing pretty well, not too much tension or anything. It was only a few minutes into the massage when both my therapist and I realized that I was at best fooling myself and at worst lying! I was UNBELIEVABLY tense! I can’t remember the exact conversation, but she began to ask me if I had been experiencing a lot of stress lately. I honestly didn’t know what to say. I thought I had been doing pretty well with life, but even I could tell that my muscles were in rough shape. I needed a lot of work. 

The therapist also helped me notice some PAIN in my hip. I had a tremendous knot, and when she hit it, I flinched a bit at first. “Oh yeah, I guess I have had some pain in my hip from time to time. I guess I didn’t think about that.” 

Quite honestly I don’t remember much else about my first experience with a professional massage therapist, other than I felt like I could melt into a puddle of relaxation afterwards, and that I was completely out of touch with how stressed I was and how it was affecting my body. 

When somebody asks YOU how you are doing, what do you usually think about when answering that question? If you’re like I was, you think about how you’re thinking mentally and feeling emotionally. But how are you doing physically? How much stress and tension are you carrying in your muscles? The truth is, how you are doing physically, emotionally, and mentally really can’t be separated. If you’re mentally and emotionally stressed, you’re going to feel it physically. And if you get some relief physically, it’s going to help you out mentally and emotionally as well. 

Now is a perfect time to do yourself or your friends and family a favor. There is a new massage therapist right here in Pooler at Dr. Ranicki’s Creating Wellness Center. The holidays can sometimes be hectic and even stressful, so why not give yourself an early present and relieve some tension? Or you can knock one of those gifts you need to buy off the list. Come on…who doesn’t want a massage gift certificate?
 
Leg Pain Relief in Pooler 
by Will Forrester

I’m a fairly young guy and have always been relatively healthy. I try to keep in shape but let me be honest I’ve always been a “once every few weeks” rather than “three or four times each week” kind of guy when it comes to exercise. But, if I wanted to go for a short run, even three or four miles, I could usually do that. Yeah, I’d be sore for a day or two, but I have always basically been able to do what I want. That is until a few years ago. I started experiencing leg pain. Just in my right leg. But worse than the usual soreness from out-of-shape calf muscles

At first I just tried to stretch a little more than I had been, but my right calf was REALLY tight, way worse than I had ever experienced before. And no matter how much I stretched, I felt like it wasn’t really doing much to help loosen up the muscle at all. I was taking Advil, then taking it more frequently, then I was taking the maximum dosage. Tried Aleve. But when the medicine wore off, the pain was back. It would ease up during the day, but at night it got to be unbearable. I was waking up at 5am in massive pain. Then waking up at 4am. Then 3am. And only in the right leg

I had never heard of sciatica before. Well, that’s what it was. The sciatic nerve was being pinched, and it was causing me to experience excruciating leg pain, only in one leg (which is typical of sciatica). 
If you’re experiencing leg pain of any kind, I hope you will do what I did and make an appointment with Dr. Steve Ranicki in Pooler, GA. Ranicki Chiropractic has an amazing team, and Dr. Ranicki is an encyclopedia of health and wellness knowledge. And he is an expert chiropractor. Before you look for medicines or injections or contemplate having surgery, please take the time to research how chiropractic care can improve and likely correct entirely any problems with leg pain you are experiencing. 

Back in 2011, I was waking up in pain. I was limping to work. I was wondering why I was battling health limitations at a seemingly young age. Today, after seeing Dr. Ranicki, I feel younger than I ever have. I can hop, skip, or jump to work if I want to. Life is good. No more leg pain.
 
Back Pain RELIEF
by Will Forrester 

Years ago I used to experience some pretty terrible back pain. Right in the middle of my lower back, particularly on stressful days at work, by the end of the day I would be looking for opportunities to get alone and try to stretch it out, put some heat on it, something. And I was used to it. I always told myself it was because I was really stressed and out of shape. Of course, when I would try to get in shape, the throbbing would get even worse… for a while. If I stuck with the exercise regimen, I would notice it would improve slightly. Which would only confirm would I (wrongly) believed, that I just needed more exercise – even though exercise wasn’t completely eradicating the problem. Oh, and I also took Advil and Aleve and other meds like that. I guess I figured this was just what people who worked out did. 

This went on for a few years, and interestingly, my back pain improved a bit on its own. I didn’t notice it so much anymore – only when I exercised, which was less regularly, so I didn’t have to deal with the pain. Not good. Finally my back problems shifted I supposed and I began experiencing sciatica. 

Which finally drove me to investigating chiropractic care for the first time. As I’ve written previously, my sciatica improved in short order. In the process of getting treatment, I began to actually experience back pain from time to time again – my back problem had become so severe that I was actually numb—this was why my pain had seemingly gotten better! In fact, I was in danger of having very severe back problems which would only get progressively worse. 

