So, I suffer with Sciatica - though I am very fortunate to say that I have not had any problems for about a year now, ever since I went to see an Osteopath who gave me some exercises to do and gently manipulated my back. Since that day, I have been pain free.
However, yesterday I got a small reminder of the pain I suffered. I was just walking through my house when WHAM!! several red hot needles were stabbed down the back of my right leg. Instantly, my body tensed and I froze, expecting the pain to continue. Thankfully, the pain disappeared as quickly as it had materialised. Today at work I thought about the pain, and automatically made a mental note to re-visit the Osteopath should I get repeated visits from the pain fairy. And then I started thinking about Osteopaths and Chiropractors.
(Here we go).
Osteopaths and Chiropractors are fully fledged medical folk. They are similar, but different. A Chiropractor is interested in how the body works, but concentrates mainly on the spinal and muscular systems. An Osteopath looks at the entire body when trying to find the cause of the pain - he doesn't just look at the bones and muscles.
To become a certified Chiropractor or Osteopath takes years of study, and it was the studying aspect of things that I was thinking about. As with all students of medicine, there is a huge amount of theory work to get through. Huge Volumes of medical information must be learnt, hundreds of books read and re-read time and again. An intimate knowledge of the workings of the human body must be learnt - but only so much of this knowledge can be obtained through reading medical books. There must also be a practical side of things - in the Final exam, the would be Chiropractors and Osteopaths must have to work on a body to show they know what they are doing - it can't all be essays, can it?
Incidentally, Osteopaths and Chiropractors don't get on - in fact they hate each other. They are the medical equivalents of Celtic and Rangers fans. If you really want to annoy an Osteopath, call him(or her) a Chiropractor. And Vice Versa.
So let us assume that in the final Chiropractic exam, 50% is a written paper, and 50% is an assessment of their skill in treating various ailments related to their profession. Who do they work on in these assessments? Does the NHS have a secret bank of crippled, pain riddled individuals on it's books that it dips into every year to supply those on the brink of being a Professional Chiropractor or Osteopath with a subject to work on?
Maybe the NHS advertises cheap Osteopathy of Chiropractic services, with the understanding that you will not be seen by a professional, but by a student. It will cost you less, but you might come out in even more pain. It's a bit like when you book a Hair appointment, and are told you can get it for £30 cheaper if you let the trainee do it.
Another possibility is that the people chosen as the guinea pigs for the final assessment of these final year students of Osteopathy and Chiropracty, are people who mistakenly let themselves be manhandled by first year students of Osteopathy and Chiropracty - and as a result, are twisted and mis-shapen through ever greater pain.
Whichever way you look at it, it can't be much fun for the poor people.
And then I had a flash of genius.
There are many people who decide to donate their body to Medical Science in the event of their death. The idea of donating your body to Science whilst alive, never really took off.
But here is a perfect solution - the term "Medical Science" is not a specific one - it covers a wide spectrum. So why not let the Osteopathy and Chiropractory students practice on a corpse - there are chemicals available to keep the body preserved, so it wouldn't smell, and we are not talking about using the same corpse over and over again for years on end. A different on every week, let it get pulled about a bit, and then send it on for it's organs to be taken for transplant. Or take the organs first, and then let the students practice on it? Where is the problem with that?
Who said Rigor Mortis? You see, I've got that covered........
There is an article in The Lancet - Volume 349, Issue 9054, Page 810 dated 15th March 1997 which states (and I quote):
"Long delay in the onset of Rigor Mortis has been reported in well fed animals with increased glycogen stores in the muscles - and in obese patients."
Glycogen is the stored form of Glucose. The Glucose comes from carbohydrates such as potatoes. Studies have shown that eating carbohydrates soon after vigorous exercise increases the quantity of Glycogen stored in the muscles.
Chiropractory study. Many Obese people suffer with joint problems, which would make them the perfect subjects for trainee Chiropractors and Osteopaths to work on.
The benefits for the students would be the ability to work on a body without causing anyone any pain. Being able to perfect their technique without fear of a law suit would improve the confidence of the students, and ultimately make them better Osteopaths or Chiropractors.
The delayed Rigor Mortis in Obese people would allow enough time for the students to practice before the body became too inflexible. Plus, the physical strength required to manipulate an obese corpse would make manipulating the living even easier. When qualified, patients would be helped quicker, and more efficiently. More patients could be seen in a day, and therefore more income generated. The benefits speak for themselves.
And I thought of all that from one sharp pain in my leg.