I’ve got an explanation: My back hurts. I did not injure it. I was not in a car accident. I’m 56-years old and sometimes it just goes out of whack. But here is the main reason I’ve been seeing my chiropractor so much. I am a recovered alcoholic and I have bipolar II.
You see, I can’t and don’t want to take muscle relaxers. I might abuse them. I don’t want a shot of some steroid because if you take the pain away without correcting the problem, I will go back to my usual exercise routine and very likely hurt myself.
Exercise is a critical component of maintaining my mental health. It’s not just the endorphins, it’s the way I feel – energized, strong, capable. It builds my self-esteem and gives me confidence. It’s the camaraderie and fun I have at the gym. It’s my tribe.
These things are as essential to my mental health as stretching and crunches are to my physical health. In my mind, physical and mental health are one: If my physical health fails, so goes my mental health. If my mental health suffers, so does my body.
You cannot separate mental and physical health. They are one.
I want my insurance company to understand that traditional medicine – muscle relaxants, shots and surgery – aren’t the only way of getting rid of back pain. The deep tissue, trigger point massage I am getting is not pleasant. The physical therapy is uncomfortable. The adjustments are necessary to put everything back in place.
But this kind of treatment takes time. Over and over and over the muscles, tendons and ligaments have to be pulled and stretched and put back in place. Gradually, the pain will melt away.
Trust me, after all these years I know my body and I know my chiropractor. I trust her and so does the NBA player getting worked on beside me.
So please, please, please insurance company, let me get well this way -without jeopardizing my sobriety and masking what needs to be fixed with shots.
In the long run, this will save you money.
Image of chiropractor available from Shutterstock.