Like before, but totally different

By Mir
March 17, 2009

So, as I may have mentioned, I’ve been having a little trouble with my neck. On the one hand, it’s handy for sniping at the children. “STOP BEING A PAIN IN MY NECK!” I can grouse, pointing at my poor neck, ensuring their therapist can buy a boat as well as a summer home. Sadly, I have only availed myself of that option in my mind, because I fear to do otherwise would be poor parenting.

Also, who has time to say such things when the little darlings are busy scrubbing the floor with toothbrushes and need whipping?

But, yeah, it’s been kind of a drag. I don’t know what I did, either. I mean, yes, I have a pre-existing condition from having had whiplash years ago, but I was totally fine. And then I woke up one day in pain. Very weird.

And chiropractic care had helped once before, so I figured I’d do it again.

Now—as I mentioned yesterday—although dear Dr. Chirowitz helped my neck lo those many years ago, he did sort of creep me out. I stopped seeing him not because I was in tip-top health, but because as my neck improved, my tolerance for his weirdness dropped. So. But I’d been assured by multiple COMPLETELY SANE people that OTHER chiropractors are nice! And normal! And not creepy! So I figured that I would find a new one and it would be a similar experience, treatment-wise, although the new doctor would hopefully not make me feel like I had stumbled into a cult induction meeting.

After a DELIGHTFUL dance with my insurance company, and then a waltz with my primary care physician’s office to get a referral, I found myself, yesterday, at the office of a local chiropractor. I had high hopes.

Inside, I filled out some forms. And then I did some paperwork. And after that, there were just a few (hundred) things I needed to sign. And finally, I agreed to spin some straw into gold OR present my first-born as payment for the day’s visit.

After all of that, I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually a doctor came out into the waiting room… and called someone else.

Finally I was called back and parked in a lovely little room with water sculptures and a big plush recliner and multiple bamboo plants and soothing music. The nurse (?) took my temperature and my blood pressure, and asked if I needed anything before the doctor came in. I didn’t answer, because I’d already fallen asleep in the recliner.

A couple of minutes later, there was a knock on the door. The door swung inward, and the chiropractor stepped into the room.

I looked up. And then I looked WAAYYYYYYYY up. The new chiropractor is approximately eight feet tall.

“Hi, Mir. I’m Dr. Paul Bunyan*.”

(Well OF COURSE he is.)

We shook hands, and I couldn’t help noticing that Dr. Paul was wearing a really nice wristwatch. In fact, we’ve been looking for a nice wall clock for our family room, and his watch would be perfect. I’d just have to saw off the straps. (Seriously, I have NEVER SEEN such an enormous watch in my entire life. He must’ve special-ordered it from the Fancy Gigantic People catalog. This guy is HUGE and the watch covered the entire topside of his wrist.)

You’d think such a big person would be intimidating, but in fact he was fairly soft-spoken and very nice and—perhaps most importantly—very NORMAL-SEEMING, and notably lacking in the brainwashed earnestness of my previous chiropractor. Talking to Dr. Paul about my neck issues was sort of like just chatting with a friend. You know, if my friend was an eight foot tall linebacker and wearing a wall clock on his wrist.

He took a detailed history, and then ran me through a series of little tests, like checking to see if I could balance on one foot and such. I told him my Wii Fit asks me if I trip on my own feet a lot, and he assured me that my ability to stand there like a flamingo was actually pretty impressive. I stood up and sat down and bent this way and that, and finally Dr. Paul finished writing and said, “Well, I usually don’t do adjustments on the first visit. But I can see you’re really in a lot of discomfort, so, let’s see what we can do. I’ll see if I can’t do a couple little things here.”

Let’s pause here and review my previous chiropractic experience: Dr. Chirowitz adjusts via instrument, and I had told Dr. Paul about that. He’d nodded and said that he’s also trained to adjust that way, but that that method is generally something he only uses on the old and infirm, who might find a traditional adjustment too uncomfortable. “I can feel what I’m doing a lot better if I adjust through hands-on spine manipulation,” he explained. “Is that okay with you? I can use the instrument if you’d rather, but I do prefer not to.”

