While standing in a radiology room with my back up against an x-ray machine, I breathed a sigh of relief knowing my knight in shining armor was by my side to keep me from falling flat on my face.

Every time I’m required to have medical imaging done for whatever reason, fear and panic set in as a huge knot grows in the pit of my stomach while making every effort to stay vertical.

Being born with a mild case of cerebral palsy, I know more than most what it’s like to lose a battle with gravity; and the older I get, the more those tumbles to the ground take its toll on my fragile body.

However, when I voiced my concerns to Lauren Jackson, a very delightful radiology technician at Kosterman Chiropractic Center, she stepped out of the room momentarily before returning with a strapping young man to wash my fears down the drain.

Following a brief introduction, Chandler Kosterman, a rising junior at NC State, became my new best friend as he stabilized my balance throughout the skeletal photo shoot.

I was more than grateful to the dashing college intern, who has aspirations of one day becoming a fourth generation chiropractor, for letting me lean on him in my time of extreme anxiety.

After suffering with debilitating lower back pain since last Christmas, I noticed it became a great hindrance to the progress I was making with my weight regimen at the gym.

With each passing month, my trips to Workout Anytime of Clinton became less and less frequent until I found myself at the emergency room complaining of pain in the lower right quadrant of my abdomen.

Following numerous tests to rule out such things as appendicitis and a family history of kidney stones, I was told the throbbing pain was due to a pulled muscle from using one of the weight training machines at the fitness club.

Although I decided to take a break from the weights to recuperate from the supposed injury, the pain shifted to my hip and down into my foot until I was nearly unable to walk without being in severe pain.

That’s when I knew there was something much bigger going on in my body than a simple pulled muscle.

On the advice of my sister Kathy Parker, I decided to give chiropractic care another opportunity to help me with a dire situation which was growing worse by the day.

As I sat down with Dr. Tim Kosterman in his office to go over my x-rays, my jaw dropped at some of the findings; but I breathed a sigh of welcome relief knowing I will be able to get back to the gym in short order.

While I suspected the slipped disc compounded by a pinched nerve going down my right leg, the results showed a few new discoveries and pointed out some painful reminders from a quarter century of chiropractic care.

On top of having scoliosis and osteoarthritis with twelve dislocated vertebrae, I have a twisted pelvis causing one leg to seem longer than the other; and my neck extends out further than it should, which is the origin of my recurring headaches.

However, the most shocking news was a fused vertebra from a fracture I suffered two years prior when I fell backwards landing on a metal rolling cart at Walmart; and to think that after my fifteen minute break was over, I went back to my cash register and continued ringing up customer purchases.

After hearing about that wide array of daunting issues, I’m amazed that I was still able to walk at all.

But the good news is that Dr. Tim is confident that he will be able to help relieve my pain and get me back on the road to recovery; and with my fierce determination, I will not not rest until I cross the finish line.

Even though I was a bit apprehensive about going to another chiropractor’s office after staying clear of them for more than six years, I was welcomed with open arms by Brandie Hodges, the bubbly receptionist, the moment I stepped inside the front door.

The vivacious hostess made me feel as if I was coming home after a long day’s work; and I was able to rest easy knowing she was going to take care of my every need.

I’ve been to numerous chiropractic clinics over the years that run you through like a herd of cattle at a stampede; but this is the first one that is patient driven and strives on making them feel as comfortable as possible throughout their visit.

In fact, the staff makes me feel like I’m the center of attention pampering me at every turn; and since I’ve never met a stranger, it feels like I’m at a good old-fashioned family reunion.

All we’re missing is some fried chicken, potato salad and some of Grandma’s delicious peach cobbler.

Not only is the atmosphere refreshing, but the facility itself has state of the art equipment – non surgical spinal decompression, pulsed electromagnetic frequency therapy, laser therapy and more – like none I’ve ever seen at any other chiropractic center.

Every time I go to Kosterman Chiropractic Center, it’s like treating myself to a day spa and salon; because when I leave at the conclusion of my appointment, I feel refreshed and rejuvenated while looking forward to my next visit.

After completing just two short weeks of therapy treatments in my personalized care plan, I am feeling much better; and I’m ready to join the U.S. men’s gymnastics team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to do a triple back flip off the horizontal bar and stick the landing for the win.

Mark S. Price is a former city government/county education reporter for The Sampson Independent. He currently resides in Clinton.