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I’ve recently been going to a new Chiropractor since moving from Atlanta to NYC. My NYC clinic had acupuncture, massage therapy, physical therapy and Chiro all in one spot and all the doctors were incredibly friendly and professional women. I didn’t know how good I had it until I moved. During my first appointment in Atlanta the Dr proceeded to untuck my shirt and shove his hand down by pants to do an adjustment on my lower back…all without announcing he was going to do this. Each adjustment made while I was on my stomach was done without a heads up as to where to expect contact. I didn’t think much of it until I repeated the story out loud to my husband and heard the disgust in my own voice and the look on his face. I had spent weeks trying to find somewhere that took my insurance and was close to my house so I was hesitant to just bail and felt like I was up for a mission to civilize some I went back a second time. This time before we began I politely asked that all adjustments made while on my stomach come with a heads up on where to expect contact / what he will be doing. He seemed confused and the proceeded to just explain what to expect for each appointment (some table adjustments, stretching, etc) – I don’t think he got my point as the rest of the session proceeded similar to the first. At one point he said “if you’re ever uncomfortable with anything we’re doing, just let me know” to which I said “will do, I am just looking for a heads up on where to expect contact when I can’t see what you’re doing” to which, I kid you not he said “sometimes it’s better not to know so you don’t have your guard up”. Puke. I’d like to think he meant that adjustments may go better if you aren’t tensing up but man, terrible choice of words.
This is not the first time I’ve had weird experiences, especially with male doctors. I’ve had people pick lint off my ass while getting adjusted, leave doors open while discussing my health history (after I asked for it to be closed), gaslighting, having multiple people in the room while getting an annual skin exam (without asking) and then only asking if I want a razor burn prescription, lots of prodding and touching without a heads up, etc. I may not have even thought about how much I had come expect this until I had my great team of ladies in NY. Every body contact was announced, I was frequently checked in on, knocks before ever entry in to the room, etc. I didn’t have to ask for agency over my body because I had it the whole time.
I couldn’t help but think of what these experiences must be like for sexual assault survivors, domestic abuse survivors or for anyone else not used to being man handled free every time you step in to a Drs office.
I have tried to use only female drs where possible but with limited options near home that take my insurance, I am struggling with finding an appropriate fit.
Curious if others have had better luck speaking up!