Friday’s Feature: Comes Highly Recommended

A little over a week and half ago, I woke up with awful tightness running from the top of my left ear, all the way down through my jaw. It hurt to open my mouth, eat, yawn — staring at it for too long in the mirror made it hiss and growl.

Moaning my way into the kitchen, my mother-in-law, a nurse, told me that it could be a couple of things, the likeliest of which being either a sinus infection or a rotten tooth. I pooh-poohed at the latter (My scruples for dental-hygiene eliminated this possibility right away.) and chalked it up to a sinus infection, seeing that I quite definitely have inherited the WORST allergies on the planet. Those of you who suffer with me, you know . . . Anyhow, I figured, like a bruise, it would go away on its own. Regrettably, optimism was short-lived when a day later my jaw began clicking in and out of place, sliding clear across the width of my face with every chomp. (Picture a cow chewing its cud, and behold me in all my elegance.) For someone who loves her food and works very hard to reward herself, I was bereft, let me tell you. By now this had been going on for about 4 days and I was starting to get a little nervous. I decided to give my chiropractor a call to see if he had any idea why I was beginning to display signs indicative of Emily Rose. I’ve included a picture for your convenience.

So . . .

Something had to be done, right? Right. Dr. Black, my chiropractor, said he believed I was suffering from TMJ. “Too much juice?” I asked him. The gracious man he is, he overlooked my terrible joke and invited me to come in as soon as I could. My distended jaw — Carl, I named it — and I left immediately. 

I will fast forward now, cutting out all the parts where I tell you how excruciating that exam was, so much so, that I was — I am not kidding you — dripping sweat when I left. I won’t tell you that I shrieked — repeatedly — as Dr. Black’s nimble fingers made themselves well acquainted with the tissue surrounding my jaw, and that at one point, I actually locked my hand around Dr. Black’s calf and proceeded to make a few violent, empty threats.

None of that you need to know . . .

This, I will tell you: I did in fact have TMJ (Temporomandibular joint disorder) and had it gone on for much longer, I might have needed surgery to correct it. Also, did you notice the past tense of “did” ? 🙂 Yup! 7 days later and I am 90% healed.  You, like me, might be a bit dense when it comes to estimating a reasonable time for total recovery for one suffering from TMJ. Apparently, it’s not 7 days. I accredit this healing to the thoroughness of Dr. Black’s ministrations and the exercises he made me swear on my cheat night I would do regularly.

I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Black and the staff of Helm Chiropractic Wellness Center. Well, I suppose I could, but I’ll save that for the Yelp review. The most important thing, besides the fact that he is attentive, empathetic, exceptionally thorough, has a great sense of humor, and genuinely cares about the well-being of his patients, is that his methods yield results. You can hardly ask for more from a doctor.

Plus, after a few visits and establishing familiar terms, you will have the pleasure of receiving a kiss to the cheek by way of greeting. (Men, this doesn’t apply to you; sorry.) Women . . . Need I say more?

** I haste to mention now that Dr. Black is married with three beautiful children.

And yes, he is as nice as he looks. In my years of doctor hopping — and I’ve been introduced to plenty of them who spent a whole 64 seconds with me — I had yet to meet one who took the time to ask how my husband was doing and inquire about the book I’m working on; all with genuineness. It’s not that, “So, what seems to be the problem?” *flip-flip through medical records* “Not getting enough sleep?” *snaps scary gloves* “Tell me, Clara . . . do you feel depressed?”

Um . . . Now I do.

I also want to mention that Helm Chiropractic is where I went as a last ditch effort to seek relief for chronic insomnia. Diagnosed at 18, and after being on medication for over 10 years, I was lucky to get 6 hours of sleep each night, and during bad-spells would go days — sometimes weeks — with no more than a few hours — cumulatively. For a while I had been hearing great things about acupuncture, but associated it with something that only tree-huggers and socialites with a surplus of time and money did. Very long story short, after a couple months, I was sleeping through the night for the first time — un-medicated — in 10 years.

Good things happen in this place. Whether it’s a simple adjustment to keep your body operating ideally, or you’ve been suffering with pain for a while and nothing seems to help, I invite you to check them out. What do you have to lose? Additionally, you would be doing me a great service.


You see . . . my tolerance for pain falls somewhere between a 1.2 and a 1.5 on a scale ranked from 1-10. But! Let me just say for the record, that it really, really, really hurt when Dr. Black vanquished the intense spams dancing the Macarena up and down my jaw. However . . . I may have — there’s no conclusive evidence proving this — screamed my bloody head off a few times and scared away some of their more squeamish patients. It’s only right that I earn him back a few new ones. 🙂

Thank you, Dr. Black; Carl and I are extremely grateful for healing us!

*** Patrick Black of Helm Chiropractic and Wellness Center

217 El Camino Real Tustin, CA 92780

(714) 544 1500


Spread the news and the light, sharing this article with any friends, family, and acquaintances you think might benefit. And, as mentioned in my last Friday Feature, if you know of an individual or company worthy of referring, please let me know!

Happy Friday, Everyone!

5 thoughts on “Friday’s Feature: Comes Highly Recommended

  1. I love that you actually took the time to write this referral for your hunky chiropractor! And, as always, you are so poetic with everything that you write 🙂

      • Cara! You have jumped from my top Ten patient List to Im putting you in charge of my new Yelp profile. (roaring applause). LOL
        Thank you for your appreciation. It keeps me going. : )

        Dr. Pat

        PS Im not JK about my yelp profile. I need your gramatical corrective skills.

  2. Woo-hoo! *Pats self on back* Look at me soaring to the top of the list! Seriously, though, it was my pleasure, and hopefully you had a chance to look at my FB home-page and see that a girlfriend of mine, who has battled with TMJ for the last year, plans to come in to see you soon! 🙂

    LOL — Oh, boy! I am no-so-good with the grammar; honestly, I think I make up my own rules, but I would be more than willing to proof whatever you got!

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