Alternative Medicine: What’s worth the dough?

In yesterday’s post about underusing my health insurance, I mentioned a medical problem I’m developing. I had daily chiropractic for 2 months with no lasting results, and the neurologist found nothing useful (meaning no structural abnormalities, tumors, etc). The chiro suggested manipulation under general anesthesia, but since my insurance won’t cover that and I’m not convinced it’ll make a difference, I’ll pass. The neuro gave me a prescription for muscle relaxants and sent me on my way, apologetic that neurology had nothing better to offer me.

It’s time to go Alternative without getting stupid.

My first port of call will be a Rolfer, meaning a practioner of Rolf Structural Integration. I did the 10 series back in 2004, and even got my mom one session for Mother’s Day to help with her bad carpal tunnel syndrome – totally cured her! Unfortunately, the Rolfer I used at the time now charges $200/session and incorporates some hippy dippy stuff (sorry, I just don’t buy into Reiki even though I’ve had lots of clients tell me I’d be a natural for giving it). If you don’t know what it is, imagine getting 6 weeks worth of physical therapy in 80 minutes. It’s very deep, very painful, and it’s common to be nauseous afterwards. I have a barter request posted on Craigslist at the moment, but so far I’ve only heard from a couple of no-nothing idiots who just want to feel up a stranger.

I’ve been through this before with tepid results and too much pain, so bad that the acupuncturist removed the needles and put them in secondary points because even the slight movement that happens from breathing was excruciating. I think this practice works very well for certain conditions (has unbelievable results with asthma) and certain people (with higher pain thresholds!), but not really for me. Still, I’ll leave it on the radar.

I think this is considered only mildly alternative, and my experiences were in the UK (not covered by the National Health Service at the time, not sure about now). It was by far the most successful solution my back and neck have ever had. My treatment was basically a 30-40 minute deep tissue massage, often deep enough to leave bruises, followed by a chiropractic adjustment. Unlike all chiro experiences I’ve ever had, this combination stuck for 5 weeks rather than 5 hours…or 5 minutes on a really bad day. If I don’t make any headway with Rolfing, I’ll take a flight route through London on my way to Africa and arrange at least a 6-hour layover so I can see an osteopath (whom I will happily bribe to work on a Sunday, especially now that the pound sterling is at the lowest exchange rate I’ve seen in the 22 years I’ve been watching it).

Not suitable for this problem, but I thought I’d mention it because I’ve tried it and most people are a little curious. It’s overrated and did nothing for me (and I had a series, not just one).

I got so relaxed I slept. As in, snoring and not answering the questions. It didn’t take.

Most people think of this as a form of exercise, a class you take at the gym. But it was developed as a form of rehab around World War 1. I got 5-7 private lessons with an apprentice (half the price of a fully qualified instructor, and super-eager to sink their teeth into a real problem and not just another person who wants to get ab definition) to fix my “dropped foot” problem, which they determined was caused by a turned-out trocanter (femur head). Hey, it worked like a charm! And I’d had problems walking down flights of stairs or even just plain walking for 6 months by the time I gave up on the podiatrist and gave this a shot. However, I don’t think it’s aggressive enough for my current problem.

…and not just because they’re not relevant to my issue at hand:  moxabustion, cupping, ear candling, magnets/crystals, energy healing, or prayer.

I’d love to hear about the wacky, the wonderful, the useful, and the useless non-standard therapies you’ve put yourself through. Remember, we’re all anonymous so it’s okay to admit you’ve stuck a neti pot up your nose! The point is that that sharing might help me (and others) figure out what steps to take and maybe save money on things that won’t work.


4 Responses

  1. I love Pilates as exercise.

    Contact Reflex Analysis or Kinesiology is a weird thing my mom subjected me to. Basically, the doctor would hold a finger to certain spots on your body and push down on your arm–if the spot was “bad” you couldn’t hold your arm up. If it was “good”, your arm would stay steady. I’ve seen the same thing done in magic shows with an apple and a cigarette.

    I wouldn’t trust this medical technique as an adult–but he did diagnose and treat a kidney problem that had bothered me for months and that other doctors dismissed as me wanting attention. And he cured my sister of her chronic ear infections. Weird, but true.

  2. I’m gonna pray for you just to piss you off. *snort*

    In other news, I got some of that ridiculously over priced Mona Vie acai berry juice. After the first bottle, my horrid lower back pain disappeared. I’ve heard a couple of other people express the same results. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked much for me since, unless I drink a ton and it’s just too expensive. Ibuprofen works just as well, sans all the fabulous vitamins, of course.

  3. guess you didn’t like my DNFT suggestion!

  4. Nothing personal, JustPassingThrough — I just have a feeling that chiro of any flavor isn’t going to fix all this 😦

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