Dr. Laurel Griffin’s Story
Amazing recovery from fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, social anxiety, memory problems, fatigue and more
My Story: THEN
I hurt. My shoulders burn and ache to no end. Often they seem to “catch” as I turn my head; my neck usually does the same. My lower back burns and pops, aching as I sit in the car or walk down the hallway at school. My arms and legs feel as though something is inside them trying to pull the bones apart from the inside. Sometimes I have random muscle pain that appears inexplicably. I’ve been told it’s all in my head. Sometimes I start to believe this, and I try to convince myself I’m just lazy, crazy, wimpy or weak. As you can imagine, this usually leads to a significant drop in self-esteem.
Some days I hurt more than most of the population, other days I just seem to wander through the world, oblivious to life as it goes on around me. Some days I endure only dull physical pains…but the pangs of shame and frustration that come from mental fog and dizziness far out-weigh any physical pain I’ve ever been forced to endure. It’s like my head is filled with molasses, thick and sticky, clogging every neurological pathway and flowing slowly throughout the entire inside of my skull. The blackness begins to cloud my vision and sometimes reaches my eyes if I stand up too quickly. Even now, as I look at this screen, I am forced to concentrate on the words I write just to be able to read them. It’s not that I can’t see the letters; it’s as if I’m looking past my words, or through them, to some non-descript object somewhere in the distance, making the words I write seem as if they are simply background filler. I can’t focus properly or keep my eyes on one line of text as I attempt to scan my work, yet I’ve been told I have 20/20 vision. When I’m driving, I have problems with my vision similar to those described above regarding these lines of text. When I am the passenger in a car for any distance during these times of fog, I spend most of my time fighting off nausea and hot flashes. My mind and body are slipping away and I can’t do anything to stop them. I am lost.
Out of a few months, I may have one day when the mental fog seems to lift temporarily. On these days, I feel as though I could conquer the world. My mind seems capable of grasping even the most complex of topics, and I scramble to take in every piece of information I can while the flood gates are open. Those gates never stay open very long, and they leave no indication of when they will re-open. They usually close at the least opportune times. It is so hard to go through college this way.
Besides the physical and mental pain and frustration, I also have episodes of a “social anxiety”. During these times, it seems like everyone around me looks at me accusingly, judgingly and condescendingly, regardless of their true intent or circumstance. These feelings are so strong and real that I often find myself hanging my head in shame and avoiding conversation. When conversation is required, I often cannot follow simple lines of discussion, either for the fog in my brain or the anxiety of engaging in the conversation itself. At these times, I imagine that whoever is attempting to talk to me must think I am a complete moron, freak, idiot, anything but what I really am. I feel as though I am not worth their time or even worthy of the place in life I seek.
At this point, I usually feel like running away to hide from my humiliation and to surround myself with self-pity and tears; however, I have come to a point in my life where I refuse to let this demon beat me down. I will not let it win; somehow I’m going to beat it, though I don’t yet know what my strategy will be. Right now the only thing I can do is trudge through life as described above and keep my eyes trained forward, toward a future that shines free of pain, fog, frustration and anxiety. It’s all up to me, and the rest of my life depends on how I handle this load. Am I going to take this lying down? Or am I going to stand up and fight back with everything I’ve got? That’s simple. I’m always up for a fight.
– Laurel Griffin, 23 yrs
My Story: NOW
Have I recovered? YES!
9 years ago, I suffered from fibromyalgia with chronic fatigue, migraine headaches, neck, back, and shoulder pain, vision disturbances, dizziness, troubles concentrating, etc. I tried a number of prescription drugs and herbal remedies. Nothing helped me. You can read about my experience in more detail in “My Story: THEN” dated Spring 2002.
In 2003, I started care under a special advanced chiropractic method known as Atlas Orthogonality (AO), and I made some significant nutritional changes. From that point on, I grew better and better. Today I no longer suffer from any of the above mentioned symptoms. I haven’t had a migraine in 8 years, and as long as I get regular chiropractic check-ups – I feel great!
