Confessions of a Chiropractic SkepticBy 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.
4 Ways You Can Get Rid of Back Pain… without injections or surgery! Part 2
I hope you tried out the suggestions for helping your back pain in the previous post
. Those are just two suggestions, and no, I imagine they haven’t completely taken away your pain yet, but I do hope you’ve given them both a sustained, honest effort. To get long term relief from back pain, you must, must, MUST become less sedentary and reduce chemical stress on your body. Now for two more great suggestions that will help you get rid of back pain without surgery:3. Let pain do its job. One very simple way to help get rid of your back pain is to actually feel your back pain. Stop ignoring it, and for goodness’ sake stop numbing it. Pain is an important gift. Pain is not “weakness leaving the body.” Pain is your body telling you what should be obvious: Something is wrong! Stop. If it hurts to stand or sit that way, then move around. Get up. Adjust. If it hurts to walk that fast, slow down a bit, but keep walking. We live in a stressed out culture, and we also live in an attention-deficitculture. We have all been trained to multitask and run around like crazy people, trying to do too much. You may have too much on your plate and there’s nothing you can do about that for now. But if you’re going to get rid of your back pain, you are going to have to start paying attention to your pain. Notice it. Feel it. Listen to your body.
If you’re taking a lot of pain medicine or anti-inflammatories
, I am going to make a counterintuitive suggestion. Cut back or quit taking that stuff entirely. If you can’t feel the pain, that doesn’t mean that your back is fine. It just means you can’t feel it. So it means you’re probably further aggravating theproblematic areas. So then the next day you take more medicine. Instead of numbing it out, I challenge you to allow your pain to do its job for two weeks. Your body has the ability to make adjustments if you will just give it the chance. 4. Get an evaluation from a chiropractor. While all of the above is very good and necessary, if you have serious back problems, your back may be in a position where it will not be able to simple correct itself. Months or years to too much sitting, slouching, bad sleep habits, carrying too much weight, and add to that a few tweaks here and there take their toll. But there really is great, wonderful news. For decades now chiropractors have been offering a method of bringing the spine into alignment which is documented to bring significant and often total relief to back pain of all kinds.
Sadly, many people believe that traiditional medicine is the only route to getting help for back pain. So they follow the trajectory of taking medicine, then steroid injections, and then they begin having surgeries. Many people who take steroid injections or have had costly and sometimes ineffective surgeries are shocked when the learn that the problematic sites in their back could have been relieved by regular chiropractic care.
If you are facing taking injections or are considering back surgery, do your own homework for sure, but please stop by Ranicki Chiropractic and Wellness Center, or if you’re not in our area, give us a call and we’ll gladly help you find a quality chiropractor or tell you what to look for. I know you are tired of the pain. It really is possible to get healing and relief for the pain, to feel yourself again, and to work and play the way you want to. Before you go under the knife, why not give us a call or stop by and make an appointment for an evaluation.
4 Ways You Can Get Rid of Back Pain… Without injections or surgery!
Most people at some point battle back pain at some point, whether it’s for a short period of time or something chronic. Back pain makes people miserable. It makes work less fun, and even worse, it can make play less fun!
Maybe you’ve tried taking pain killers or anti-inflammatories with little to no results, and you’re wondering if getting an injection will help. Maybe it’s even so bad you’re actually considering surgery. I get it. We just want the pain to go away.
The problem, which I’ve written about before, is that medicine and injections only serve to numb pain from problematic sites in the back. The really, really great news is that there are simple, (relatively) easy ways to actually get rid of your back pain… without medicine. Without injections. Without surgery. 1. Stand more, sit less. If you’re battling back pain, I dare you to try this for one week. Just quit sitting so much. Being sedentary puts enormous amounts of stress on your back which you were not designed to bear. Thousands of years ago our ancestors would have rarely sat the way we do. They would have walked most of the time, and they likely squatted when they ate their meals. Now, I am not suggesting you necessarily take up squatting at your next dinner function! But think about it: How much of your day do you spend sitting? Most people sit after waking up, enjoying their breakfast or coffee. Then they get in their car and sit while they head to work or school. Then they sit behind a desk or in front of a screen all day. Then they sit in their car on the way home. Then they come home and do what? Sit.
If a good portion of your day is done sitting, take a minute to think about how you might be able to change those patterns. Could you walk during your lunch break instead of sitting the whole hour? Could you get a cordless phone for work and walk while you talk, if your work allows that? If not, could you take more frequent “standing breaks” right at your desk? Our bodies were not meant to be sedentary. We were made to move! If you’ll resolve to become a person who stands and moves and walks more, you’ll be amazed at how your back will begin to say, “Thank you!” 2. Stop drinking soda.
What does soda have to do with back pain? Do those fuzzy bubbles get lodged in there somehow? Well, no, not really. It’s not the bubbles that are the problem. It’s the chemicals. Back pain happens because there is stress on your back. But there are all sorts of stressors that affect our body. One way to give your body a chance to heal and repair itself so you’ll feel less back pain is by removing unneeded stress from your life. Have you ever had just a bad, emotionally stressful day? Ever felt back pain because of it? Because stress is stress. Mental and emotional stress can cause physical stress on the system.
