My first stop in my effort to improve my posture was to seek medical advice. At least, I thought I was seeking medical advice. I really ended up seeking a practitioner of woo-woo.
I am talking about chiropractors.
“Woo-woo” is a snarky way to describe everything phony-baloney, magical thinking, pseudoscience, nutsy, mystical and downright bogus. I put chiropractors into that category. They are not doctors, and their practice has little to no medically proven benefit.
Yet, there are lots of chiropractors out there, and lots of people who “swear by” them. Swear all you want. That’s what happens when people are desperately in pain.
Anyway, the woman I saw was offering a posture clinic at my gym as part of a women’s health fair, so I thought I’d check it out. She didn’t bill herself as a chiropractor, which seems deceitful to me. She started by asking me a few questions about my age, health, exercise and eating habits. I showed her my uneven shoulders and my growing dowager’s hump. Then she poked around my back for a bit while I sat in one of those chairs where you plant your face into something that looks like a squishy toilet seat.
She filled out this assessment form for me:
It may be a little hard to read this, but basically it claims that all the health problems of humanity have their causes and cures in your back.
For example, let’s say you suffer from headaches, low energy, sneezing, nightmares and burning feet. This dog’s breakfast of symptoms is connected to your liver, don’t you know, and the cure is a chiropractic treatment of your 8th thoracic vertebra.
That was her diagnosis of me, along with problems with my 2nd thoracic and 5th lumbar vertebrae.
I can see how someone can get sucked into this. I mean, I get headaches from time to time. I struggle to maintain my weight. I have occasional aches and pains. It would be nice if the cure was a simple chiropractic adjustment, instead of dieting and exercising, avoiding headache triggers and otherwise succumbing to almost 50 years on this planet.
Some other health issues supposedly cured by chiropractors seem downright dangerous. If you’re craving sweets, feel tired after eating and get headaches if you get too hungry, your problem might be diabetes, not your 6th thoracic vertebra.
I asked the chiropractor if she could cite any peer-reviewed studies that proved these ideas. “No,” she said, “but I can tell you that my patients all feel better.”
In the first place, I don’t have any pain – it’s really more of an attempt to correct bad posture and its other effects that I’m after.
If you are in pain, and if you believe the chiropractor can help you, then maybe it will. The brain plays a big role in the power to heal. Plus, maybe it just feels good to have someone touching you and showing you sympathy for your pain.
I don’t believe, so forget it. I probably insulted her when I told her that, but I don’t care. Hey, if you believe in what you’re doing, put some data behind it. Is that so hard?
I have my annual check-up in a few weeks with my real doctor, and I’ll ask her for a referral.