Whoa! So I am Alive. Thank You. But I do look like I’ve been beaten and left for dead in the woods. Oh the marks on my body just make for a compelling story. They are in places I don’t think would be smart to post online. Okay moving along.
GET YOUR SCRAPE ON
This visit was definitely interesting! The clinic is a one story structure, the road is lined with tall old trees, and since it was 6A, it was a little misty and the area smelled like sweet fresh soil. Phone signal drops here and there. The door swung open and I couldn’t see anyone behind it. We were the only car to pull up and park. Finally after walking halfway through the dark lobby, I see Dr. Shierling emerge. A tall happy looking man. We start and I describe the litany of my last 8 months. He was just what the doctor ordered. He pulls out what looks like a Guashaw plate, dips it in lotion, and starts scrapping away at the spot in my back that hurt. Then he goes faster and harder till it began to sting . It was confusing pain. I brought up the Guashaw observation and he did say, “Yes this is much like Graston, Guashaw, ISMT other abbreviations.” But he does his in a way that purposely hurts. HE says many practitioners, (My PT came to mind) will only go so far with their treatment plan, stay within the boundaries of the certification and won’t really experiment with the technique for fear of getting sued or losing their license. “If you don’t do it hard, sometimes you just don’t heal. It needs to be strong enough to break the scar tissue that built up over time” I’m addicted to intensity, and with these injuries everyone who has treated me so far has just fallen short of the mark.
SCAR TISSUE REMODELING OF SURROUNDING AREAS
After each area of scrapping he would stop and tell me to get into a positive to aggravate the pain to test the efficacy of the treatment. In this case it was lying on my right side and rotating my body from my hips as far as I could go to the right. The first round I had already grimaced at a forth of the way out. He continued to scrape but this time instead of the ouch spot on my mid back itself, he did the neck, lower back and went all the way down to my lower leg on the right side. He would say “we are going to connect these points.” I assumed that means all areas were tight and pulling that one injured spot on my mid back. At each break, he would have me aggravate the pain again but with each time I could go further and further in my rotation before it began to hurt again.
Towards the end of the session he went back to that one spot and did the last all out sprint. OH it was so painful. It felt as if something was getting done.
MIRACLE CURE OR NAH?
However, at the end of the session. It did NOT feel like there was a miracle cure. He did not of course promise a miracle cure. His words were, you will know after the first treatment whether it will help you or not. And most of his patients only need one treatment, maybe a tune up the year after. It did however feel like a step in the right direction, and that finally we were able to scratch the surface. This was because the pain was still there when aggravated, but so many other things were present as well. It felt like blood was rushing to the area, the area felt different compared to before he started or even after all the other modalities (PT, TENS, Graston, Cupping, Massage etc).
He was regaling me with stories of many patients who had come to him from far way just like I did, with far worse problems and have had this as their exit strategy. That gave me hope that I could be fixed a lot easier than they were. Now he said that I do have to stretch every 30minutes for the next 3 days and every hour for the next week and I should know in a week if this really did the trick. Many of his other patients know within a day. Maybe this isn’t as cut and dry as their case. This is low grade annoying persistent pain.
I stretched every 30minutes alright, several times in the car, while on the hike to the Rocky Falls later that day, in the other two restaurants, (That coffee shop is never open BTW – See the first Ozark post) at the iHop before the airport, at the airport, in the airplane, while taxing in the runway, in the Blue Line and I continued to do so up until I write this two days later. But right after Dr. Shierling… I went back to the hotel and slept for 5 hours without moving a muscle except for my thumb to cancel my 30min alarms. My body was so tired and wonderfully so.
WOULD I RECOMMEND HIM?
Would I recommend him, YES. Was there anything that didn’t meet my expectations? It WAS NOT a cut dry cure, I still feel the pain however it seems to have moved (he says that is a good sign). So now its back to the drawing board whilst stretching. Who knows this might still disappear 100% by the end of the week and I won’t ever need a damn chiro onwards.
So why would I recommend him? He is probably the only kind of doctor who deals with chronic pain that I know who will listen and address every single complaint you give him. Shierling also thinks on his feet, if he sees something is leading him a certain direction he will take that direction and circle back to his process after. (My right side was hurting me, to peak his curiosity he treated the left side too, to see if there was anything going on there that we might potentially miss just because I wasn’t feeling anything on my left)
There is no stone left unturned. He is very well read, and great about putting as much as he can online. He is real. So the questions you would ask yourself, like “Is this something you’d see in the average dancer/athelete?” He is one step ahead of you because he explains before you catch yourself asking. He’s holistic, and I don’t mean that Eastern Voodoo crap (My mom will totally chastise me for calling it that. She’s big into Eastern Medicine and not very happy I’ve incorporated much of my medical/pharmacological practices into my lifestyle) By holistic I mean, I told him, “Doc I am not surprised I’m not healing quickly. In the past it takes me 3 months to get over a simple cold and that is with the help of heavy dose steroids.” He will also talk about this and see what out of the box or simple considerations you can take to address that.
He’s honest and doesn’t string you on the medical merry go round. Most Tuesdays and Thursdays (their out of towner days) they have a MAX of two patients, so that he can give them as much time as possible. The clientele he gets are very high profile as far as unsolvable pain goes. These are the people who have tried everything and are willing to go the distance, some of them fly overseas. That is also part of the disappointment – is that because he is so thorough but all the way in the Ozarks, everyone in Chicago or other cities pail in comparison. No matter how good/smart these metropolitans are, they all practice within the MD etiquette and have the next patient waiting in room 3,4,5, 19 … whom they are rushing to get to. They will require you come BACK 3x a week for the next month and when the end of the month comes, what do you know, REPEAT… They can’t tell you what they really think (which is that they don’t exactly know what they are doing) or they think they know what they are doing but you are non compliant or your pain is simply chronic.
I spent $364 with Shierling, 2 PURE hours of Scar Tissue Remodeling, Ligaplex To take home for quicker healing, Cold Laser Treatment at the End of the STR, and a Chiropractic Adjustment to Rule out if subluxated joints were are issue. I spend an average of $50 out of pocket or $318 to insurance for a 30 minute visit with any chiropractic office but the whole trip is 2 hours out of my day with all the office waiting. At the end of that visit I don’t know what to do differently to get me closer to relief. It always “Oh well see how you’re feeling and reassess again next week.” Nothing irks me more than wasting precious time.
Another option to maintain this not so painful state, is to go back to my long time MD in the Philippines. She has the answer for almost everything. I know a lady, Fatima I believe her name is, who is an excellent massage therapist, its 300Php an hour $6, and I will have her Deep Tissue me daily for a month! It’s also an arm and a leg cheaper to get what you need done and you DON’T need a doctor’s order for anything. I had to wait 8 months before my doctor ordered an MRI here in Chicago. And I was begging for it from day 1! Thus is the healthcare system in the US. Okay back to stretching