When I meet people in town they usually say, “Oh hey, I know you. You’re Dr. Jim. I read your column in the paper. I feel like I know you and your family from the photos.”
I realized that maybe I should actually introduce you to my family, because each of us truly has a chiropractic story. This week’s Spinal Column will introduce you to the people who put up with me daily and that I love greatly in return. I have also included a picture of the whole family...for now anyway. It seems to continue to grow and grow. The more the merrier I always say!
So let’s start with the guy on all the way to the left. The one whose hair has somehow sprinkled itself with gray. That is me. When I was in second grade I was cruising around on my bike and tried to go over a jump with the older kids in our neighborhood. I went sailing over the handlebars and slammed head first into the street. I arrived home with blood streaming down my forehead. Of course my mother rushed me straight to the emergency room where I was given all sorts of tests on my skull.
The extent of the injury was officially stated as “swelling to the forehead.” All indications were that I had recovered just fine...just fine that is until I hit high school and was suffering from chronic low back pain! My parents tried the customary avenues...family doctor, orthopedic doctor, etc. Then my father suggested that I see a chiropractic doctor. After an exam and an x-ray it was discovered that I had a nasty curve in my low back that was actually my spines way of compensating for an injury in my neck area. The chiropractor asked if we could recall any accident when I was younger. Of course we described the incident with the bike crash eight years earlier. As the doctor explained it, my spinal bones had been knocked out of place and never corrected; therefore they fused themselves there. The rest of my spine was curving itself around trying to make me straight. Hence the nasty curve. The chiropractor “adjusted” my spine. The adjustment didn’t hurt.It actually felt good. I felt relief. He put me on a plan for regular adjustments so we could correct the problem in my low back. Eventually I was back playing the sports that I loved. Unfortunately it was too late to fix the fusion in the cervical area. I was so amazed at the processes of the human body and grateful for what chiropractic had done for meand desperate to tell others that permanent damage can be prevented. I went to chiropractic school following my four years at Penn State.
So, let’s move on and talk about the guy in the front row spread out like a GQ model! That is my son Jimmy. He is now 8 years old. When Jimmy was just 1 hour old I checked his spine to see if all was where it was supposed to be. Even though Jimmy’s delivery process had been all natural and relatively easy, just two hours of labor, five minutes of pushing and no pulling by our midwife, I was not surprised to find that the combination of his cramped position in the womb and the natural process of birthing, caused a bone in his neck, C2, to be out of place. I adjusted Jimmy six times thorughout the next two weeks in order to finally get the bone to stay in place. Since then Jimmy simply gets his weekly adjustments to keep him in line.
The other guy on the far right in the photo is my stepson, Dan. When I met Dan he was like many other kids diagnosed with asthma. He had been taking medication and an inhaler to control his asthma for 12 of his 14 years. He was able to engage in sports while growing up, but there were side effects to the medicine that made Dan and his mother very uncomfortable. He could feel his heart pounding too quickly.
His hands were visibly shaking. He had a very difficult time being still in class, to say the least. The teachers labeled him a “bad” student. He hated feeling this way, but his mother knew of no other solutions for his asthma. Dan started coming into my office for regular adjustments which means three times a week for a couple of months. I know that sounds like a lot. And it is. But the bones in Dan’s spine had been in the wrong position for 12 years! That is really a long time. So much scar tissue had built up around each bone and so much damage had occurred to the joints in the location of the misalignmentsthat it took a lot of work, one adjustment at a time, to break apart the scar tissue and return the bones to their correct position. The longer bones are in the wrong place, the longer it can take to correct them. That is a huge reason why we love to adjust babies and children. If Dan’s misaligned bones had been put back into place when they actually moved out of positionjust one adjustment would have corrected it. And, trust me, kids bump, bang and kerplunk their bones out of place very often. Well, his mom and I are very happy to say he has been free of asthma and related medicines for 12 years now.
Now, look down to the left in the photo. Rounding out the male chiropractic stories in our family is “Big Luke”. He is my youngest son. He is 7 years old. Luke’s story is short and sweet. We were fortunate once again to have a relatively easy delivery process. Of course my wife was under chiropractic care throughout pregnancy, which, if you read my last article, you know helps prepare both the women and the baby tremendously for the process. We were worried Luke wasn’t even going to wait the 20-minute ride to the birth center. Shortly after birth I checked Luke’s spine and he needed a very minor adjustment. That was all. No major issues. Like the rest of us, Luke receives his weekly check ups. He is a rough and tumble fella, so he usually needs an adjustment or two!
I rambled on a bit too long and am out of space for this week. Next week I will tell you the story of each of the lovely ladies in our family. Stay tuned!
See you next week,
Dr. Jim Schaffer of Kimberton Chiropractic Center, Phoenixville, is a weekly contributor to The Phoenix. 484-921-4936 www.kimbertonchiropractic.com