Three weeks ago I endured a rather severe tension headache which kept me off work for two days. Although it was a lot better on the second day, I still went to the doctor on the second day, mainly to get a medical certificate for the second day (while work allows me two of my ten sick days without a medical certificate, I want to save those for something vaguer). However the doctor I saw on the second day told me I should visit a chiropractor for some further assistance.
Now I was somewhat less than enthusiastic about this suggestion. In the Simon Singh vs the Chiropractors of Britain, I was on the side of Simon Singh. I have advised family members not to visit chiropractors on the basis of the unverified claims that chiropractors make. When I admitted to my sister I was going to see the chiropractor she burst out laughing.
A few factors got me over my distrust. The first was the fact that it was a regular doctor who had recommended it, so the chiropractor was riding on his credibility. Second was that the letter of recommendation was addressed to someone with the title doctor. I assumed that this indicated that the person had some non chiropractic medical qualifications and had simply branched out into chiropracty. Finally, about the only area chiropractors treatments may be of use is for spinal conditions, which is what the GP suggested was the problem.
So about a week later I turned up at the chiropractor. Actually I first turned up across the road at the medical centre which was a lot more obvious and professional looking. Only after not finding the chiropractor on the building directory I looked around and saw the chiropractors office. It was a slightly worn down old house with a sign out front. I walked in and introduced myself. while signing in, I asked if the person I was seeing was an actual doctor and was informed that they were in fact a doctor of chiropractic. This was less than reassuring. The all natural massage oil didn't feel very clinical either.
After waiting for a little while, I was ushered into the main room. On the wall were two posters. One was of a nice landscape with some platitude about chiropracty and overall health. The other more worrying one was of a bunch of sesame st style puppets with a kid getting some sort of treatment by a puppet chiropractor. This I did not like.
The chiropractor was a bit late, and after a quick read of the letter from the GP, had a look at my back. After a few different twists of my neck to see where the problem may be. After this was what was essentially a back massage. The only thing different was that she also had a mini jackhammer doohickey she used to apply pressure to different places.
My back felt a bit better afterwards, but in much the same way it feels better after any massage. My skepticism about the whole endeavour remains, and I won't be going to the follow up session the chiropractor suggested. In fact she suggested regular sessions, which at 50 bucks per 15 minutes is a lot more expensive than a massage.