Recommendations for a No-BS Chiropractor in San Francisco or Mountain View
January 8, 2011 9:28 PM   Subscribe

Unfortunately, I think I need to see a chiropractor. Which I am unhappy about. But, nonetheless, I am looking for recommendations in San Francisco or Mountain View, California. I am by no means a special snowflake, but I do have some details inside.

I am having an issue with the T4 vertebrae in my back on the left side. I have already tried massage, which helped for about two hours, but seems to have made it worse, as it has gone from just pain to small spasms.

I am deeply skeptical of chiropractors. I really don't like the pseudo-science or the fact that you can never go just once, it seems like they always start you on some years-long regime of adjustments.

However, I did have some pretty bad lower back problems a few years back in Arizona, and I had a reliable recommendation for a chiropractor. This guy was great, no mumbo-jumbo, just made some adjustments. After four visits, I felt totally better, and he told me I didn't need to come anymore.

Since I am in California now, I need a recommendation for another chiropractor, because this seems like the kind of problem a good one could solve. Can anyone recommend one similar to the guy I saw in Arizona in either San Francisco or Mountain View?

I am anticipating that this question will provoke some comments on why chiropractors are snake oil-salesmen, so please note that I am basically on your side. I just also know that if I go the medical route, I am basically in for a long ordeal of muscle relaxers, painkillers, and surgical options, which I would very much like to avoid if at all possible.
posted by twiggy32 to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Have you considered physical therapy instead of chiropractors? It's medically backed but more like what chiropractors do than what surgeons do.
posted by brainmouse at 9:39 PM on January 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jim Donak is a great bodyworker in SF. If you have any MRIs, X-rays or medical records talking about what's going on with your vertebrae, bring'em along. He works with the folks over at the Circus school, and he knows all the intricate variations and issues that can crop up for the body.

He can do the chiropractic equivalent of a "low velocity adjustment" - he'll find out exactly which vertebrae are off, put a thumb in your back, and "click". That said, what he does that's more useful is that he gives you a set of exercises to stretch and strengthen for your needs, specifically tailored to whatever you got going on.

That's going to be more useful for you in the long run than just a quick adjustment.
posted by yeloson at 9:51 PM on January 8, 2011

From personal experience, I recommend the Egoscue Clinic in San Francisco. Not chiropractic, but I think they might be what you're looking for. Here's an interview with Pete Egoscue on his experience and his method.

Best of luck and welcome to California. :D
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:08 PM on January 8, 2011

My husband has some major vertebrae problems. Physical therapy has proved much better than chiropracty.
posted by fifilaru at 10:11 PM on January 8, 2011

Spinal Manipulation Therapy can be done by chiropractors or by physical therapists. It's the same thing, and had been show to be about as effective as other back pain interventions.
posted by delmoi at 10:17 PM on January 8, 2011

Seconding Egoscue's exercises, which have helped me a lot and have the added benefit that that you can do them for yourself, by yourself. No repeated (expensive) appointments necessary for "maintenance", although I think it's good to get an initial evaluation and go back if you need to revise your routine.
posted by Quietgal at 10:39 PM on January 8, 2011

I discovered the Egoscue method after 15+ years of chronic back pain, the sort where every two to three years it'd flare up to the level where I needed a back brace, cane, and heavy-duty prescription painkillers.

Today, three years after starting with Egoscue, I ride my bike everywhere, I climb trees, I can do a full butt-to-the-floor-and-back-up squat, and as long as I do my exercises regularly my back doesn't hurt. It's been so life-changing for me that I'm looking into getting trained and certified in the method so I can help other people get themselves out of pain.

The people at the SF clinic are really nice and very good at what they do. I've never been to the San Jose clinic.

Much sympathy, btw. Back pain is so debilitating, and I think that until a person experiences it there's no way to really understand that everything is connected to the back. Laughing? Back's involved. Sneezing? Back's involved. Brushing teeth? Back's involved. Rolling over in bed? Back's involved.
posted by Lexica at 10:52 PM on January 8, 2011

You might also look for an osteopath instead of a chiropractor, I've been much happier with the results. I don't know any in your area though sorry.
posted by fshgrl at 1:12 AM on January 9, 2011

Best answer: I can sincerely recommend Mark Heslip as a good chiropractor. Ive referred several of my friends and they have been quite pleased as well as releaved. He's great, and no BS ever.
posted by buzzv at 6:12 AM on January 9, 2011

Most of the chiropractors I've known on the west coast are not the snake-oil type.
There are a couple therapists at Psoas Bodywork who are certified in Active Release Technique which is soft tissue work developed by a chiropractor to complement adjustments. I've seen amazing results with ART on chronic between-the-shoulder-blades issues. I worked with Martina from that clinic at a seminar and thought her bodywork was excellent.
posted by olecranon at 7:22 AM on January 10, 2011

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