“Oh, that’s fine,” I said, waving my hand. “Do whatever’s going to work best.”

I lay down on the table and Dr. Paul checked this and that. My right leg is longer than my left, he explained, because one of my hip joints was too tight. So he artfully arranged one leg across this way, and my arms angled up just so, and he stood beside the table, bracing my extended leg, and then he leaned down over my hip and *pop*, something broke.

Well, no. Nothing broke. It felt kinda neat, actually. Not unlike what I can do on my own during yoga. Just a little *pop*, after all.

Dr. Paul rechecked my legs, after that. Same length! Success!

Then he felt along my spine, and noted that it felt like “something was going on” in the middle of my back. I admitted that it was sort of tight in there, as well. “I think I can fix that,” he said, very matter-of-factly.

He had me turn over onto my back, then cross my arms on my chest, and he sort of rolled me to the side and I thought he was going to drop me on the floor, but he assured me that he wasn’t, and he slipped a hand under my middle back and then laid me flat again. I followed his instructions to curl upwards with my chin on my chest, and then he told me to exhale as I relaxed back down.

I can’t tell you for sure what he did while I was exhaling and lowering my head, because it was kind of a blur, but he sort of went all Jackie Chan above my crossed arms and just before my head landed back on the table, my back went poppopPOPPOP!.

For a moment I lay there, stunned, wondering if I was paralyzed for life.

And then, a moment later, I realized I was okay. And that’s when it happened.

I started laughing. Not, like, “Oh, heehee, that was funny,” sort of laughing. More like hysterical braying. More like “OH MY GOD PAUL BUNYAN IS GOING TO SNAP ME IN HALF BUT I SORT OF LIKE IT BUT THE ABSURDITY IS TAXING MY BRAIN” sort of laughing. I laughed and laughed and laughed and put my hands over my face because I COULD NOT STOP LAUGHING.

Dr. Paul regarded me with mild amusement. “Sometimes people laugh,” he offered, no doubt trying to make me feel better.

“Oh GOOD!” I sputtered, inbetween giggles, “THAT’S GOOD TO KNOW!” And I kept laughing. Dr. Paul waited a few seconds. As my giggles tapered off to snorts, he asked if I was ready for another one. I said “Sure!” and resumed giggling.

He arranged me, again, by rolling me sideways, placing one hand under my spine (higher, though, this time), and having me cross my arms on my chest. This time when I exhaled and lowered my head I was ready for the *CRUNCH* of pressure and the resultant pops, and so I didn’t become hysterical again.

(Dude. TOTAL LIE. I laughed and laughed and laughed some more. I was horrified and yet I COULD NOT STOP.)

Dr. Paul then repositioned himself at the head of the table and took my head in his giant hands. “Just relax,” he told me. “Relax into my hand as if it were a pillow.” I was finding that sort of hard to do, though, because my pillow is a lot smaller than Dr. Paul’s hand.

With his other hand, and with the fingertips of the hand cradling my skull, he felt along my neck for a bit, and he probably said a few things, and then he turned my head a little and said, “Okay, now, I want you to wiggle your toes.”

And I complied, thinking: “Huh, that’s weird, why am I wiggling my t—”


While I had been pondering my toes, Dr. Paul had removed my head from my neck. Rather, it certainly felt that way. I reacted as anyone would, in such a situation. I burst out laughing. Again.

Only this time, I felt the need to justify it. “OH MY GOD!” I sputtered. “You just! I mean! And it was LOUD! Holy hell that is LOUD INSIDE MY HEAD! The popping! And you just! AHHHHHH!”

He chuckled. “Yeah, I have you wiggle your toes so you won’t realize it’s coming,” he admitted.

