Monday, March 13, 2023

You might be surprised if you go to a chiropractor for the first time.

When standing straight and getting out of a chair became difficult, I decided to take advantage of the free chiropractic sessions my Medicare Advantage plan provides.

I entered the office of Dr. Michael Luban on Chicago’s Pedway expecting to lie facedown while Dr. Luban twisted, pushed, and pressed my spine into alignment.

In fact, Dr. Luban manually manipulated my spine only once for less than a minute during the four times I saw him. He mostly treated me with a high-tech instrument called a Pro-Adjuster 360.

As I sat with my head and upper body leaning against supports, Dr. Luban went over my spine from top to bottom with a U-shaped device. It analyzed joint motion and gave a reading for each vertebra on a computer monitor. Dr. Luban held the same device with greater pressure on each problem area to adjust it. He then took another reading to compare the results. My spine was better after the first treatment and aligned after the fourth.

After the last appointment, I remarked about the painless treatment’s being very different from the spine-twisting stereotype that makes some people fear chiropractic.

“We still do that,” Dr. Luban replied, “but you didn’t need it.”

He sent me away with instructions to call him when my back starts to hurt again. Bodies need tune-ups every so often, he believes.

Use of technology is not the only change in the chiropractic profession. A practice that medical doctors not long ago derided as quackery is now seen as legitimate. The American College of Physicians supports chiropractic treatment for low-back pain, insurance plans including Medicare pay for it, and MDs and chiropractors refer patients to one another.

Dr. Scott Haldeman of the University of California, one of the world’s foremost spine experts, believes that scientific research is largely responsible for the advancement of chiropractic. Research has shown chiropractic to be effective, especially for back and neck pain and certain types of headaches. Yet Haldeman, who is both an MD (neurologist) and a chiropractor, admits that why chiropractic works remains somewhat mysterious. “The truth is the mechanism is not well understood, just as back and neck pain are not well understood,” he told Time magazine.

A publication Dr. Luban gave me explains it this way: The nervous system controls or influences the function of every cell in our bodies. Nerves communicate through the spinal cord. A misalignment of one or more joints in the spine puts pressure on the nerves, causing pain and other symptoms. Chiropractic adjustments, by hand or an instrument like the Pro-Adjuster, return the vertebrae to their normal positions.

I believe chiropractic treatment helped me. Whether it deserves all of the credit for my improvement, I don’t know. I also spent many hours with a heating pad, and time itself probably helped. At any rate, if I feel the need, I won’t hesitate to see Dr. Luban again.

Marianne Goss blogs at

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