I will never forget the patient I saw in Stouffville, Ontario, who was told by her chiropractor that the pain and lack of motion in her neck had to do with the osteophytes that had amassed on her cervical spine. After two series of 30 treatments, she came to see me and asked if there was anything I could do to help her. First of all, I explained to her that the osteophytes had likely appeared in an attempt to mobilize the neck in response to the original injury. I told her that, addressing the original injury by allowing the body to rewire, the body would quickly re-absorb the osteophytes.
After treatment, to my surprise, having seen her x-ray, she was able to move her head laterally almost 80 degrees to both sides: a great improvement from the 30 degrees she came in with. I suggested she get another x-ray to see if we could find evidence of the osteophytes disappearing. The x-ray was identical. This was one of the first times that I recognized that “solid” matter is not fixed.
I treated her once more. Her sixth month x-ray showed no evidence of osteophytes. It took between two weeks and six months for the body to reabsorb them. But she was pain free and fully mobile from the second visit on. How much impact did her understanding that her body was doing the best it could, and just on overdrive, free her mobility? It was clear that when she felt that the osteophytes were a limiting factor, she had little room for improvement.
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