“Well that’s just GREAT,” I replied, “except that now you can NEVER ADJUST MY NECK A—”

He did it again. Sonofabitch.

This time I laughed so hard I was on the verge of crying.

“Are you okay?” Dr. Paul finally asked.

“Yeah! Great! Never better!”

“Okay, well, we’re done for today. Drink plenty of water for the rest of the day—you’re likely to be kind of sore, and water will help with that.”

“Okay! Lots of water! Hey! You know what? That is all REALLY DIFFERENT than getting adjusted with the little pogo stick thingie!”

He chuckled again. “Was it okay, though? You feel alright?”

“Yes! It’s good! Fine! Though I do seem to sort of be shouting!”

I went home and drank a lot of water. Interestingly, my back was sore, but my neck was not. (This morning, my back is fine and my neck is sore again. But less sore than it’s been. Progress!)

I’m going back tomorrow. I’m going to try really hard not to cackle like a deranged mental patient, but I make no promises.

*PLEASE NOTE that I made it through this entire story without making a single reference to a big blue ox. Wait. Dammit!


  1. Megan

    So, would you say it was a Samba or a Tango with Dr Bunyan? I’m thinking Tango maybe as all that rose-swapping would really whip the neck around but good. Also Tangos are inherently very, very funny.

  2. Angela

    So totally get the laughing thing. I went to a chiropractor for almost a year several years ago. Laughed my *ss off. You’re normal. Or neither of us are. And I really prefer to think that I’m normal.

  3. exile on mom street

    You just described my every visit to the chiropractor, except that I have the giggling thing under control now.

    Oh, BTW should you ever have the urge to take a 2 year old child with you to your appointment, DON’T! Apparently when a man snaps Mommy’s neck it’s very traumatic. Who knew?

  4. Tammy

    Oh Mir, you made me laugh so hard the people in the dentists office across the hall were wondering what was going on.

    Did you know that Paul Bunyan lived in MN? And the reason we have so many lakes is because of his big feet? It is. There’s a big ‘ol statue of Paul and Babe (the blue ox) somewhere north of me. Brainerd, maybe? Anyhoo, just a little bit of info for you to tuck away for those nights when your trivia team needs you to come through in a clutch.

    BTW, glad you’re feeling a bit better!

  5. Christina

    Always a sign of a good chiro. When he adjusts you, you laugh. It’s a “release” thing that my chiropractor explained happens to some people.
    Weird feeling, I know. (Boy, do I know!) You will feel much better, much sooner than you ever would with the “little pogo stick thingie”

    Glad you found a good one, they aren’t easy to find.

  6. mamajama

    I love getting adjusted. You just made me jealous of all that bone crunching. I need to find a chiropractor now that we’ve moved, and this pregnancy is giving me hip spasms. Glad you are feeling better.

  7. Damsel

    OMG I had tears in my eyes from laughing at this because I can totally identify. I laugh when I get massages!

    We all know that laughter is a stress reliever. Sometimes relieving stress can induce laughter in sort of a reverse-osmosis kind of a thing. No, really. :)

  8. TheresaG

    The first time the chiropractor did the neck thing was a real shock. I didn’t laugh though. I sat there silently wondering if I tried to move my limbs if they would work, and would I even know if they weren’t working. I played through various scenarios of paralysis even as he did the a second round of crack snap pop on my neck.
    It took almost two months of twice a week visits for me to see huge progress. Hopefully for you it wont take so long (and that your insurance covers all the visits you need/want).

  9. Beachgal

    I never got the giggles after being adjusted, but I could never stop myself from the huge sigh of relief-type “OOOH” after having my neck done.

  10. Half Assed Kitchen

    Hmm. I have never visited a chiropractor. And i guess I hope I’ll never need to. Though I do have a soft spot for 8-foot-tall men with dogs called Bessy. (Wasn’t that the ox’s name?)

