If I hadn't experienced this myself, I wouldn't have believed it. In fact, I almost didn't believe A. for the past year, as she ever-so-gently encouraged me to consider it. (She knows that with me, the harder you push, the more I resist... She knows this because she's much the same way... And that's one reason we are friends.)
She would slip a reference to the conversation here and there... Tell a story... Make an off-hand comment. And finally, once almost all other options were exhausted, I said, "OK, OK, I hear you! Give me the number for your chiropractor, already!"
I went. I blogged about the initial experience. It was horrendous. I called A. and asked, "What kind of witch doctor did you send me to?" She did her best to calm me down, which was hard, considering the amount of pain I was in.
I called the chiropractor on it, too. "What have you done to me?!" I demanded. He calmly explained that the initial adjustments were actually quite gentle... My reaction was uncommon, but not unheard of. He looked me straight in the eye and said, "I know this will be hard for you at the moment, but I'm going to ask you to trust me and stick with me. We'll get through this, but it's going to take time. I need you to just trust me."
I almost walked away. But I didn't. I agreed to trust him... or to try... at least for a while.
Now, it's been six weeks. And I'm glad I didn't walk away.
It got better after that... And has been getting progressively better ever since. I am still injured but overall, the pain is greatly reduced. My performance in the gym is better than it has been in months. My range of motion and the feeling that my body can actually move again, are better than before I was injured. Overall, I am feeling better than I have in a long, long time.
The injuries seem like just that now: Injuries.
I was thinking about all this yesterday, as I was lying on the table at the chiropractor's office. I lie face down, relaxing before it's my turn to be adjusted. I feel his hand on my neck, as he greets me, running his hand down my spine. I grunt when he gets to the usual hot spot. He works out the knot and then has me lie on my side.
As I lay there, in a fetal-like position, with my own arms hugging me, he tells me to relax. This is necessary to make the adjustment properly. I have to surrender my physical self and let him roll me towards him and do his work. Even though it feels like I will roll off the table and clunk with a thud to the floor, I have to trust him not to hurt me or let me fall. And I do.
After the adjustment, I feel great... as has become the norm.
I told him yesterday, "If this is what 'normal' feels like, I had forgotten."
He said, "After you were hit by that car, you had a lot of pain. You just learned to live with it, so pain became your 'normal'. After a while, you don't even realize that you're in pain any more... until it's released."
As I reflect on previous blog posts, I feel myself nodding as I start to realize that my inability to "feel" (as in, "feel" my way through exercises, know how to "feel" if I'm doing an exercise correctly or not, and even to "feel" pain) were all connected... A certain numbness or inability to feel... correlated to blocking out or normalizing pain as a way of living.
I am beginning to understand -- on a very physical level -- that it doesn't have to be that way. "Normal" feels way better than "numb".
Having said all that, I have been "feeling" a heck of a toothache these past few days. I think I have a cracked filing. I have my doubts about making it through any more dental work without anaesthetic (as I have done since I was 16) ... I normally would just block out the drilling. I wonder if I could still do that?