And today, my back pain is no longer an issue. I can exercise all I want. I never--NEVER—have to (or want to) take any pain killers or anti-inflammatories any longer. I don’t need them. 

If you are in the Pooler area, I would highly recommend making an appointment to see Dr. Ranicki for an evaluation. How I wish I could have gotten help for my back pain years ago, rather than allowing the places where my spine was misaligned to continue untreated for so long! But even if you, like me, have endured back pain for a long, long time, it’s never too late to begin to bring some actual relief to the sites where the pain is coming from! It’s so much better than just popping a pill to tell your brain to pretend the throbbing or ache it is feeling isn’t there.
 
More Than Just Backs and Necks

by Will Forrester

The other day I was having lunch with two dear friends, and one of them asked me if I was still going to see Dr. Ranicki. I enthusiastically said that yes indeed I was. This prompted the other one to ask me why I was still going. I simply said that I have never felt better, and continuing to go seems to help me stay near optimum health as far as I can tell. 

I said, “For instance, I used to battle sinus problems on a near constant basis. I was always taking Sudafed or Clairitin D or something for sinus headaches. And then periodically I would get sinus infections. Since I have been going to Dr. Ranicki those problems are basically gone.”

I could tell that she didn’t quite follow me. I could tell she was wondering what in the world spinal adjustments would have to do with sinus problems. So I elaborated. I didn’t begin going to Dr. Ranicki for help with my sinuses. As I’ve written about before, I was battling some very painful sciatica. Whenever you go see Dr. Ranicki for an adjustment, he always asks how you are doing and has a conversation with you while he is doing the adjustment. During that time he offers a world of helpful health and wellness advice. During the course of one of my visits—this was after my sciatica had begun to improve some and I was beginning to really believe in the value of chiropractic care, Dr. Ranicki unlocked a key for understanding chiropractic for me. 

He said, “Will, you were experiencing severe pain in your leg, but you understand that actually there was nothing actually wrong with your leg. The problem was in your lower back, where your spine was being pinched. Even though the actual problem was in your back, it caused your leg to become extremely tight, so much so that the muscles would not even work properly.

“If a problem in your spine can make it where leg muscles do not respond and work as they should, wouldn’t it logically follow that other parts of your body could also be harmed if they were not communicating well with the central nervous system? What if, instead of the nerves going to your leg that were not working well, what if they were nerves to your kidneys or to your heart or to your lungs? Can you see how spinal adjustments can have an affect on all sorts of organs of the body, more than just the mechanical structure?” I don’t know why, but on that day it dawned on me how chiropractic might serve to help all sorts of health problems one might experience. 

I think more than anything else, this is why for the past two years I have just felt so very much better than I had the previous thirty-four years of my life. It’s not just that I experience less lower back or leg pain. I have fewer headaches. I threw all my sinus medicine away. I don’t need it anymore. Do I get a sniffle from time to time? Sure. But it sure doesn’t seem to linger on, and I have absolutely no interest in hitting the medicine aisle anytime soon.
 
Knock on Wood

by Will Forrester 

The other day I was driving down the road with a friend who clearly is experiencing a lot of lower back pain. As I’ve written before, I used to battle frequent lower back pain, but have been relieved from it through chiropractic care. So I asked him what he was doing to try to relieve his pain. He was wearing a back support brace, taking some pain medicine, and doing some back exercises someone had recommended for him. And he was getting to the point of considering surgery. 

I really felt bad for him, because he was clearly in a lot of pain. I told him about my sciatica (see link) and how it had driven me to seek chiropractic care. About how a critical turning point in me getting better was when I *stopped* taking pain medicine and instead began letting my body, through pain, tell me when I was pushing too hard, needing to stand up or sit down or whatever. I tried to ever-so-delicately ask if he thought taking pain medicine might be allowing him to further aggravate his back injury. 

I could tell he was completely following the logic of what I was saying. But he didn’t really want to accept it. 

“But what if I want to go fishing and do things with my kids? Isn’t it better to take the pain 
medicine so I could do those things?” 

I wanted to say, “And if your back keeps getting worse, do you really think there will be enough medicine to allow you to move around at all?” 

But before I could make another attempt at getting him to consider chiropractic for himself, he asked me, “So how has your back been? Does it ever bother you?” 

“Nope, I feel great,” I replied. 

“Knock on wood, right?” He said. 