When you eat or drink stuff that let’s be honest more than likely came from a chemical lab than from the good earth, you are putting stuff in your body that your body was not designed to process. So when you consume lots of chemicals, that is a form of stress on your body which your body then has to deal with. If you’re hurting bad enough to read this far, wouldn’t it be worth it to give your body a break? Maybe you can’t just make the stress from your family or your job go away overnight, but you know what you can do? You can start drinking more water and less stuff with chemicals in it. We live in one of the most stressed out cultures in human history.
If you’re going to get better, you have got to be your body’s best friend and start removing chemical stressors from your system. A wonderful side benefit to cutting out soda or other artificial food and drink is that you will likely lose some weight which will also help your back pain tremendously! I was going to make this post FIVE things you can do to help back pain and make one of them “Lose Weight,” but none of us wants to be told to lose weight, right? So forget about losing weight for now. Just cut out the soda and see what happens.
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?
Don’t Crack Your Own Neck In Front of Your Chiropractorby Will Forrester
I’m not gonna lie, I love the feeling of that “pop” when my neck
or my back
“cracks.” I can still remember cracking my own back for the first time. In high school, I had this friend who started cracking his own back, and I thought it looked bizarre, but like most teenagers, I figured if someone else was doing it, I’d better try, too, right? So I did. Thus began a habit of cracking my own back which lasted for years.
I remember the back thing, but I can’t recall when I started cracking my own neck. But talk about a great feeling! Honestly, as I’m typing this post, I’m now having to resist the urge to just reach up under my chin and twist to get that nice pop that will relieve some of that tension. Did I mention it’s been a stressful day and it’s late in the afternoon?
After I’d been seeing Dr. Ranicki
for a few weeks, one day right after he had finished my adjustment, I got up from the table and stood up. As Dr. Ranicki was making notes on my chart, I casually cracked my own neck. RIGHT in front of him. He looked up at me and said, alarmingly, “What are you doing???”
Here’s the funny thing – I had developed such an unconscious habit that I honestly didn’t even realize I had done it. I said, “What are you talking about?” “You just cracked your own neck right after I got finished adjusting you. You’re basically undoing the work I just did. Don’t do that.”
I think my first thought was, “What’s the difference between you adjusting it and me cracking it just a bit?” Thankfully, before I could utter those words out loud, Dr. Ranicki explained, “Listen, if you had a toothache, would you buy your own drill set and fix your own cavity? I wouldn’t recommend you or anyone I cared about do their own dental work. In the same way, I wouldn’t recommend you adjusting your own neck. Trust me, this is why you are coming to me.”
A chiropractor like Dr. Ranicki has the training and skill to isolate just the problem areas and give justthe right amount of pressure needed to correct any subluxations that exist. When you or I just—on our own—casually give our neck a good crack, we are almost assuredly overextending ligaments and, over time, doing great damage to the health and stability of the neck. If you are feeling stress and wanting to relieve some tension, check out this great video Dr. Rancki posted about how to get some relief without doing the dangerous cracking. And obviously, nothing will help you more with overall neck health (not to mention the health benefits associated) than stopping by for an evaluation from Dr. Ranicki.
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.
Are You Sitting Down?
by Will Forrester
Are you sitting down? Seriously, are you sitting down right now as you read this?
Well, if you’re a typical American, you are. We Americans love our chairs. We like them big and comfortable and we even put things like “lazy” in the name of some of our chairs. We are big on comfort. And you know what a lot of typical Americans experience as well? Back pain. And the more we sit, and the longer hours that we typically work, and the more we stare at screens (usually while sitting), the more back pain we experience.
Yes, there has been many improvements done in the types of chairs available so that we sit with better posture, but in some ways those comfortable or
ergonomically designed chairs can actually work against us. Because we can sit LONGER and still “feel comfortable.”
Comfortable. Sitting. A lot. Sometimes all morning. Or even all day. But what feels good in the short term can lead to massive back pain later. We know heavy lifting and car wrecks and carrying too much weight contribute to experiencing lower back pain, but did you know that sitting too much is bad for your back? “Sitting puts nearly twice the stress on the spine as standing; slouching while you sit increases the pressure even more. That's because hunching forward pushes the back into a convex or C shape.”
“Yeah, but with my job, I have to sit a lot.”
Really? According to whom? Increasingly employers are recognizing the need for their employees to be able to perform at optimum levels, and most businesses are more than willing to accommodate people who want to do their work well while also maintaining optimum health. And you can do it.
But like any change, at first it can be touch. You have to break the habit of wanting to sit all the time. So, are there ways you could “fool yourself” into having to get up periodically as part of your work?
One thing I have done is gotten a cordless phone at work, and if possible I take my phone calls while walking outside with a pad and paper to take notes. I’m walking while I’m working. Other times I put my laptop on a higher surface so I can work while standing for part of the morning. Not only do I feel much better at the end of the day, but I’m also actually getting more done! My brain feels like it is firing on all cylinders as I allow myself the ability to experience more natural movement during the day rather than simply sitting.
So… are you still sitting down? Why not move around? Your back doesn’t get and stay healthy by being in one position all day long, particularly not sitting. We were meant to be on the move. So get up and get busy!