Monday, April 28, 2008

Bras Are Bad for Your Health

(Or, never wear an underwire bra to the chiropractor)

As I wrote my last blog, I've only been seeing this new chiropractor for a few visits, and from past experience I know that it takes a while to develop a working relationship with the body care worker. Especially a chiropractor, because you spend such a small amount of time with him or her at each visit. Snap, snap, and you're done.

The first couple of visits he did gentle, manual manipulation. But I've been curious about this machine that he uses called a ProAdjuster. When it's used on you, it looks like you're sitting in a typical massage chair, and the chiropractor uses an implement that looks like a large tuning fork, and using computerized models, he adjusts your back with a series of pulses coming from the tines of the fork, and supposedly, this works to put the spine back into alignment without upsetting the surrounding musculature. My father goes to this chiropractor, and uses this machine and finds it very helpful.

So after my first couple of visits, to "get my feet wet" so to speak, I wanted to try sitting in the chair.

The first visit was odd. When you're outside of the treatment room (the treatment rooms are closed off only by hospital type curtains, so you hear everything) and someone is being adjusted, it sounds like either very loud manual typewriting, or the rapid fire of a nail gun. Being under this gun, I felt like I was being gently jackhammered. But I believe in giving any kind of treatment at least a couple of tries (my PT always says to try things three times, but I have less patience), as sometimes it gets better, and I don't want to give up on anything that might offer long-term benefits just because of a bad first experience.

But the second time I felt like I was being less-gently jackhammered, and I was good and sore for about five days afterward.

It was back to manual treatments for me.

And that's how we proceeded. The first one back on the table went smoothly. The second, I came in feeling like my sacrum was all jammed up and twisted, and I knew that I needed an adjustment. After his usual stretching me around, it was clear to him to that we had to be a more aggressive this time, and he positioned me on my side in order to do a "standard" adjustment. This was not his bread-and-butter preference for treatment for me, as he didn't like to do this kind of twisting adjustment on people who've had disk problems (although my physical therapist contends that this is perfectly safe), and he said he would do it "once in a blue moon" when it was clear that I needed it.

So anyway, back to me on my side on his table. He positioned my legs around and got me ready and started to push on my hips to do the adjustment. When he hit with enough force to get the release, I felt this wonking pain in my ribs, and realized that my elbow had been pinned beneath my rib cage, and between my elbow and my rib cage was the underwire of my bra. I think I laughed and groaned at the same time, because of the pain, and because it was such a ridiculous "side-effect".

He asked me if I was all right and that the time I thought I was. But he was very quick to tell me that we got a really great release just at the point where I needed it. Which I apparently failed to notice, being distracted by my underwire's attempt to become a part of my rib cage.

Three days later, I'm still having pain. I've talked to a couple of people who have had broken ribs, and from what they said, if I had one, I would know it. This one only hurts when I cough or sneeze or laugh too loud, or when I turn over onto my side. Unfortunately, I'm in the midst of my allergy season, and on Saturday, I would alternate sneezing and swearing.

Hopefully, this is only some kind of muscle or bone bruise and will get better on its own. But let this be a warning to you ladies: take care where you wear your underwire.

It could be dangerous.


cmnacnud said...

As a chiropractor I was expecting something else from your title. Something along the lines of shoulder or upper back issues. I hope you don't mind that I found the actual injury slightly humorous. I've never actually thought about injury caused by the under wire its self when adjusting a patient. Thank you that's something that I will be more aware of in the future, as I'm sure you will too.

I am truly sorry that you were injured. However, from your description it doesn't sound like a break I think that you are correct in assuming some sort of bruise, though you might have your chiropractor check the rib attachments just to be sure there was no dislocation.

Opus P. Penguin said...

Thanks for your comments. I'm seeing the chiropractor again tomorrow and I'll ask about that.

Meanwhile, I wonder if I can sue Victoria's Secret? Not that I want any money for this, just it would make a really amusing news story. At least it would give the news anchors something to laugh about.