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  • Writer's pictureJeff Cowley, DC

Bear-ly Escaping: Adventures in Patient Histories

(*Patient name changed for privacy)

In the wild world of chiropractic consultations, you never know what stories lie beneath the surface of a patient’s complaint. Take Lou, for example, a man whose back pain had a tale so wild it could make even a seasoned forest ranger raise an eyebrow.

Picture this: Lou, a surveyor by trade, found himself in the South Mountain hills one fine afternoon.  Little did he know he was about to become the protagonist in a backwoods drama that would rival any wilderness reality tv show.

As Lou meandered through the trees, blissfully measuring the landscape, he stumbled upon a creature straight out of his worst nightmares—a colossal bear.  This wasn’t your average Yogi Bear looking for picnic baskets, this was a hungry and irritated forest giant.

Now any reasonable person would’ve promptly executed a strategic retreat, but not Lou.  With miles between him and the nearest farmhouse, no sidearm in sight, and the bear assuming a WWF-worthy stance, Lou had no choice but to engage in a battle of dominance.

In a move that would make even David Attenborough do a double-take, Lou flapped his hands above his head, mimicking a bird caught in a hurricane.  He roared back at the bear, engaging in a wild back-and-forth, a forest feud echoing the most heated family dispute.

The bear circled, Lou screamed, and in this bizarre wilderness tough guy competition, the line between man and beast blurred.  It was a showdown of epic proportions.

For thirty agonizing minutes, Lou and the bear engaged in a standoff.  The forest became an arena, the trees the audience, and Lou’s survival instincts his only defense.  Finally, as if bored with the whole spectacle, the bear disappeared into the bush, leaving Lou bewildered but alive.

But here’s where the plot takes an unexpected twist.  As Lou made his way back to civilization, a sharp pain and a bolt of electricity shot down his leg.  It turns out that survival-induced primal screams and bear impression come at a cost—Lou was now contorted with low back pain and lost feeling in his foot.

Enter sciatica, the unexpected souvenir from a bizarre backwoods encounter.  I explained to Lou that the stress, the twisting, and the impromptu dance-off with the bear likely ruptured a disc, causing his sciatic agony.  (How Canadian is that—surviving a bear encounter only to be laid low by a back injury?)

With a few weeks of adjustments and exercises, Lou found himself back in the forest. I couldn’t help but add a little chiropractic wisdom to his wilderness repertoire.  Sure, chiropractic can’t prevent bear attacks, but it might just give you that extra burst of speed when you need to outpace a furry foe.  After all, who needs bear spray when you have a well-aligned spine?

So, the next time you find yourself in the wild, facing an angry apex level predator, just remember Lou’s story.  Flap your hands like you life depends on it, and if all else fails, at least you will have a hilarious anecdote to share at the chiropractor’s office—because in the grand comedy of life, sometimes you have to bear with the pain to find the humor in it all.



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