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Posted by Dorothy on 12/03/04 at 23:25 (165165)

Julie - You asked how I'm feeling..... Seems to be an unreliable improvement; up and down. Just when I think I'm turning the corner, I find that I'm really not. It's discouraging and feels like a cruel kind of teasing that me body is doing! Ah, well.....

I do hope that your sense that you're making an improvement holds true and progresses well. Is an osteopath the same as a chiropractor or a doctor of osteopathy? How did your diagnosis regarding the facets get made, if you don't mind my asking? Was it x-rays? I haven't had any images of my spine taken since I was in a bad roll-over accident in the mid-80s. I don't know why; it would seem to me to be the normal course of diagnosing, but I've not had any x-rays, mri-s or anything like that.

Babbling on.....Better try to sleep.
Take good care -

Re: Dorothy

Julie on 12/04/04 at 06:47 (165169)

Yes, it is very discouraging to think you're getting better and then to have a setback. I'm still a novice at this game, but am getting ready for a longer haul than I thought it might be at the start. I have been in extreme pain since yesterday morning - always par for the course after a treatment that moves a stuck joint, but I feel confident that Nikki (my osteopath) did a good job on that rogue joint and that I will be feeling better by the middle of next week (her prediction in response to my 'how long?' question). I have known her for 11 years and she has always been able to help me through the minor stuff my back has given me, so I trust her and the treatment.

Your question about osteopaths and chiropractors. My understanding is that there are more similarities than differences, but generally speaking, chiropractic relies more on manipulation and adjustment, osteopathy on soft tissue work. I did a little googling and found a website that goes into detail about the differences:


A good osteopath diagnoses by touch, but will always ask for Xrays if they seem to be required. They feel what is going on in the body - this is what they are trained to do. (It is a 4-5 year degree training, so yes, they are Doctors of Osteopathy). Nikki can put her finger on a suspect joint and feel whether it is where it should be and moving as it should be. She does very little manipulation and always at the end of the treatment, after she has worked on the soft tissues. I suppose I have had a dozen or so reasons to visit her over the time I have known her, so there is a long-established relationship of trust and mutual respect. She has never failed me yet, and I don't think she will now.

I gather, from your questions, that you haven't had any treatment, chiropractic or osteopathic, for your back. I'm not going to suggest that you do: I don't know what your feelings are regarding complementary treatments (of this sort, for this sort of problem: I do know that you are as open as I am to the more holistic end of healing). And perhaps while one is in the throes of a serious episode isn't the best time to put your spine in the hands of someone you don't know. But you could consider asking around, getting recommendations, talking to practitioners - so that next time you need help, you have an idea of what is available, and maybe have even earmarked someone you think you might be able to trust. Actually, BEFORE you need help, ie before the next episode, would be a better time to try someone out, and start developing a relationship.

This is just a tentative suggestion. My own experience with osteopathy has been unfailingly good, so I would lean towards an osteopath. I do feel that soft tissue work is very important - manipulation is a major thing, and I would feel unsafe with anyone who did not spend a great deal of time softening and relaxing the surrounding tissues of a joint before attempting to move it. But I do know that osteopathy is much more common in the UK, and chiropractic in the US, so your investigations might have to be amongst chiropractors. There are different kinds: some do more soft tissue work than others.

I hope this ramble is useful and at least answers your questions. At the very least you should certainly have Xrays, which would show up any vertebral problems (though not muscular ones).

Yesterday's release of the rogue facet has made a difference. Although I have been very sore since, as I said, I can tell that it is no longer jammed because I was able to sleep on my side and got a good three hours last night. Bliss! The valerian surely helped too - thanks again for the suggestion. It does smell like old socks.

Cheers - have a better day today.

Om Shanti

Re: Dorothy

Kathy G on 12/04/04 at 09:39 (165177)

For what it's worth, if I had my choice, I would go to an osteopath instead of a chiropractor. I don't know how it is in the rest of the US but here in NH, most of the osteopaths are primary care physicians these days and very few do any kind of massage or manipulation. And if they do, the insurance companies won't pay for it.

That being said, I was fortunate to find a chiropractor who doesn't do harsh manipulations and seems much more like the osteopaths I've seen. He doesn't touch anything he thinks is out of his range of expertise and isn't opposed to sending his patients to an orthopedic surgeon or PCP if he thinks it's necessary. Since I've developed arthritis, he is even more gentle in his treatments, and does much more massaging and softening of the tissue around the area as Julie so aptly describes it. Sometimes I think he is being too gentle but his treatments still help so obviously he knows what he's doing.

Finding a good chiropractor seems to be done best by word of mouth. I wouldn't go to anyone who wanted to do xrays on me, especially someone who had his own xray machine. And I'd avoid a chiropractor who insists on setting up twenty appointments in advance. My guy says to call and make another appointment if I feel it's necessary. Sometimes he'll say that I might have to come back in three or four days, but that's rare.

