Snap, Crackle, and Pop

I haven’t taken to eating boxed cereals, although I do thank Rice Krispies for coming up with that slogan. I’ve discovered there are drawbacks to being independent that I hadn’t thought about… like the one that landed me in my new chiropractor’s office where I heard those sounds coming from within my body.

It started off so innocently. Our outdoor swing bit the dust so Bear took it apart. I decided our hammock chairs would look great where the swing had been. Ah, but Bear was busy moving the parts of the swing from that part of the patio.

I could do it if I went slowly. So I pulled one of them partway down the walkway, then pulled the second one. Of course, pulling meant going backwards. Why I was looking forward instead of backward, I’ll never know. I managed to trip over the foot of the first hammock frame.

My arm was scraped from one end to the other. My thigh had the biggest black and blue mark I’d seen on my body to date. But worse of all, my neck hurt. No problem, I figured. I’ll just wash out the scrapes, ice the neck and the thigh and I’ll be fine. But I wasn’t. Hence, the chiropractic visits.

It’s been two weeks. The arm is almost healed, the black and blue mark moving toward disappearing and the neck barely hurts at all. Hmmm, if chiropractic is so good for these aches and pains, could it also be good for my kidneys?
The Medical Dictionary of The Free Dictionary at defines chiropractic for us:

Chiropractic is from Greek words meaning done by hand. It is grounded in the principle that the body can heal itself when the skeletal system is correctly aligned and the nervous system is functioning properly. To achieve this, the practitioner uses his or her hands or an adjusting tool to perform specific manipulations of the vertebrae. When these bones of the spine are not correctly articulated, resulting in a condition known as subluxation, the theory is that nerve transmission is disrupted and causes pain in the back, as well as other areas of the body.

Chiropractic is one of the most popular alternative therapies currently available. Some would say it now qualifies as mainstream treatment as opposed to complementary medicine. Chiropractic treatment is covered by many insurance plans and in 2004, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced full inclusion of chiropractic care for veterans. It has become well-accepted treatment for acute pain and problems of the spine, including lower back pain and whiplash.…

I didn’t see anything in my research to connect this type of medicine and the kidneys, so I tried thinking about it another way. What are the major causes of Chronic Kidney Disease? We know diabetes is the first and hypertension the second.

I took a look at ( and found the following:

The average person may not recognize how diabetes and chiropractic are connected. What does the back have to do with blood sugar? Often, an electrician understands this faster than most people. Interfere with the current flowing through the wires and the appliances or areas of the house lose normal function or might even catch fire.

If the nerve supply from the upper neck or middle back (the two areas that supply the pancreas) are disturbed, pancreatic function suffers; maybe in its ability to produce enzymes to digest proteins, fats and carbohydrates, or maybe insulin production, or both. Blood sugar and digestion become unbalanced, resulting in either in diabetes or hypoglycemia.

Nutritionist Carolyn Heintz further explains:

Chiropractic care might be helpful to diabetics if problems in the spine affect blood flow to the pancreas. The pancreas releases insulin in the body which is necessary to regulate proper levels of glucose in the blood. If the pancreas is not receiving enough oxygen and nutrients through proper blood circulation, perhaps this might have an effect on insulin production.

Another way chiropractic treatment might help those who suffer from diabetes is by alleviating pressed nerves on the spine to allow for a regenerated connection between the brain and the systems that are involved in the endocrine system and a body’s metabolism. Also, when the nervous system is free to work properly, the body can work to heal itself better.

You can read the rest of her article at

This makes sense. If there’s a ‘short’ in the system, it’s just not going to work. If you correct the short allowing the current to flow, you could be shortcutting diabetes… and maybe Chronic Kidney Disease.

Well, how about hypertension? How can chiropractic help with that?

This caught my eye, but it will need some explaining. I discovered it at

Upper cervical chiropractic treatment, “performed by a mechanical chiropractic adjusting device” was noted to decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressures, and these findings were published in 1988…. More recently, it was found that the Atlas Adjustment lowered blood pressure with the effectiveness of “two blood pressure medications given in combination”, according to Dr. George Bakris. The drop in blood pressure as a result of the realignment of the Atlas vertebra was “an average of 14 mm Hg greater drop” (systolic) and “an average 8 mm Hg greater drop” (diastolic), compared to “sham-treated patients”.

Cervical means “relating or belonging to the neck, or to any body part that resembles a neck,” according to Encarta Dictionary. In the paragraph above, it means the neck. Here’s a picture of a mechanical chiropractic adjusting device. It’s used if more than finger or hand pressure is needed for spinal adjustment and sounds almost like a stapler. It doesn’t break the skin, simply manipulates the spine.

The Atlas Adjustment is a little harder to explain. The topmost vertebra of your neck is called the Atlas because it holds up the globe better known as your head. Remember your Greek mythology? Atlas supported the world. It’s this vertebra that is being manipulated.

I, for one, am convinced. I was wondering whether or not to continue the visits since I’m feeling better. It sounds like something I should do. How about you?

Until next week,
Keep living your life!

Put Your Back Into It!

