by Caroline von Fluegge-Chen
This is a testimonial from a patient who originally came to see me for neck pain. Little did we both realize how a few weeks later chiropractic care would affect the state of her mental health.
I’m sure if you ask me 6 months from now to tell you about the benefits of chiropractic care, I could tell you so much more than I will today. However, the changes that have happened over the past 4 months since I started to receive chiropractic care need to be noted. I went to a chiropractor, Dr. C, to ask for her help to relieve my neck pain. I had a severe stiff neck for two weeks, and would experience sharp stabbing pains if the slightest movement occurred. I could barely function. I rarely cry, but this was bringing up the tears regularly. Well, as you probably can guess, each appointment provided more and more relief, and after just a couple days, the neck pain subsided.
I continued to attend Dr. C’s office as a way to prevent this kind of debilitating pain from happening again. I knew there was a physical history of poor spine alignment because I had been in several car accidents, had been diagnosed with scoliosis as a child, and saw the current x-rays. I had suffered from stiff necks at least once a year my whole life, and I hoped that treatment would stop this from reoccurring. So, when people asked me why I was still receiving chiropractic care after my neck didn’t hurt anymore, I explained that I didn’t want neck pain to happen again.
There were other physical reasons to continue attending that I didn’t share with others. I have a non-cancerous brain tumor. I also have neurofibroids on my left cheek and the center of my neck. The reason for their formation is unknown. I just have to get these growths ‘looked at’ regularly to make sure they aren’t changing. No one has suggested chiropractic care as a treatment, but I figured it couldn’t hurt. It might promote nerve health, and prevent these growths from getting bigger or cancerous.
There is another secret reason that I continued to attend. I don’t go around telling people about this. You’ll know why in a paragraph or two. I believe that chiropractic care is helping my mental strength. I have dealt with severe mental problems for at least a decade, and I know relief when I feel it! And my chiropractic care is the only new variable in my life that I can contribute this change to.
I am not saying that everything is coming up roses all of a sudden. I just feel like I am now a part of my own life, and not just watching it happen. Things have just gotten significantly better because I can see things a bit clearer and feel like I have control over my thoughts and actions. Most people take for granted this feeling of control over their lives, so it is hard to explain to another what it is like to be in a position that you just can’t control yourself no matter how hard you try. It’s unfathomable to most.
Let me tell you the history here. Psychiatrists have diagnosed me on several occasions as having an anxiety disorder with obsessive thoughts. I have been hospitalized for depression after attempting suicide. I have been physically abused. Even my family is still in shock that this has been part of my history. You just wouldn’t know it to look at me.
At first, it felt good to be told that I had a ‘diagnosis’ of depression and anxiety because it opened opportunities for help. I was able to receive medicine and counseling. The anxiety and depression had been so severe, that, no matter how hard I tried to help myself, it felt out of my control. The medicine and counseling helped me hold the reins again. They worked as a bridge between my problems and me. The problems didn’t just disappear, but I felt like I could deal appropriately with them.
However, just like someone is grateful for medicine when they’re sick, they don’t want to take it for the rest of their lives. I didn’t want to live with anxiety and depression medicine forever. It had side-effects and was tested on animals, which is something I oppose. I soon became terribly upset by my dependence on meds, and wanted a way to be healthy like other people.
So, after a couple years on the meds, I stopped taking them. This was in September of 2008. I noticed the negative change about a month later. I started to act and think in a way that I felt like I didn’t have complete control over. It’s so hard to explain. The behavior management techniques that I had practiced with the counselor had been such successful habits when I was on the meds, and now they didn’t seem to be enough. Things started to feel out of control again. It was as if anxiety was controlling me, and I couldn’t stop the worries and obsessive thoughts.
When I started to receive chiropractic care, it was like being on the meds again, but without the negative side-effects. I still experienced anxiety and obsessive thoughts, but I had a sense of control over them. I could put a stop to it when I became aware that it was happening. I could manage the behavior again.
Mental illness has been difficult for me because I am not ignorant to the problem. It’s like bumping into something over and over again but not able to move it out of my way. I imagine that mental problems are so difficult for people to manage because the person knows they are suffering but can’t seem to get a grasp on controlling it. I have hated myself for much of my life because I was exhausted and still failing to get control over my anxiety.
I do not claim to understand the science behind all of this. I just know what I feel. And receiving chiropractic care seems to be providing a bridge between my brain and my actions. It feels like I have my life back.