I promised I’d write about the osteopath visit.
In truth, there’s not much to say – He seems like a nice boy who wants to help, and also he seems really well-informed.
I said that I had hypermobility syndrome, and he outright asked “EDS-type or Marfan-type?” and then knew what he was being told when I said “EDS-type” – He asked if I got the bruising and fragile skin, and if I got just subluxations or also full dislocations.
He was, crucially, sympathetic. He told me of having known someone else who had been treating a Zebra, and how they’d basically just played merry-go-rounds with symptoms. The key thing, he reckoned (before I even mentioned it) would be chasing down whatever was over-tense and in spasm, and loosening it out. Nothing directly on my joints, not faffing with my spine.
He was straight-up honest; “You won’t get any improvement. You might get relief, week by week, but what we’ll be doing is chasing symptoms and picking a bit at a time, and trying to help you through the damage from whatever’s happened in the week before.”
I said that I’d seen a chiropractor before, and that I’d been badly injured by them, and he agreed that trying to do any manipulations (apparently meaning something specific in osteop terms) would be irresponsible and do more harm than good. He asked if physiotherapists had ever used massage or physical manipulation to try to treat me, and I told him truthfully that, other than C who did a lot of touching to correct my posture and A who had seen me long before my diagnosis, so was just treating the back pain, largely by trying to remove my legs one at a time, physios tended to be frightened to touch me in case pieces came off. He looked sad at that. My response was just to shrug, accidentally dislocating a shoulder.
But then he forgot that he wasn’t a doctor – He definitely wanted to push for osteopathy, rather than sports massage, since the sports massage “was too generalist”, and he really believed that osteopathy was the way to help me.
In truth all I need is a bit of a massage, of greater technical competence and frankly force than can be managed by someone totally untrained, but if I wanted something as specialist as what he was claiming to be able to offer, I’d be looking for a physiotherapist.
I can definitely see how someone who didn’t know that osteopathy had a very shaky evidence base would sign up – I’m undecided on whether or not to, since I do love the placebo effect, and I could just about afford this once a month or so – and having someone offer to help, and appear to genuinely care on a professional level, was rare and honestly felt nice.
I’m having to remind myself that the last time I got a massage here – After a nasty crash at roller derby – I walked away with a dislocated shoulder that didn’t sit right for a month. Not the same practitioner, but the same establishment.
But still, tempting.
I’ve talked about placebos before, how using them when you know that all you need to do is to safely switch the nociceceptors to “off” for a while isn’t actually the worst thing you can do (Getting to sleep by counting my beads is much more pleasant than getting to sleep by taking downers, and the former is good enough in about 25% of cases) and I’ve gone on at length about how a self-directed placebo can make things more bearable. I’ve also ranted about how putting the power to deliver that placebo into another person’s hands – Especially the hands of someone who wants to take your money – is a terrible idea.
But I can see why people might want to.
Oh, unrelatedly, my eye test showed that I was very slightly shortsighted: -0.25 sphere in the left eye, and -0.25 sphere, -0.25 cylinder and 100 axis in the right eye. So basically negligibly wrong, but I’m definitely not wrong to think that things are now blurrier than they were. I’m tempted to get very cheap glasses anyway, to see if I’ll actually wear them and if they actually help.
Oh, and tomorrow I’m going to see my family for the first time in nearly a year. Wish me luck.