I've seen too many people waste their money on unethical chiropractors who took their money and did them no good. If you can find a good one and establish a relationship with him, you are lucky indeed. As the first chiropractor I went to, long deceased, rest his soul, said to me, 'Kathy, if you ever meet a chiropractor who swears he can treat anything from a bad back to a common cold, run away from him, as fast as you can!'

By the way, my brother-in-law who's a bit crusty and refuses to go to a doctor unless he's dying will go my chiropractor on occasion. That's how good he is. Wish I could send him to you, Dorothy!

Re: Dorothy

Dorothy on 12/04/04 at 13:47 (165183)

Julie -

Just a short note - my last two doctors have been osteopaths and I chose them (out of limited 'pool') because of that and my hope that they would be of the sort you describe. They were not. I have personal friends who are doctors (M.D.) (not in my town/area) and,based on knowing their histories, I think that many of the D.O.s in the U.S. went that route as a way of going to medical school but having not been accepted into 'regular' medical school. Not all, surely, but I would guess most.
Neither of the D.O's I have seen do anything different from an M.D., except they have not seemed to me to be as good. It's been a disappointment. I would like to have x-rays, but -as I have mentioned before - our medical care is really pretty poor. It is entirely based on cost-savings for the medical group and not patient-centered at all.
When I am able, I will specifically and forcefully request x-rays or other imaging - just because I want to know exactly what is 'in there' (maybe old socks!)

Feel better, Julie -

Re: Dorothy

Julie on 12/04/04 at 15:31 (165184)

It would surely be useful to know what's going on in there, and what you're really dealing with, particularly as your problems stem from a serious car accident (and particularly if it's old socks - I can just imagine the sorts of problems they might cause).

It's interesting what you say about the osteopaths you've known. I did know that the practice is much more common here than there, but did not realise how differently they treat. I'm sorry, and wish you could see mine.

Thought I was better until this afternoon, and then the effort of getting through the day, largely taken up with making arrangements for my classes to be taken next week, caught up with me, and I am quite sore now. Ready for another night. Valerian - please work.

Take care, Dorothy - feel better too.

Re: Dorothy

john h on 12/04/04 at 18:25 (165193)

My understanding is that an Osteopath receives less training than an MD. For example two Doctors might be assigned a body to work with in Gross Anatomy in a typical medical school whereas there might be 6 assigned in a school of Osteopathy. I see some major medical groups now that may have an Osteopath as well as a Chiropractor on staff. Of course there are other differences.

I read recently that in the U.S. it is now more difficult to get into Veternary School than Medical School. A lot of smart people just do not want the hassel of lawsuits, high medical malpractice insurance, long hours, being on call, etc and are opting for Vet school. I know from personal experience it cost me considerable more to take my cat to the Vet than my office visit to the family Doctor. Not only that I wait longer at the vet than the Doctor. My Vet is where President Clinton took Socks the cat when he was Governor of Arkansas. Socks has a brother who lives in Little Rock near the Governor's mansion. Mean old Bill Clinton gave away Socks to his Secretary. I just cannot imagine giving away a long time pet unless it because of illness or such. Current I have Tiger II who is bout 9 years old. He came when Tiger I passed on at age 19 who was replaced by Ivan who passed on at 18.

Re: John and discussion of doctors, etc.

Kathy G on 12/04/04 at 18:35 (165194)

It's so true that fewer and fewer young people are going into medical practice. They seem to be pursuing other avenues such as physical therapy, nursing, etc. but not doctoring. My own doctor told me that he had tried being in his own practice but between the hours and the malpractice insurance, he just couldn't keep up. He's now part of a group and although there are some rules and policies that his group adheres to with which he clearly doesn't agree, he makes the best of it.

Back when I was looking into getting a kitten, which I didn't do because Julie had the common sense to point out to me that one who is allergic to cats probably shouldn't have one, I was amazed at just how much it would cost me to be a responsible cat owner. I've read where it's becoming more and more common for people to have pet insurance. That's a big mistake; can you just imagine one more field being destroyed by insurance companies?

Re: John and discussion of doctors, etc.

Ed Davis, DPM on 12/13/04 at 19:11 (165582)

'can you just imagine one more field being destroyed by insurance companies?'
How sad but true!

Re: Dorothy

Ed Davis, DPM on 12/14/04 at 22:02 (165635)

Comparisons can be hard to make. Osteopaths in the US tried very hard to emulate MD's in training, to the point where courses on manipulation became optional at a number of US schools. The trend has changed and the 'new breed' of Osteopaths is taking a more active interest in physical medicine, manipulation and the roots of Osteopathic philosophy.