Monday, April 14, 2003


I was not comfortable with the chiropractor, both because I found the forceful adjustment threatening and because of the hard sell he gave me that I had to keep coming back. He told me I had arthritic degeneration in my spine; I assume most people do by the time they are 47. I was told 10 years ago I had arthritic degeneration in both knees and I do now use custom orthotics, but beyond that I'm not going to worry about the problem until it starts to give me pain, which it doesn't. I see the body as a good-enough machine, with lots of imperfections that can be ignored until they cause problems, not as a fine-tuned machine that has to be kept in perfect alignment. Perhaps those who treat their bodies as fine-tuned machines will live longer, healthier lives, but most of them I know are going to need knee replacements long before I do.

I'm not a fan of the authority games played by doctors, but I must say I respect more now how they have their act together. I tell my students that professionals are different from businessmen because they are responsible for serving the best interests of the client, they don't try to make money and let the buyer beware. Medical doctors (allopaths) have established at least the appearance of that professional role deep in their culture. I suppose the chiropractor believes that what he is recommending will all help me, but it sure felt like a hard sell where he was trading on his professional authority and my necessary trust to try to sell me much more than I needed. It was a real shock to have to treat someone who is in the role of a doctor like a car salesman. I found the comments to How-to lessons at Making Light helpful in thinking about that.

I can't tell at this point what difference it made, particularly because the most significant symptom (numb tingling toes) was already starting to get better. I probably will go back twice more since my massage therapist swears it will help me (to the point where he went with me to help me with how scary the force would feel to me). But the hard sell rings all my alarm bells.

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