Opiates kill my sex drive.

I don’t ever write much about my sex life, and 2017 doesn’t seem like the year to start. I do embrace the reckoning that’s taking place; guys need to learn she doesn’t owe you shit.

But in the context of this article, I want you to know why I have a love-hate relationship with Oxy.

I’m in about the top 1% of fitness for guys my age, despite my low back being fucked for the last quarter century. I’ve been hospitalized for it, hooked up to IV morphine that barely touched the pain. Surgery has been discussed. The CT scan shows bulging discs between L4 and L5, and another between L5 and S1.

I love my wife, and I love being naked with her.

I spend so much time thinking about sex with her I’m amazed I get any work done. It’s to the point “wanting to have sex with my wife” seems a significant part of my personality.

Opiates nuke that, so I don’t feel like me.

Opiate addiction is a terrible thing and the death toll is astronomical. There are many reasons to want to avoid taking them. I hate when I’m on them because of the way they numb me, but I also love how they numb me.

Because my back goes out once every year or two. I have tried many treatments, including chiropractic, and Oxy is the only thing that works.

When my back goes out, I get into a pain-spasm death spiral. My muscles clench from sternum to sacrum and I’m twisted like an episode of Rick and Morty. I can barely walk. The pain causes spasm, the spasms make the pain worse, the increased pain increases spasms.

Spasm spasm spasm. Now it sounds weird.

When my back is out, two or three days of opiates kill the pain, get the spasms under control so I can walk, then I switch to ibuprofen for a few days, then I’m back to normal. Most of the year, I never take a single pill. Ibuprofen is far from harmless too, just FYI.

Opiates kill, and if you can avoid them, that’s awesome. I have the combination of not actually liking the way they make me feel, coupled with being well-informed of the dangers, to avoid addiction. I’m very measured and cautious in their usage. The goal is always to take the minimum and get off them as soon as possible.

To be clear, these pills are prescribed by my family doctor. She’s not concerned about me taking an average of a dozen pills a year.

Opiates kill, but so do chiropractors.

One of the best-known cases is that of model Katie May, who died in 2016 after a neck manipulation by chiropractor Eric Swartz. I want to talk about the level of carnage chiropractors unleash upon an unsuspecting public in a moment, but I need to be fair.

I’m not totally against them. *Gasp!*

Hear me out.

It has been a long time, but I have used them, and they have helped. Not for my low back. They may have temporarily released some tension there, but in the process, it made things feel weaker and never solved the issue. No chiropractor is ever going near my neck, but I’ve had success with my upper back.

Many years ago, I worked in an office with shitty chairs and no keyboard trays. Sometimes, I would get this terrible knot in my upper back, off to one side. I would see this chiropractor who could make that knot go 90% away in seconds. He’d put his fist under it, throw his chest into mine, and it would do a rapid snack-crackle-pop that provided instant relief. The knot would come back about half way two days later, and he’d do it again, and then it would be largely gone.

Yes, I know this is a personal anecdote. Hang on.

This happened several times, and it always worked like a charm. He was a master of making that pain go away fast. I never get that knot any longer because I have a better work station now. Except this one time, a couple of years ago, I got the exact same thing. I hadn’t seen the guy in over a decade, didn’t want to travel way down to his office and pay some big renewing patient fee and all that, so I just sucked it up and waited for it to go away on its own.

And it did, over a week later. But it was damn annoying for that week. The chiropractor always made it get better much faster.

What’s the deal? I have a hypothesis.

First off, I don’t buy any of that “alignment” stuff. I think it’s like popping your knuckles. There are gas bubbles in the synovial fluid, and when you apply pressure in the right way it creates a vacuum or some shit, and the bubbles pop. This results in a release of pressure that can cause surrounding muscles to relax.

My low back gets sore a few times a week. I wake up stiff and am a little leaned forward. A long run helps a lot, but before I go for a run I do some sloppy push ups. This is a technique where you do a push up with hips on the floor to push the disc goo back where it belongs. I’m not offering medical advice here, it’s only for posterior disc bulges, and internationally-renowned back expert Stu McGill told me not to get carried away with it or it can mess up my facet joints.