  11. Dustin

    Oh my gosh. Whatever he did to you to make you laugh is contagious, because now I can’t stop, and I’ve never even been to a chiropractor!

  12. Diahn Ott

    Oh My Word – I laughed so hard while reading this that I think I need an adjustment…

  13. Niki

    Apparently my first OB/GYN has chosen a new specialty. He was a huge man, with huge (frightening) hands, and only by luck of the draw (and a not-moving baby) did I get to have my first child 30 minutes before the Giant’s shift started. I was very grateful, as his hands terrified me.

  14. Heather

    LOL! The way he adjusts sounds similar to my chiro. I am always scared I’m going to fall the table too!!

  15. MomCat

    Hilarious! I’ll never be able to go for an adjustment again without chuckling.

    As a cautionary tale, I have an old neck injury from whiplash, too. Getting more than two adjustments in a week caused my pain to return, much worse, after an improvement on the first two days. Just sayin’. You’re a young whipper-snapper, so it may work for you.

  16. Tracy

    I’ve never been to a chiro but I have had massages and I got the same giggling effect. Wonder why? It is so embarassing especially when you try to stop and it only makes you giggle more. Gosh, I hate that! Glad you are on your way to feeling normal again!

  17. Kristi

    Damn. That all sounds divine! I want someone to pop me like that.

    I hope you feel better!

  18. ImpostorMom

    I suddenly feel the need to see my chiropractor again. Although I’ve never laughed hysterically I have had my chiropractor comment on the amount of pops coming out of my spine. Always a good sign. :)

  19. Laura

    It is Babe the Blue Ox.

  20. Aimee

    Haha! I love that, because it’s totally the type of thing I would do — either that, or go on a crying jag. My husband does this cool stress release exercise with me sometimes that just involves tensing and relaxing muscles, and it always makes me cry like a lunatic, and then collapse like a wet noodle afterwards.

    I’m glad you feel better, anyway. Maybe when you go back you should bring some snacks for Babe?

  21. Rachel

    I pink puffy heart chiropractic care! My mom took me for my 1st visit when I was ten years old (let’s just say 25+ years ago). I have never been adjusted by a pogostick thing, and the picture alone kinda scared me. Jealous of all that popping though! I have neck/headaches & a 10 minute visit to Dr Bryan does the trick every time!

    Tammy, Paul’s statue is H.U.G.E. in Bemidji, MN, also one in Akeley, MN. (search wikipedia “paul bunyan” & you’ll see a pic). I’ve got pics of my kids by both of those statues. I think there may also be one in Brainerd, but I haven’t seen that one. I grew up in Northern MN (10 miles from the Canadian Border) but now live in Grand Forks, ND. Paul Bunyan stories are awesome, because he lived in MN. = )
    And, to HalfAssed Kitchen, the ox’s name is Babe the Blue Ox. The statue of Paul in Bemidji has a statue of Babe right next to him. An adult can stand under Babe he’s so big!

    I hope you feel better soon, Mir!

  22. jennielynn

    Somehow, the image of the giant chiropractor and you laughing uncontrollably has made me laugh so hard I ruined my eye makeup. I may have to link to this post, if you don’t mind.

  23. dad

    You certainly are able to turn even the most mundane of happenings into an epic tale of horror and comedy.

    In most people’s lives stuff just happens…sorta boring. Don’t get me wrong. Life is very, very good. But after reading your blog I often wonder if I am actually fully appreciating each and every event.
    Your ability to “spin” is awesome.

    Count your blessings.
    Bless you.


  24. Wendy 2

    Wow, that sounds exactly like my chiropractic visits, which reminds me I’m due for one right now. The neck pain is getting to be too much. I’m so glad you found a good one, even if he is huge.

  25. Kelly

    I am cracking up. My 3 year old just walked up to me and stared at the computer screen, trying to figure out what was so funny. I have done the laughing thing so many times and completely relate to that! I hope your neck feels better!

