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My Personal Chiropractic Miracle

This article by Dr. R. Dean Harman discusses how chiropractic changed his life and why he became a chiropractor.

Each day, everyday I struggle very hard to keep going. I suffered from constant neck spasms, pain in the back of my head, loss of balance, and absolutely crushing fatigue for 6 to 7 years.

As a 30-year old IBM electrical engineer, I was unable to climb a flight of stairs without resting on the landing halfway up, Some days the room whirled so much I couldn't get up without falling and would be unable to eat, drink, or stop vomiting. The resulting dehydration would be so severe as to cause an erratic heart beat. An ambulance would have to be called to transport me to the hospital since I couldn't even stand up.

During those years I made many visits to internists, orthopedists, ear specialists, neurologists, and neurosurgeons. I went to the largest clinic in New York City at the time--reportedly better than the Mayo Clinic. I went to the two largest speciality ear clnics in the US, the latter trip all the way from New York State to the California clinic where the astronauts were tested.

that was 1968 or so, before MRI and other daignostic equipment was available- not that those test would have detected my problem. The first ear clinic wanted to drill a hole under my brain to drain the fluid out of my inner ear. However, they agreed with me that removing the fluid would INCREASE my loss of balance AND that I would be deaf in that ear. They had no test to decide which ear to drain, so I prudently declined the surgery.

One neurosurgeon I consulted in that time frame was of some help. He thought my neck spasm clamped down on the arteries in my neck, resulting in fluid asymmetry between the left and right inner ear causing the loss of balance. He did find one muscle relaxant that provided some relief. All other medications for my symptoms were useless, some with nasty side effects.

Ath the second clinic, desperate and becoming suicidal, I was tested for two whole days. (If you've ever been seasick or motion sick, think about being that way 24hours a day for years. Imagine, if you can, what it's like going to bed at 6 p.m. and feeling even more tired the next morning. I might have been able to tolerate the ever-present neck pain and headache in the absence of the other symptoms. Life not only wasn't any fun-it barely worth living under those conditions.) They performed every test known to medicine at the time, except for putting me in the centrifuge. I was already dizzy and the centrifuge belonged to NASA.

Two doctors sat down with me afterwards to discuss the results of my tests. I was told:

1) you smoke too much,

2) you drink too much coffee,

3) you're faking,

4) or you're crazy.

But I'd smoked for only one year, ten years before, while in the Navy and didn't drink coffee. Having required hospitalization numerous times, faking didn't seem likely either. But, I did consider that I might be crazy  and spent the next six months seeing a succession of four different psychiatrists. I found two of them to be certifiably crazy themselves--the other two of no help.

In that time frame I crushed a lumbar vertebra (50%) in an accident. I refused surgery again, and spent 9 months instead in a jewett brace. I was pain-free for about a year before back pain set in. I couldn't even lean back against a foam couch and driving was becoming a problem.


A fellow IBMer  finally persuaded me to go see his chiropractor with him, a 60-mile trip over a very bad lane road where people crashed and died nearly daily. His doctor specialized in a chiropractic techinque called Van Rumpt's technique. After watching him work on Joe I almost fled; it looked really weird to me as a young engineer.

After an x-ray and examination he told me that he probably couldn't help my back pain due to the amount of crush, 50%, and consequent scar tissue, BUT told me he could take care of my headaches and dizzy spells. I didn't know chiropractors worked on anything but backs. Since I hadn't even mentioned the other problems to him, I thought he was some kind of crazy quack and told him so. I got up from the table and started out of the office.

Fortunately there was a 3 X 5 index card thumb-tack to the back of the front door, stating that treatment was available for $4 if paid in cash in advance (1968). What went through my mind was that nothing else had worked over the years and I might not even make it back home alive on the those roads. I had also spent tens of thousands of dollars already and gotten nowhere medically!

After a moment's pause, I turned around and challenged him to prove he could help me. He was nice enough to take me as a patient after my comment about his being a quack. He adjusted only my upper neck. My headache vanished instantly! I sat up on the table and the room didn't spin. I tried lying back down--the room spun and I fell off the table. Two days later I returned for a 2nd treatment, a 120-mile extra loop before driving to New York City for a meeting.

Oh, by the way--my back pain went away over time too with chiropractic treatment.

The paster of my church phoned me early the next morning after my first adjustment because I was reportedly behaving "strangely." I had great difficulty convincing him I had just been to a chiropractor the night before. He thought I had been out taking some kind of recreational drugs because the change was so striking and broad in scope. No headache, no dizziness, and normal energy for a 30-yr old.

Did fellow IBM employees pass me in the hall at work that day and didn't recognize me? Yes.


Was it a miracle? Absolutely to me, and that's why I left IBM to become a chiropractor. It just took me 15 years to get up the courage to change careers


R. Dean Harman, DC

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