Quacks and toubibs

I have had this nagging sinus problem for as long as I can remember. Every couple of months, I get in order: a sore throat, a drippy nose, wet cough, nasty infected nose cold, low energy, nose clears up, throat stays congested for a while and then sore throat again. The cycle takes anywhere from 3 to 6 months and the bad infected phase lasts for 5 to 9 days approximately. A real pain in the rear. Now, my mom, hi mom if you are reading this, insists that this is the lingering allergy to milk and chocolate that I had as a toddler and for which I was mercilessly tortured during my youth by deprivation of chocolate pop tarts, oreo cookies, milk shakes and the like. Obviously, when I was no longer under her wing, I threw caution and this allergy to the winds and indulged in chocolate ice cream – the pinnacle of evil for this supposed allergy. Now for years I wasn’t getting sick or anything other than the occasional cold. Now, for about the last 7 or 8 years, I have had this recurrent sinus thing and can’t figure where it is coming from. I have seen: generalists, allergy specialists, ORLs, osteopaths, radiologist/surgeons all to no avail. No one can explain or relieve me of this wonderful runny nose. So tonight, I went to one of the two roads I have not traveled down: I went to see a chiropractor. [The other one is acupuncture and as I saw a book about that at this chiro’s office, perhaps she’ll try that too] Back when I lived in the US, I remember that in the 80’s, chiropractors enjoyed a massive fad when it seemed everyone was going to get their back cracked. Well, either that was urban legend or there are two strains of this practice out there: the crack your back kind for which I never went or the soft kind that I had tonight. I was asked to breathe, hold out my arm and got a strange cranial massage. She basically found that: I have an inflamed liver, I have 5 cranial bones that should move when I breathe but due to my stress level, they aren’t moving enough, generally massive stress in the cranium and shoulders. OK, so perhaps. I have a whole Brinks truck worth of homeopathic medicine to try and 5 more sessions to see what impact this will have.

Thus my subject on this post: is this a valid medical practice (they do study for 6 years and get a doctorate apparently) – the word ‘toubib’ is French slang for doctor – or is this a fake discipline that is expensive and not reimbursed by the Sécu (social security) or my Mutuelle (complementary, employer-supplied health insurance)? I guess I’ll go ahead with the 5 sessions and report back. I suppose the only thing that will really suffer will be my wallet. Who knows, maybe this’ll be the miracle cure. Or not.


About mfinocchiaro

IT Architecture Guru for large PLM software company but dabbling in Web 2.0 and other stuff.
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5 Responses to Quacks and toubibs

  1. Keith says:

    Nice commentary on the use of Chiropractic therapy. I have been taking advantage of Chiropractic therapy for over thirty years. At the time Chiropractors were considered to be quacks, as stated by my MD doctor. As a young student I pinched a nerve in my back and was told by my doctor to take some pills and stay in bed for two weeks. Yeah, right! After six weeks of walking in a stooped over manner, hobbling actually, a friend told me that if I stretched my back by hanging from a door or a bathroom stall, the US variety, that it might relieve the pain. I tried this and felt immediate relief. The next comment from my friend was that I needed to see a Chiropractor, which I did. After the xrays and a consult with my chiropractor, the doctor stated that I had a common problem and that he could fix me. Fifteen minutes later I was standing up straight and walking normally. It took a few days for full recovery but the pressure on the nerve was relieved and I was back to normal very quickly without spending two weeks in bed. Long story but over the years I continued to get educated, both about myself and about the Chiropractic profession.

    There was a lawsuit filed against the AMA, “Wilke vs AMA” which was settled in 1987. The Chiropractic profession had been maligned, defamed, and were considered to be quacks by the medical establishment, I visited one of these so called quacks and discovered just the opposite.
    There have been many studies conducted which show that treatment by Chiropratic therapy can be twice as effective and being treated by an MD for the same injury. You can google the reference “Wilke vs AMA” and find the link to a more detailed description. The AMA lost the suit. Chiropractors are now highly respected by those who use their services, myself included, although there may be exceptions as in any medical practice there are good doctors and some not so good.
    “Crack the Back” type of therapy is a poor reference and an equally poor practice. It needs to be done when your muscles are relaxed and sometimes your body will not allow this to happen. Massage therapy helps to loosen the muscles and make movement of the spine easier and usually precedes any adjustments.

    As for me I get regular treatments, every two weeks, to combat the thinning disks due to aging, and to keep myself in alignment to prevent further nerve pressure. I have felt the effects of stress in my shoulders just as you described, and know well the effects that stress and tension can have on your body. I too suffer from allergies, chocolate, dairy, weeds, pollens, and grasses. I can’t comment on the effects of Chiropractic on allergies, but there could be a link. The nerves that reach your extremities, arms and legs and other body parts also go through your spinal column and therefore there may be a relationship, although in my opinion stress and a lowered immune response is more likely the cause of your constant or cyclic infections. De-stress and take a couple of weeks of down time and see if your infections don’t go away for awhile.

    Oh, and fyi, the classroom training for a Chiropractor and for an MD are the same. I think that there are some differences but overall the differences are very minor. I’ve seen the course requirements and they were basically the same.

    I may have exceeded the word count so I will stop here, but I am an advocate of Chiropractic therapy and it has served me well.


  2. Susan says:

    Michael, I have tried chiropractic medicine (some successful and some not so much) as well as acupucture. By far, I would recommend the acupucture. I suppose some proffessionals are better than others but, that’s life. Perhaps, they would throw a session or two in the mix so you could see if you felt better with one or the other. Or you could ween yourself off chocolate, dairy, peanuts etc. and feel like a kid again!!
    The Mom

  3. Ray says:

    it’s more an Osteopathic doctor you went to see for your back, isn’t it?

    • mfinocchiaro says:

      I have a feeling that the categories of chiro and osteo are a little fuzzy over here in France. I actually saw practioners of both and found the treatments similar. The osteo worked my legs and skull more whereas the chiro worked my arms and sinuses.

      Thanks for the comment 🙂

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