My own personal story

By age 18 I had lower back pain.  So bad I went to the doctor who did my first (of two) lumbar punctures (delicious fun!).  Found nothing.  Sent home with loads of drugs and a pat on the head (which would have been nice except for my constant, horrendous, headache!).

The next 15 saw me in hospital probably 10 times mostly due to lower back pain.  At one stage diagnosed with lupus, a diagnosis I now really wonder about…at any rate finally I had such bad pins and needles in my right foot I was put in hospital for TWO MONTHS!

Can you imagine…lying in bed all day long made the pain worse and worse until I was in a wheelchair unable to walk except to the bathroom (with a catheter!) and to the physio.   Physio was EXCRUCIATING and constant.

Over the years, when I was able, I tried yoga, swimming, pilates, Bowen, Feldenkrais, loads of physio, lots of massage.  Each one of them worked, a bit, they’re really all very good, but for two things:  I was still in AGONY and my glasses weren’t level!  I wear glasses and they were ALWAYS crooked.  Imagine how frustrating that is..your head tipped off to one side when you’re the world’s No. 1 biomechanics specialist and can’t fix it…you know how bad it is for the horse’s movement, and you can remind yourself…level earrings…level earrings all you want, but your head goes straight back to tilted the minute you stop chanting!

Finally (drugged to the eyeballs) I got out of hospital, and pushed and pushed loads of tears, loads of bad days…husband rolling me over in bed….till I got back on a horse at Riding for Disabled Peppercorn Park in Melbourne.

Scary…

All the while no one mentioned my bad posture.  Not one single doctor said “have you noticed you’re the Leaning Tower of Pisa!).

None of them mentioned a chiropractor.  No doctor, no physio, no chemist…no-one.  The just kept stuffing me some (by now fully narcotic) drugs, and again…the pat on the head.  At one point I asked myself to see the psychiatric team partly to help with pain management, and partly to know how I can keep going like this and not go insane.

All were happy to give me a  bottle of anything on the shelf.  I dragged myself to work with a walking stick for 6 or so months until my headache got so bad I couldn’t see out of my right eye.

Thank you universe…

Six weeks almost to the day that my headache got so bad my right eye closed…I ‘stumbled’ (good ol universe!) across a small add in a local paper in North Carolina for a chiropractor offering free xrays and free first consultation.

Considering the cost of health in the USA (everything’s free at home), I was always worried about the horrendous costs we hear over here.  So…it was free…so I went.  As I drove myself there, crying out of the one eye that was still open, I said to myself “I don’t care if this woman breaks my neck”…this is how convinced I was that chiros would hurt more than the agony I’d been through!

I had xrays, full exam, and a minor adjustment, with a request I return the next day.   As I was walking out I realized something:

I looked up at chiro’s door frame as I walked out her door, and my glasses were LEVEL.  Just like that!  For the first time in like 30 years.  They were LEVEL!

I stopped off on the way home for my now standard coffee (deliberately to help my headaches), and it wasn’t I was standing there ordering I realized my headache was GONE!  Just like that.

I had a headache for SIX WEEKS non stop.  Blinding.  And it was gone.  Just like that.

Got home couldn’t wait to get to the mirror.  Yes, I wasn’t nuts…my glasses were level!  And…my bra strap – thoracic area – was also level!   For the first time in memory.  I remember having 22 horses at one staged that al dragged their right hind foot…that’s how bad my lean was, but no riding coach, no doctor, no-one ever even mentioned it.  But I’m not stupid…I could see it in the mirror, that’s if the pain didn’t remind me every single moment of every single day!

Today…

Now, I’m riding again, about to open our own barn with 10 horses in Los Angeles, teaching all the time and travelling around the world.  Why…oh why…did I wait so long?  Why did I think that the ‘clunk’ would hurt more than laying in bed screaming in pain for hours and hours, week after week, drugged off my nutter!

Why did I think that the inconvenience of going regularly to a chiro could be worse than laying in hospital for Christmas, and New Years, and having my family fly down to be at my bedside and hold my hand, barely able to get out of bed, with a catheter?

The team that keep me out of hospitals…

Since then…I have managed to get a team of chiros in South Africa, USA and Australia that ‘keep me going’ on tour.

Just found a great one in San Diego (now I know when the headaches and backpain start that in a few days and a few adjustments I can be back, acting like a teenager again without drugs).

My recommendations

So do I recommend chiros for your horse?  I am not qualified to do so…all I can say is I think I would be about locked up in an insane asylum myself by now if I didn’t have chiropractic support for myself.  So…knowing what I felt like…the relief…the joy!

Now…I get chiros for my horses.  But…qualified ones!  Not a stockman with a tennis ball and a good attitude, but someone who’s been to college/university.   You owe it to your horse to do everything you can to give them the relief that I feel every day.

As I said, I’m not qualified to make medical recommendations.  All I can do is tell you my story.  It’s a story that I would never replace with anyone else’s.  If I hadn’t been in so much pain, I wouldn’t be so body-aware, educated.  I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and wouldn’t be able to work with the paraequestrians that give me so much joy.

Thank you universe!  What a life I have!

UPDATE – STOP PRESS!!!

World’s leading research team recommend equine chiropractic to assist in laminitis rehab to help with back and body pain! http://www.ahf-laminitis.org/2010/12/laminitis-attack-first-line-of-defense.html

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