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Just a few weeks ago, I had one of those patient encounters that literally brought tears to my eyes. I had been working on an eight-year-old child. Her parents brought her in because she had been suffering from pain in her back for several years. X-rays performed by a medical doctor a few years back were negative for any pathology. So medically there was nothing that could be done.

As soon as I laid her down on the table for the first time, I could see that something was amiss. Her pelvis was rotated and her spine had a significant curvature instead of the normal straight line it should have as she lay facedown. I knew that once this girl hit her growth spurt at puberty that curvature would worsen into full-blown scoliosis. At that point, correction would become much more difficult.

The great thing about working with kids is that their bodies respond so much more quickly than adults. They don’t have the years of misalignment, and perhaps degeneration, to work against. So I was surprised that after several visits she reported no improvement in symptoms. From my point of view, her pelvis looked better.  Her right short leg, though not yet even with the left, had improved significantly.  After seeing her for 2 weeks, I noticed that her legs were now even and the spinal curvature improved.  I ask her how she was doing.  She jumped off the table and said she was feeling much better.  She then happily proceeded to show me that she could now bend down to touch her toes.  Something she had not been able to do previously.

Although she still needs a bit more work, I’m confident she is on the way to better health. I do think this early intervention will save her from more significant issues later in her life.

It’s times like this that I think back on some of the more dramatic changes I’ve seen over the years.

I always remember the kid in his 20s who had been walking with a cane for about a year because of an injury at work. It took a full four months of treatment. But he was finally able to throw away his cane and walk normally. A few years later I ran into him where he was working as a waiter in a restaurant. He had no pain and he was able to carry heavy dishes with no problem.

This last example is especially poignant because I treated him through Workers Compensation Insurance. The state of California has since undertaken insurance reform in order to hold down Work Comp costs. As a result, chiropractic visits are limited to a maximum of 24 for the lifetime of a case.  If I were to see him today, they would not allow him adequate treatment. He certainly didn’t have enough money to pay cash because he wasn’t able to work.

Outnumbering all the dramatic cases are the less dramatic daily aches and pains that keep people from living their lives more fully. If these were somehow all added up, they would represent a significant dampening of our collective human spirit.  It is an honor and a privilege for me to facilitate (because all I do is facilitate) the healing of the human body.