  26. Pam

    That sounds like a WONDERFUL adjustment! I am jealous. I bet you slept like a baby last night!

  27. Robin M.

    Oh my… I should not have read that while eating tomato soup… I just about choked from laughing so hard. That was hilarious. I go to a chiropractor too (scoliosis) and sometimes I feel the same way. (I just hope I don’t remember this post the next time I am getting an adjustment… he might not understand what is so funny).

  28. Jan

    I am crying from laughing so hard. That is by far one of the funniest posts I have ever read.

  29. daring one

    I go to a doctor like that now and it makes my old doctor with the little popping gun thingy seem sort of wimpy and ineffective in retrospect. It took way longer to see results that lasted with the instrument adjustments. I love the image of you laughing you guts out on the table though. That’s awesome.

  30. Dawn

    Boy, that’s some technique Dr. Bunyan has! I was laughing just reading about it.

  31. Pat

    I have been going to a Chiroparctor like yours for several years, except instead of turning me on the table…he has one that stands you up & lays you down so you can roll over. I LOVE my Chiropractor. I don’t care what is wrong he can fix it!

  32. Fabs

    I laughed so hard I almost shot coffee out my nose! Thanks for the great details!

  33. Kady

    Oh great. Now I have coffee all over my monitor. Darn that Jackie Chan line!

  34. Lucinda

    Thanks for the great laugh today. Needed it as I’m enjoying the strep throat my daughter chose to share with me.

    Had to say that pretty much described many of my visits to the chiropractor. That neck adjustment scares the crap out of me every time because it is so loud!

  35. Kelly

    Oh that really amused me. I had a similar experience here with my chiro – who I love after he solved my hip issues no doctor could heal. My doctor actually sent me to him. Its so startling the first time, I think I laughed too… hopefully it helps! I’ve been converted for sure.

  36. Kath

    I love this …. you obviously needed a good adjustment. The emotional release can come by way of tears too, so don’t be surprised if that happens.

  37. Jean

    Mir, this is one of the funnies things I’ve read in a long time. Hope Paul continues to help :)

  38. Chuck

    That was hilarious reading. I never have laughed at my chiropractor’s office; I’m usually kind of going “whoof!” after each adjustment. He’s a triathlete who is in really good shape and it kind of makes you tired to watch him rushing about. But he does a good job.

  39. Nicki

    I actually work for a chiro and made all of girls here read this post. It is fabulous! Hope he ends up helping you, chiros really are magical if you get a good one!

  40. Sheryl

    Oh my gosh, that was hilarious. I can’t wait to hear about tomorrow’s visit.

  41. just beth

    I had to WIPE the tears off of my face. Thank you for the laugh.

    I’m going to read it again now.

    I may pass out, but it will be worth it.



  42. Scottsdale Girl

    You are so damned clever, you had me giggling hysterically just reading.

    I bow to you.

  43. Jen

    Too funny! Used to visit chiro but much prefer osteopath now. Same kind of popping but more massage-y if you see what I mean!

  44. Sheila

    I have never been to a chiropractor and now probably never will, as I have a fear of snorting in front of people.

    Good thing I usually read this blog while I’m alone.

  45. carolyn

    I laugh uncontrollably when I am surprised or scared. Surprise birthday parties? I embarrass myself with the laughing. Roller coaster? Same thing. I’ve just learned to live with it.

  46. ccr in MA

    Well, you have ME laughing out loud! I have a friend who swears by her chiropractor, but I’ve never gone to one; for some reason, the idea makes me nervous. Or maybe it’s just because I’m ticklish?

  47. carrien

    If I didn’t know he was still in Canada I would swear that your chiropractor and my chiropractor are the same person.

  48. Reagan

    Oh, I love the chiro!!

  49. David

    We SO needed audio of the snorting and cackling. I wonder what the other folks within earshot made of all that? And I loved that sneaky second adjustment. Too funny! Heck, it sounds like the visit was worth while just for the laughter. Great stress reliever, laughter, and stress can make your neck hurt.

