I suppose I should be glad that it has been so many months since I've been to the chiropractor. Back in the 1980's while ski-ing I knocked my sacroiliac joint out of place. I had several years of pain before discovering an osteopath who was also a GP. Dr Malcolm Melrose, near Corbridge in Northumberland, got me biking and hiking again. In 1991 I mountain-biked an off-road route across Spain, roughly following the pilgrim route to Santiago and then I realised I was fit again.
In 2002 Liz and I hiked the 2568 mile Pacific Crest Trail (online journal) from Mexico to Canada, carrying packs for five months with not a twinge from my back. Since then, and possibly caused by the body rotation used in Sea Kayaking, I've been having problems again.
Things were particularly bad in early 2005 as I was training quite hard for the five day adventure race, The Hebridean Challenge. During the event itself, I had to miss a day paddling after I'd twisted, dragged my boat one-handed, and aggravated the old war wound. A lovely masseur helped relieve the pain but told me she could clearly feel the joint out of place.
Because I now lived in Scotland I couldn't travel back to my old osteopath in Northumberland. I tried one in Glasgow but he charged more than fifty pounds a visit and made my problem worse. Dr Michael Roger was recommended to me and, like Dr Melrose did twenty years ago, Mike gradually knocked me back into shape. It was the first time I'd visited a chiropractor rather than an osteopath.
Liz insisted I had to do more to look after my body. She dragged me to yoga classes at Balance which I've started to enjoy. In six months of yoga I didn't need to return to the chiropractor until today, so that's worked well. I'm not sure what went wrong, but I suspect it was because I'd missed a few weeks yoga and the added stress of my trip to Spain. Whatever it is, I hope it's sorted now but suspect I might need a couple more tweaks. This is the website of the chiropractor I use, but Michael has recently bought the business so I'm not sure if the phone number is right.
Lying on the bench, being whacked in the back, made me think about how an osteopath once described the difference between the techniques of osteopathy and chiropractic. "We osteopaths use the long lever approach to manipulate a joint", he told me, "whereas chiropractors put much more direct force on the joint that's out of place." The point he was making is that osteopathy feels more gentle. "An osteopath who wants something in the next room walks over to the door, goes through it, then back to where he wants to be. A chiropractor walks through the wall...."
It was meant as a joke, but having been on couches of both, it feels a bit like that. If it works, does it matter?