If you are a regular reader of our blog, you know I do not typically write about myself. But through the years I have been most affected by personal stories of success. So I would like to share with you my story, which includes how I resolved my chronic headaches and neck pain.
My Car Accident
So unfortunately I have been in several car accidents; however one in particular caused my neck pain and chronic headaches. In 1996, I was involved in what most people would call a “minor” fender bender. My car was at a stop and I was hit from behind at about 20 mph. I was looking in the rear view mirror and was aware of the oncoming collision. Additionally, my car was an older compact car, which means the back bumper did not crumple and take the brunt of the impact, I did, or my neck and brain did. I drove on to work following the collision. Within 15 minutes I was experiencing neck stiffness, neck pain, a headache, and some mental confusion. An ambulance was called, I was checked out in the ER, and released with a diagnosis of acute whiplash. I believe they gave me a neck brace and some muscle relaxers. I was told to take ibuprofen for pain. Does this sound familiar? This is standard following a “minor” car accident. X-rays will be negative, neurological exam will be negative, and you will be sent on your way after being told that you will feel better in a few days. This is not always the whole truth!
Neck Pain and Headaches
Within a couple of days, I felt like I could barely hold my own head up on my neck. Not only did I feel the need to constantly recline to rest my neck, I also began having headaches that were there all the time. To make a long story short, I was told to follow up with a doctor. I underwent many more tests, including x-rays, CT scans, MRI’s, orthopedic testing, neurologic testing, ect.. The outcome of all these tests, nothing could be found other than muscle spasm in my neck. More medications were prescribed for my headaches and I was encouraged to continue resting.
The neck pain improved somewhat, at least to the point that I could hold my own head up. I still had chronic neck pain and stiffness, but it was manageable. I was able to go to school and work again. My headaches were another story. They did not resolve, but developed into several different types of headaches. I was never without a headache, one was there all the time! The headaches varied in how bad they were, but never let up. I was diagnosed with tension headaches, migraines, and rebound headaches. Further treatment included injections by needle into the base of my skull in an attempt to relieve the spasm and decrease the pain. These injections were excruciating and provided very little relief. I went through a series of these injections three times, was on continuous pain and migraine medication, and overall was not doing very well.
Fast forward two years, I am still suffering from constant headaches and on daily medication and have emergency migraine medication. I have managed to find a way to just live with these headaches and my neck pain. This is where I believe fate decided to step in. I applied for and was hired as a chiropractic assistant for a chiropractor in Denver, CO. Now you would think that I would tell this chiropractor immediately about my affliction. Well you would be wrong, because like most everyone else, I had only seen a chiropractor once in my past for low back pain, and I did not know that chiropractic could help me. Chiropractic was never offered up as a possibility in all of my two years of treatment by anyone.
Chiropractic Changed My Life
One day my accident came up and the fact that I suffered from a headache all the time for the last 2 1/2 years. The chiropractor I worked for was shocked. By this time, I had learned to mask my pain quite successfully, and to others I was a normal, fully functioning adult who was happy and healthy. He immediately talked with me about options I had with chiropractic care, and he basically promised he could help me reduce my headaches, if not eliminate them all together. This was a pretty big promise for someone like me who had just accepted that I would live with these headaches and neck pain for the rest of my life. I was 21 years old and had accepted this reality, because the medical doctors had all but written me off. I had even been sent for a psychiatric evaluation to be tested to see if this was all in my head by the insurance company. The insurance company was not very happy that my case remained open and that I was not improving. So I decided what did I have to lose?
Needless to say, after a trial of chiropractic neck adjustments and therapy to my neck, my headaches began to decrease in intensity. And then one day about 4 weeks in, I woke up and felt light as a feather and clear headed. I wondered what was wrong with me, and then I realized that I did not have a headache for the first time in over two years. I had forgotten what that felt like. My best description was I felt free, light, and I could think again. It is a very hard thing to describe. This lasted for about 2 hours and then a headache returned, but I now felt that chiropractic care may be able to help me. I had hope!
Chiropractic did in fact cure my headaches. There was more involved in my recovery than just chiropractic adjustments and therapy. The different type of headaches I had been experiencing all had to be addressed separately, the cause had to be found, and then we had to fix the causes. The rebound headaches began to disappear with the elimination of my medications. The migraine medications and ibuprofen were causing one type of my headaches. The tension headaches were resolved by addressing the misalignments in my neck, and receiving specific neck adjustments to restore normal motion and function to my neck. This also addressed and decreased my chronic neck pain. The cause of the migraines were most likely the trauma of my brain hitting the inside of my skull. Needless to say, by addressing the other types of headaches I was experiencing and removing some triggers from my lifestyle, the migraines also resolved. This did not happen overnight, but took about 6 months of continuous chiropractic care. And I still have to maintain this progress with regular chiropractic adjustments.
My experience with this “minor” car accident, my injuries, my subsequent care in the medical system for two years, and my recovery with chiropractic was my inspiration to help others as my chiropractor helped me. He literally saved me from a life of pain. You cannot put a price on that! And I wanted to help others too.
I had dreamed of being a medical doctor since I was 5 years old. Well my experience with chiropractic care changed my dream. I now wanted to be a chiropractor, spend quality time with my patients, find the cause of their pain, and change their lives forever.
I enrolled in Palmer College of Chiropractic West alongside my new husband and started my journey. Three and a half years later with an 18 month old child, my dream became a reality and my husband and I graduated from chiropractic college.
My education confirmed and supported my dream. A chiropractor has the freedom to not only spend quality time with each of their patients and really listen to them, but a chiropractor also looks for the root cause of the symptoms a patient is experiencing. We do not just treat the symptoms. I had always wanted to help people, and now I was able to not only help them, but empower them to live healthier lives.
Chiropractic Success Story
I am a chiropractic success story! I recovered from daily headaches and neck pain because of chiropractic care provided by a warm and caring chiropractor. There are so many success stories out there. We hear them everyday for every kind of condition you can imagine. Why am I sharing my story?
Well for one, this is why I became a chiropractor and 100% believe in what myself and all the other chiropractors do in their offices every single day. But more importantly than that, I want you to know that you to can benefit from chiropractic care. Even when you think or have been told that there is nothing else that can be done, and that it is all in your head, I am here to tell you that it most certainly is not. A chiropractor will search for the cause. You are not crazy and you do not have to lie with pain every single day. I want you to enjoy life again, as I am now able to, and become healthier and more educated along the way.
Who are we? My husband and I are chiropractors in Grand Junction, CO. We have been blessed to be able to help others and we would like to help you. Call today for your free consultation at 970-241-6366. You have nothing to lose.
I am also happy to answer any questions you may have, and I love for others to share their stories. Please comment below or contact us via the contact us button above. You can also connect with us on Facebook on our page, River Valley Chiropractic, LLC.
If you found this story helpful, share with others below and “like us” on Facebook for daily inspiration and health tips. I look forward to connecting with you.
Kirsten Liwanag, D.C., Grand Junction Chiropractor