Anon Ex Staff Sgt REME
In the early 1990's I was a soldier, serving in the British Army with the famous Blackwatch Regiment. During my service I sustained a back injury due to the 'heavy landing of a helicopter'. The injury was severe and consequently I was medically down-graded and subsequently I left the military, ironically to work as a civilian in the same environment.
My job entailed weapon management and at times a lot of heavy lifting, something I had been able to do previous to my injury. However now the pain became difficult to manage and after some time it became evident that I could no longer perform to an acceptable level and I had to leave on early retirement on medical grounds.
Finding myself back in 'civvy street' I was persuaded to under go extensive spinal surgery which I felt would at least help with the ever increasing pain levels. This unfortunately has not been proven to help with the original injury and has exacerbated the pain levels to almost intolerable levels. I found myself depressed and taking antidepressants, taking controlled drugs to help with the pain and not being able to keep awake enough to function in the real world. Feelings of inadequacy and loss of who 'I am', or more importantly, who ‘I was’ became a bigger and bigger issue. During the first few years of retirement due to family circumstances I moved home and ended up by accident moving to a lovely small community where everyone seemed to know each other and if you had a problem someone somewhere would know how to fix it!
On the main street of the village there was a chiropractor who always looked busy and the premises very welcoming. My wife suggested that a complementary medical approach may be a way forward (having exhausted the conventional medical ones) and made me an appointment.
I was reluctant to go - you hear so many strange stories about ‘crunching’ bones- but I went with an open mind and I am so very, very happy that I did.
The staff were really friendly and very accommodating. I was in pain but they never asked me to do anything I found difficult. They took my details and ironically the lovely Sue Brown (Chiropractor extraordinary) recognised the euphemism 'a heavy landing' having been a helicopter pilot herself and an ex-military person. She has the same sense of humour and, as such could reach parts of my psyche that other medical personnel could not do. Sue explained her methods, drew diagrams that I could understand and gave me both a through exam and consequential diagnosis of my problems. She explained where my injuries lay and how she could help me at this time. The treatment plan was devised after viewing my x-rays and further consultation with myself and my consultant. She assured me that there would be no snapping of joints or jerky movements.
Sue's approach with her patients is compassionate and she displays a huge depth of empathy especially in her work for 'Hands For Heroes'. Unknown to me, this charity provides help for injured military personnel without cost to the individual. Her enthusiasm for this charity is outstanding. Hands for Heroes has enabled me to have a number of pain relieving sessions without worrying about being able to afford the cost. She is the only practitioner that offers her time for this admirable organisation in this area, and if we hadn't moved to this locality I feel we may never have heard of them and I would still be in immeasurable pain without any expectation of any relief.
My family and especially myself cannot find words to thank Sue enough. She has been a gift to us and I will continue to attend her sessions in the hope that the improvements we have seen will continue to build. May she continue to build her practise and continue with her often unrecognised charity work.