The TableI thought we’d try something a little different this week. Instead of writing about the book as an add-on at the end of the blog, I’ll write about it in the very beginning. Sales are steady – which I find surprising because I have offered no book talks, no book signings, no advertising, no press releases, no public relations of any kind for well over a year. This must be due to word-of-mouth. For that I thank you all and want to keep reminding you that each time you buy a book, it allows me more income to spend on books for donation. Please keep up the good work there, readers

Today, it’s Bear’s turn to have his medical problem examined. Bear is actually Lieutenant Colonel Bear, U.S. Army Retired. (You do realize I’m having a little fun with his name here, right?) Twenty six years ago he had an accident while serving our country that cost him his coccyx and the fusing of two lumbar vertebra. It’s been progressively more difficult for him for him to go about his daily business,  but he keeps on keeping on.spine

When I first met him, I noticed that his body was tilted to one side but didn’t dwell upon it because we were at the age when bodies start to give out. I figured this was just the way that age was treating his body. As we became more and more friendly –  and then more and more loving –  and finally decided that we wanted to spend whatever time we had left together and even married (Thank you very much, Landmark), I asked him what the pills he was taking were. Some of them were painkillers. When I asked why, he told me about the surgery  and the fusing of the vertebra that was performed in Germany –  which had state of the art surgical practices at the time – while he was stationed there.

Some days, he was really in pain and some days he wasn’t. Several weeks ago his pain was so bad, Bear asked me if we could make an emergency appointment with my chiropractor, Dr. Cathy DeVore of Cactus Chiropractic in Peoria out here. He was desperate.  His pills weren’t working and he’d tried everything else: ice, heat, physical therapy, nothing had helped enough to keep the pain away. Dr. DeVore is the consummate professional and, as such, took an x-ray of his back before she even touched him. That’s what we first saw what looked like the top part of his spine sliding off the bottom part. This is one very smart chiropractor who told us we need to see an orthopedist. She could do nothing for my Bear.

aching backDr. Francis Tindall, my orthopedist, rushed Bear in for an appointment and quietly took me aside to tell me this was bad, very bad.  This is an orthopedic surgeon who never once recommended surgery to me the entire decade I’ve been seeing him. Now, he suspected there was no alternative for Bear.  My heart sank as I watched Bear’s face turn whiter and whiter while he struggled into the correct position for the MRI Dr. Tindall ordered.  It was as we had thought.  Not only was his spine twisted, but several of the lumbar vertebrae were, indeed, no longer aligned so they were on top of each other as they should be. The top of his spine turned right, while the bottom turned left. Dr. Tindall was emphatic: this was nothing for an orthopedist to deal with.  Bear needed a neurosurgeon.

I called each of the neurosurgeons on the list Dr. Tindall gave us, including the neurosurgeon who had operated on him.  The closest appointment I could get was three weeks away.  How was Bear going to make it?  No position was comfortable and his spine was in a precarious position. Luckily for us, one of the receptionists told us of a doctor who had just retired from his own military service and could make room in his schedule to see Bear in just a few days.  We thought we had the answer, but he suggested surgery as the way to go and Bear was not willing, despite his pain.  So the doctor sent Bear to pain management.

At Valley Pain Consultants in Scottsdale, Bear had two procedures one week apart.  Before each, he had to fast for six hours and abstain from taking certain types of medication. Each procedure consisted of two (the first time) or three (the second time) steroid epidurals to decrease the pain and inflammation.  The procedures included a local anesthetic before the injections and fluoroscopy {an x-ray of sorts} to confirm the needle was in the proper space. The injections did the trick.  But Dr. Spiro did not seem to believe Bear. Just a week later, we saw why.

Bear was in such agony that we rushed to our local emergency room for a 10 mg. morphine injection.  I can’t figure out if that caused Bear not to care about the pain anymore or if he didn’t feel it.  The P.A. at Arrowhead Hospital in Arrowhead (where else?) out here neglected to give my husband a prescription for an anti-nausea medication, though.  So he was in, shall we say, an altered state and nauseous as all get out.  You may remember my daughter Nima just had gall bladder surgery.  I was talking to her about her own recovery when she asked why Bear didn’t just take the anti- nausea medication.   Bingo!  A call to the E.R. and a trip to the pharmacy took care of the nausea.  the shot

Yes, as far as we know Bear will have surgery to have a sort of metal cage placed around three of his vertebrae to keep them aligned.  Yes, it is serious and dangerous – even in this time.  And, yes, we don’t know what’s going to happen.  So we’ll do what we always do: think positively and deal with it.

If Bear had Chronic Kidney Disease, he couldn’t take all those painkillers on such a sustained basis. For one, morphine is not something you can take if you have kidney disease. But there are other reasons you may not be able to take pain killers.  For example, I can’t take oxytocin because I have sleep apnea. Let’s consider today’s blog a cautionary tale to take care of whatever ails you immediately – as in before you need pain killers on a sustained basis – because you DO have CKD.

Before I sign off, I did receive my blood tests results including my vitamin D levels.  They’re right on target.  I guess I’ll have to accept that I am one of those people who do need vitamin D supplements.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!