Often, when I do those sloppy push ups, there is a solitary, massive, KER-POW! that emanates from my low back, and does it ever feel good. It helps, too. There is an instantaneous relieving of muscle tension. Again, I believe the mechanism is the popping of gas bubbles in synovial fluid, removing the pressure those bubbles were placing on surrounding muscles.

Maybe this is all just my pet bullshit.

Last year, over lunch on a rainy day in Vancouver, I had a detailed conversation about this with Paul Ingraham, who runs the website Pain Science.

Paul is highly respected amongst the science-minded. The homeopaths and acupuncturists fill his inbox with hate mail, however, which speaks further to his credibility. Paul did a very thorough analysis of chiropractic, and, as a treatment, concluded thusly:

“The scientific bottom line: ‘meh.’”

He didn’t completely dismiss it, and he’s a trustworthy source. He just didn’t think it was really worth it, and is potentially dangerous. He has another piece about “chiropractic controversies” that is also worth reading. In it, he writes of how it is a “divided profession” between the more modern chiropractors, and the quacktacular traditional ones.

And now we finally come to this one chiropractor who has my ire up. He (I’m assuming it’s a he), is on the “traditional” ­jesus-dafuq-just-shut-up side of the chiropractic profession.

And these fuckers are WAY worse than the odd model having a stroke from her neck getting aggressively twisted. These are the “Hey, let me fix that autism for you” kind of chiropractors.

As unfortunate as the case of Katie May and others like her are, in terms of total carnage, it’s not comparable to the epic bullshit these ass monkeys inflict upon society, causing far more death and destruction.

I’m talking about the anti-vaccine stance. Check out this photo:

This is not far from where I live. It’s out in front of a chiropractor’s office in the Kensington neighborhood in Calgary. A Facebook friend, Tina Garstad, took this photo and sent it to me.

Fuck this guy. And by that, I mean no one should ever fuck this guy.

This is worse that the occasional stroke. Again, I don’t wish to minimize the risk and harm of that, but anti-vaccination messaging is one of the most harmful barriers to public health around, and chiropractic is rife with it.

From a chiropractic website I refuse to link to: “Your spine houses your nervous system which controls your immune system’s response. Hundreds of years of observation have proven that chiropractic treatment improves immune function.”

And then there is this “Dr.” Josh Axe fuckface. He’s a chiropractor who is very anti-vaccination, and the asshole has a whopping 2.5 million followers to his Facebook page. He has a massive platform to spread death.

Yes, anti-vaccination chiropractors are spreading a lot of death.

Two years ago, I interviewed the highly respected infectious disease expert Dr. Paul Offit for an article endorsing flu shots. From that article:

Dr. Offit said, “If you ask the question: ‘What virus is going to kill more people in the US every year?’ The answer is: ‘Influenza.’ HPV kills 4,000 a year, but the flu is in the tens of thousands of people a year.”

A year later I interviewed another respected infectious disease expert, Dr. William Schaffner, about visiting an naturopathic “doctor” for flu prevention. In that interview Dr. Schaffner said of allegedly “boosting” the immune system: “It’s a bogus concept. You will not find it in the medical textbooks.”

And yet, this chiropractor in my city is saying you can boost your immune system by up to 48% with a little back cracking. But it only lasts 24-48 hours, so you need to go every day or you’re fucked. I wonder if he is open on weekends. Otherwise, come Sunday … FLU!

Getting crunched every day or two for the run of flu season is going to cost a fortune. Or, you could just get a flu shot. It’s free where I live. Oh, and IT ACTUALLY FUCKING WORKS!

Fuck this chiropractor for being complicit in the spread of disease in my city. Avoid his office like the plague, because it is likely plague-ridden. The people taken in by this scam will be spreading their preventable diseases across the office’s door knobs, chair handles, magazines, and the credit card machine. Don’t go near the place without a biohazard suit.

And fuck all anti-vaccine chiropractors while we’re at it for spreading preventable death.


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James S. Fell, MBA, writes for the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, AskMen, the Guardian, TIME Magazine and many other fine publications. His first book was published by Random House Canada in 2014. He is currently working on his next book, which is about life-changing moments.