Archive for Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alternative medicine proves to be effective

July 29, 2010

You don’t expect to go to lunch with a colleague and get hauled off to her Chinese chiropractor, but it can happen.

I have been having jaw problems since I finished treatments for breast cancer — whether or not the two are related is unknown. What I do know is that I have been to a plethora of medical providers, each doing their best given their specific area of expertise, to offer me some relief — relief that would take its form in reduced pain, the ability to open my mouth and, more than that, the ability to chew.

I have become quite fond of my food processor and blender. I can make a smoothie in a matter of minutes and can blend foods together that you might never dream of mixing. The pain in my jaw, however, has largely gone unchanged since December of last year when I turned my head and heard a loud popping sound in the right side of my jaw, accompanied by severe pain in my ear and jaw.

Those of you who have had the experience recognize the symptoms as related to temporomandibular joint disorder, which affects the joint where the lower and upper jaw form a juncture. When the joint is affected for whatever reason, and the reasons are many, the joint pops and when inflamed, makes a crunching sound.

Well, that is more than you wanted to know. TMJ is also extremely difficult to diagnose and treat, or so I am told by traditional practitioners of medicine.

Back to my lunch with my colleague, who I hasten to add is a Polish mathematics professor at Kansas University. If there isn’t a scientific basis for something, she is unwilling to sit still or accept the matter until she finds a fact to support it. To wit, she says to me, “there is no basis for the lack of resolution of this problem,” picks up the phone and makes me an appointment with her Chinese chiropractor. I feel like I am in a foreign country and act like a scared 3-year-old when I walk into his office, so unknown is this experience.

I walked into his office after eating soup; I walked out and ate a hamburger that evening. On the Fourth of July, I ate an entire meal with my family. Is the issue resolved? Not entirely. But do I believe chiropractors, massage therapists and acupuncturists have a place in the healing process? I do now.

This past eighteen months have been a journey down the road of traditional medicine, as well it should, in the treatment of breast cancer and other diseases. The healing process includes other members of the team as well. Alternative medicine has its place.

Tell me your story.


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