  50. Heather

    OMG, I can totally relate to this story! I too started out with a chiropractor who used the instrument then switched to a hands on and was kinda freaked in the beginning! I am laughing so hard, the tears are running off my face!!

  51. Headless Mom

    This is so funny. Hubby wants to know why I’m giggling all the way through.

  52. Gwen

    hands on is so scary. my old chirpractor did one where id cross my arms across my chest and then hed hug me and lower me down. it felt intimate in a very weird way but it worked a charm. i’m a nervous laugher as well but i come out with a hyena like laugh thats ear splitting when im nervous. very embaressing :(

  53. Jane

    My hysterical laughter during a chiro visit story is a little different. My Mum took my sister and I to a chiro when we were in our teens – many, many years ago now! One incident that my sister and I STILL laugh about followed a shopping trip to buy new swimwear (and still at the age where it was a bikini…big sigh). Prior to our chiro visit, we had been trying on said new purchases, and had to rush quickly out the door for the appointment. During the chiro visit, I was lying face down on the table, ready for the POP, when suddenly the chiro says, “Ooh, hang on a minute, what do we have here?” When I heard the sound of scissors cutting I could have died of embarassment – I had left the bikini on under my clothes in the rush to get out of the door…with the sales tags still attached. There they were hanging out from my shirt in all their glory. So the chiro took it upon himself to remove them…meanwhile my sister, in the room with me, was HYSTERICAL with laughter, and my Mum out in the waiting room could NOT work out what all the laughter was about! I cringed my way through the rest of the appointment – at 15, life is full of so much teenage angst!

  54. Sara

    My computer is in with the computer fixing guys. I’m using the computer in the library, you know, where you are supposed to be all quiet and everything? You made me laugh so hard and I was trying to laugh quietly that I no longer need to see a chiropractor, because the contortions I had to do to keep from howling caused me to do my own adjustments! Seriously. Hilarious!

  55. pam

    Hey I say take the opportunity to laugh out loud whenever you can!

  56. Nancy

    I love my chiro visits. I go once a month, whether I feel like I ‘need’ it or not. That back Jacki-chan like move was a HUGE help through my pregnancies. I even took the youngest to a chiro who specialized in children in an effort to help with her colic. Dude blew me away when he asked how she came out…she was born via c-section and he wanted to know how they pulled her out…legs, arms….that’s a GOOD question.

    My chiro now lets my youngest use the foot pedals to move the table up and down while he’s working on me.

  57. Debbi

    I love love love a good chiropractor! Glad you found a good one. You had me laughing soooooo hard over this post, thanks for the laugh :-)

  58. emily

    Dang. Your posts should come with a “you will probably laugh out loud at work, and people will look at you strangely” warning.

  59. Leah

    That is hilarious. I have never gone to a chiropractor but wanted to.. until I read your post and since I am a snorted and crier when I laugh maybe I shouldn’t go.

  60. Keyona

    Holy crap that was funny! I don’t have back or neck problems but if I ever do I know where I’m going.

  61. Catootes

    wiggle your toes.
    Why doesn’t my chiropractor use that line?

  62. amy

    I have honestly never laughed this loudly at a blog post in my life. This is a classic. Thank you for sharing in the absurdity.

  63. steph

    I laughed until I thought I was going to pee! That is exactly the way I react at the chiro. What is it? Some kind of release?? Seriously, I hee-hawed and woke up my napping kid! I love your blog.

  64. Lindy

    There is a vets office here that uses the pogo stick thing on dogs for some kind of chiropractic thing. Kinda weird. Freaks me out.

    Does Paul Bunyons office smell like latex and root beer? Because every chiropractors office here smells like that and it creeps me out.

    Medical massage ain’t doing it anymore. I need to meet your Paul Bunyan.

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