Dysautonomia Blog Series: TICCTHMFNS - Adventures in Chiropractic....ia

We are halfway through our Things I Can Control That Help Me Feel Not Sucky (Dysautonomia Edition) blog series!

My apologies for the long delay between posts -- I've been trying to keep hanging on with everything. But, it is finally time to talk about how chiropraction....... chiropracticia.......

It's time to talk about how seeing a chiropractor has helped me!

In April 2013, Mr. S.E. Carson started seeing a chiropractor for various issues he wanted to take care of. While he and the chiro were chit-chatting during one of the appointments, Mr. S.E. mentioned me and my struggles with dysautonomia and fibromyalgia. To his surprise, the doctor nodded in understanding and launched into a full discussion with my husband about both illnesses. He then suggested I come in to see his wife (also a chiropractor) who has experience treating women with fibro and dysautonomia.

My Husband, being the wonderful man he is, was very excited about this. Not only that someone in the medical field had actually HEARD about these issues, but also that they were knowledgeable and felt like they could really help me. I, on the otherhand, wasn't so thrilled -- for a couple of reasons.

Reason 1) I've always been a bit leery about chiropractor and I have no idea why. I think, growing up, my Mom must've mentioned something in passing about this ONE rogue chiropractor who kept purposefully messing up peoples backs so that they would keep coming back to him and blah blah blah. Me, being the all-or-nothing kind of girl I am, apparently decided that meant ALL chiropractor are magical gypsies who know lots about cracking skeletons in just the right way to keep you coming back so they can make miiiiiillions while all your bones just continue to hitchhike aimlessly around your body.

Reason 2) I've sort of been jaded about people (especially doctors) claiming they know about fibromyalgia and dysautonomia. (Shocking, I know). The handful that say they do usually wind up knowing less than I do. It seems like they think they know about it it simply because they've heard about it, or read a blurb somewhere. It's like me saying I'm Kim Kardashian EXPERT simply because I read an article about her and will never get those 2 minutes of my life back.

Needless to say, it took a couple weeks for Mr. S.E. to convince me to go. Once I finally did, I found the chiropractor was very nice and, I have to admit, did seem to be surprisingly knowledgeable about my chronic illnesses. After asking me a thorough gamut of questions, she started poking around at me to see what the deal was. After a few "wows" and "hms" and a couple pops (that, I admit, felt oh-so-good), she told me that my body was a little messed up.

To steal a page from the brilliant Allie Brosh and The Oatmeal, here's my stab at a visual interpretation of my appointment.

Below is (as far as I can tell) a representation of a normal person's vertebrae:

(For those of you that need pictures that don't look like they've been drawn by a 5 year old... here's a picture (below) I borrowed from wikipedia:

And here's me and my vertebrae:

According to the chiro, my C1 vertebra (the very top one) is very much, and very angrily, out of place. This, in turn, messes with my spinal cord -- which moves down the spinal canal, straight through my spine/vertebrae. (Right: from idsportsmed.com)
 

Additionally, there are a lot of very important nerves at the base of the skull. Most notably is the vegus nerve which communicates with the parasymathetic nervous system, part of the autonomic nervous system. The vegus nerve helps relay messages from the brain to the heart, lungs, stomach (just to name a few) and helps controls digestion and circulation. Sound familiar, POTSies?

(Below: a very nice picture I found at http://www.newhealthguide.org/Vagus-Nerve.html, which made it so I didn't have to draw the parasympathetic nervous system myself.

Everyone thanks you, http://www.newhealthguide.org/Vagus-Nerve.html)

3831120_orig.jpg

So, since my (wonky) C1 vertebra is at the base of the skull, it might very well be pinching, or affecting in some way, my vegus nerve.

Anyhoo, after she was done explaining this, and seeing as fibro and dysautonomia are both nerve related disorders, I decided it maybepossiblydid make sense how that the C1 could be affecting me. And, over the past year, I do feel that getting adjusted has benefited my health and quality of life. In fact, I can typically tell when I am ready for an appointment by how fatigued I feel.

Of course, as it is with anything I post here, it might not work for everyone. However, I feel it's important to have as much information as possible in order to begin finding out what does help.

And, as always, remember you aren't alone!

- S