In other words, my friend was suggesting that what I was doing and the fact that my back feels terrific amounted to luck. I know many, many people resist investigating chiropractic care for a number of reasons. But honestly, whatever barriers you might have to getting your lower back pain, or neck pain, or whatever checked out, can you at least follow the logic my friend adamantly refused to admit to seeing? If you just take pain medicine, you are only masking the pain. If you do steroid injections, again, you are not solving the problem that is causing the pain or numbness or whatever, you are simply making it possible to continue to do physical activities that will ultimately continue to aggravate and worsen the site causing the problems. 

It reminds me of one this quote: “Successful people are the luckiest people in the world. Just ask any failure.” Of course, if you ask a successful person, he will probably admit to experiencing some luck, but most success is dependent upon a lot of hard work and good decisions. If you’re seriously hurting, you have got to know that just one good night’s sleep is not going to be enough. You won’t “get lucky” and start feeling better. But you can get better, maybe even completely better. Without meds. Without surgery. 

You know what? As good as I feel, I do feel like the lucky one. But I know it wasn’t just luck.
 
How Excruciating Sciatic Pain Led Me to Chiropractic Care

by Will Forrester


I’ll never forget it was just before Thanksgiving when the pain in my leg started getting really noticeable.  Found myself favoring one leg, walking slightly funny.  Just thought I was sore, maybe having calf trouble.  Then I started waking up early in the morning, and my right leg would be hurting really badly.  Then I was waking up feeling like it was on fire.  Just one leg.  Just the right one.  Then I began waking up earlier in the morning.  Waking up at 5am.  Waking up at 4am.  Then 3am.  I would just have to get up, writhing in pain, trying like crazy to stretch what was the worst pain I could ever remember enduring.  


This was weird.  So I did what any young adult would do.  I looked it up online.  I suppose I had heard people complain about their sciatic nerve before, but I never paid attention.  Didn’t concern me.  Well, now I was paying attention.  Pain has a way of focusing the mind on one thing: solve this problem.  Get rid of this pain.  I was taking Advil.  Then I started taking more Advil.  After several days I was taking the maximum recommended daily dosage and still not getting much relief.  


So I called a friend who happened to be a doctor so I wouldn’t actually have to go to the doctor.  My friend told me, “Well, it sounds like you have what I have had for a long time.  Pain in one leg usually means a pinched sciatic nerve.  And I hate to tell you, it won’t get much better.  You’re probably going to have to get a steroid injection in your back to relieve it.  You want to avoid surgery, but you’re probably looking at getting injections until those stop working and then you’ll be facing surgery.”  


I was only 34.  I really felt like I was too young to be having sciatic problems which were causing massive leg pain.  Yes, I knew I was a bit overweight and out of shape and that couldn’t help, but still, I wasn’t that fat and I wasn’t that old.  


Some other friends were noticing my limp and asking if I was okay, and so I told them what I was dealing with.  I’ll never forget this young woman who boldly suggested I got to a chiropractor.  I just chuckled and rolled my eyes.  Yeah right.  How many times have I heard that they can only offer a temporary fix and you’ll end up having to go to them for life and they really can’t fix it anyway.  (Let’s forget for the moment how similar this description was to what my friend the medical doctor had said about the hope of traditional medicine solving my problem!)  


I was hurting bad and getting worse.  I really, really didn’t want to have to take more powerful pain medicine for a lot of reasons.  And I sure didn’t want to have surgery, particularly at such a young age.  


Did I mention my leg was in massive pain???  


So I called the chiropractor.  Even after my first visit, I had some lingering skepticism.  I mean, this whole approach was just wildly different from what I had grown up with.  But my pain was bad enough that I was willing to try.  


At first I had to have frequent visits per week because my condition was really rough.  I did feel like I was improving some, but not as quickly as I would like.  And I was still popping Advil like they were going out of style.  My chiropractor, Dr. Ranicki, convinced me that the sciatic pain I was feeling was actually my body telling me to do things differently.  So by continuing to take the Advil, I wasn’t feeling the pain and was therefore probably aggravating the injury and healing more slowly.  


So I made another bold decision.  To just endure the sciatic pain, stick with chiropractic care, and stop taking the pain meds.  


The results were amazing.  In a matter of days I began to feel virtually no sciatic pain whatsoever.  I began to feel better in other ways as well which I had not anticipated.  But I’ll share about that more in another post.  


For now, let me just say that if you’ve got pain in primarily one leg, it’s probably a pinched sciatic nerve.  And it is a problem that chiropractic care is well suited to solve.  Without drugs.  Without surgery.  You don’t have to keep hurting, and you could be feeling much better by making a few changes and lying on a table for a good adjustment.  Trust me it’s worth it.  


By the way, my friend the doctor?  His back is now hurting him worse than ever.  I can’t count the number of steroid injections he’s had since that conversation before Thanksgiving, and he’s looking at having major surgery soon.  

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