Your doctor will tell you that, for the most part, the underlying cause of Fibromyalgia is unknown, and it is likely different for each patient. For me, the biggest piece of the puzzle was a misalignment of the top bone in my neck, called the “atlas.” The only technique that was able to correct my very symptomatic misalignment was Atlas Orthogonality.
With the use of the Atlas Orthogonal technique, there is no need for twisting or popping of the neck or back. The atlas bone can be realigned precisely and gently, without pain or discomfort to the patient.
My first adjustment took place in the spring of 2003. I was a very unsure student at the time, and was very skeptical of this thing called “AO.” I sat there as the student doctor felt the nerves in my neck. Yep, they were quite sore, and it made me dizzy when he touched them. I had pressure in my head, with burning and aching in my shoulders, upper back and low back that day. I was generally grumpy and withdrawn. The student adjusted me, and I sat up. The nerves in my neck didn’t hurt when he touched them after the adjustment. The room looked brighter, and feeling of warmth was spreading through my ears and down my neck and spine. The pressure in my head was gone, as were all of my pains! As for the student…well he was quite nervous when I didn’t answer his initial question of “how do you feel?” I felt great, but was so stunned that I didn’t immediately know what to say! (That student is now Dr. Darren Scheuner of Queensland, Australia.)
My Mom came with me for that first adjustment, also skeptical but hopeful. You can read her account of the experience below under “AO Miracle.”
That adjustment changed my life. Did it hold forever? Absolutely not. The human body isn’t made that way. When the spine is misaligned, it is the result of some insult – trauma, toxin or thought (emotional stress.) These things actually damage the tissues surrounding the spine, (ligaments, tendons, muscle and discs) rendering them less able to hold the spine in place throughout a day of movement and constant stress. These tissues take time to heal once placed in proper alignment, and must be kept in line as much as possible in order for them to heal and be able to do their job. My body didn’t get into that misalignment overnight, and it didn’t heal overnight. I started on a frequent initial treatment plan that eventually backed down to fewer and fewer visits as my body was ready. I am where I am and who I am today because I stuck through the ups and downs of my initial treatment. Had I given up then, I would be back where I started…which was pretty much nowhere. If I gave up my regular maintenance checkups and adjustments now I would be right back at square one. Think I’ll do that now? Not a chance!!
Not every patient may have the same miraculous results that I had, but I believe that atlas misalignment is at least a partial player in most fibromyalgia cases. Nutritional problems also usually play a part in this equation, and can be addressed on an individual basis here in my office or with one of the providers I co-manage certain cases with.
After being literally saved by AO, I became a chiropractor myself and chose this technique to focus on. I am now proudly one of approximately 375 doctors worldwide who are Board Certified to practice the Atlas Orthogonal technique. This is the only nationally accredited board certification program within chiropractic.
The Atlas Orthogonal Chiropractic technique could be your solution to fibromyalgia or one of the fibromyalgia symptoms listed above. This could be a turning point in your life. It certainly saved mine!
– Dr. Laurel Griffin, DC, BCAO
An Atlas Orthogonal Miracle
I went with my daughter Laurel to have her first Atlas Orthogonal adjustment. We were hopeful it would help her fibromyalgia, but I did not expect what I saw that day.
The extern had her lay down on the table for her adjustment, fiddled with the thing her head was laying on, and then he sat her right back up. I asked if he was not going to do the adjustment, and he told me that he already had. He told her to sit quietly for a few minutes and left the room. As I watched Laurel, her eyes got wider and wider. She said “Mom, my mind has not been this clear in years!” She then started feeling her arms and legs. Her eyes got even wider as she said “I don’t hurt!” Her face was brighter, her posture was straighter and her entire demeanor was different.
I could not believe what I was seeing. She was an entirely different person than she had been for years. I had gotten my beautiful happy daughter back. We went shopping and she was happy and bubbling instead of depressed and exhausted. It was amazing.
No one can ever tell me that AO Chiropractic does not work. I watched it with my own eyes. AO has been a miracle in my daughter’s life.
– Joanne Griffin
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