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Doctor Who: Back Pain To The Future

By Benjamin F Elliott

Dedicated to Ellen Lee Bridewell Elliott


Hello. I am Dr Joe Mycroft V - Chiropracter. My family have run a small exclusive Chiropractic clinic just south of London for over 100 years. I already see you preparing to hit the "back" button and go read something else - hear me out! You're going to want to stick around.


You know how when we were kids, we believed in monsters, aliens, and assorted time travellers and all that stuff which makes life worth living. Well, we never bothered to consider what it would mean if such beings existed. Life is messy no matter who you are. The noblest hero sprains his ankle. The vilest villain comes down with bronchitis. And all these assorted beings - if they exist - need to see their doctors just like you or I do.


When I was just about the age to begin studying medicine, I learned a secret that has amazed and frightened me ever since. These beings are real. They do get medical treatment, but they tend to stick with a very few medical doctors and their families who can be trusted. My family was the only family of doctors trusted in the United Kingdom to provide chiropractic care to those of an "extra-terrestrial" origin.


Maybe it was the fact that we live near London, which seems to be an alien hub. Maybe it was the fact that some planets (example - the mythic Gallifrey) treat Chiropractic treatment as witchcraft and sentence anyone who provides this care to an agonizing death. On Gallifrey they leave you encased in ice cream, but unable to eat - for as many centuries as necessary for you to finish your regenerations by natural causes. Anyway - my family's practice rarely has any human customers at all. Virtually all alien, with a speciality in time travellers (often Time Lords).


After 15 years of work in the exotic field of cracking the backs of the good and ghastly, I find it ever harder to keep my mouth shut. So I decided to write about my experiences in a journal. I'm sure this will be seen by someone else in the future. I hope you will keep our clients as secret and safe as my family have strived to do all these long years.

Here is the first day of my journal. Honestly, this day is typical ...



by Benjamin F Elliott


Monday - 8:02AM - Room A:


Dr Joe: "Hello. My name is Dr Joe Mycroft V. Who are you?"

The Doctor: "My name is the Doctor. Er, Doctor John Smith."

Dr Joe: "Seriously! It's an honour. My family has spent many hours rebuilding the spines of the enemies who opposed you and the friends who tried to help you. Captain Jack specifically wanted me to tell you that he comes Thursdays at 2PM, and could you possibly warn him about the low flying zombie when you see him in 2015?"

The Doctor: "Well, I was referred to your family by Professor Clem Chronotis of Cambridge."

Dr Joe: "Chronotis! The only time traveller to meet us on a regular schedule, instead of bundling all his appointments together so that his time machine had an easier time getting here. My father last saw him in 1990."

The Doctor: "He passed away in 1991. Even Time Lords don't live forever."

Dr Joe: "What a shame. Still, let's get back to the relative present. Why are you here to see me?"

The Doctor: "I was overthrowing a brutal regime on the planet Quill, when I ran into one of the Imperial Guards at high speed. I heard two pops - something must have snapped in both of us. I tried to put it off. The pain increased and Amy threatened to have Rory examine me. I am not being given a full body exam by one of my companions, especially not with my other companion watching and ogling. That happened before, and we had to come up with a bizarre cover story of Vicki falling in love with her Jailer to cover up the incident. Thank goodness they were the same age."

Dr Joe (after a few seconds of stunned silence from hearing that anecdote): "So in short - you popped something in your back?"

The Doctor: "Yes. Now the pain has spread all over my body. I have trouble standing. I walk funny. Forget running. The last time I felt this old, I was in my first incarnation."

Dr Joe: "I see. I'm feeling your back now. By the way, you did not fill in your age on the chart. How old are you?"

The Doctor: "907. I'm on my Eleventh life."

Dr Joe: "Pull the other one. There is no way you get this much muscle damage in just 907 years. 1907, perhaps. Tell me the real age so I know which Time Lord symptoms to look for."

The Doctor: "Er - 1492."

Dr Joe: "See - that wasn't so bad. Now, I've finished looking over your back. My assistant will take an X-Ray to confirm things. I'll see you in 24 hours your time, or 9AM on my clock. Don't take more than 24 hours - we don't want your condition to deteriorate."


Monday - 9:01AM - Room B


The Doctor: "Hello, Dr Joe."

Dr Joe: "Drop the act - it's clearly been a week for you since the last appointment. I can see a vertebrae out of place through your tweed jacket. That specific vertebrae, unlike some others, was in its proper place when we took the X-Ray. What did you do?"

The Doctor: "I got locked on a prison barge while trying to rescue Magna Carta VII from the Supplicants Of Kennedy. Rory's still on the barge, in fact. I'm off to rescue him after the appointment. Hopefully I'll have more mobility to be able to do that."

Dr Joe: "Well, from now on you come back as frequently as I say you need to come back. If you let your lifestyle get in the way of your health, your health will keep you from engaging in your lifestyle. No more excuses?"

The Doctor: "Sorry, Doc."

Dr Joe: "Anyway, you are a very fortunate Time Lord. You are only at stage one of back deterioration. No permanent damage. I'll need to work with you twice a week for a couple of months to put everything back in place. Then we can work once a week on strengthening your back so it can hold up to future adventures. In about a year your time, you should be good as new. Then we can worry about periodic maintenance work to keep you strong till you run out of regenerations."

The Doctor: "I've booked appointments for every hour today."

Dr Joe: "Ok. Just make sure you come to those appointments in the correct order. Get on the bench here. Now, lie on your stomach. Breathe in. Breathe out. Relax, relax ..." (crunch)

The Doctor: "OUCHHHHHH!"

Dr Joe: "First time is always the hardest. You can scream quite well. How does it feel now?"

The Doctor: "I can move some muscles again. I'm still in pain, but more mobile."

Dr Joe: "Wonderful. Another 4 or 5 cracks to go, then we pop your neck both ways, and finally 20 minutes of electrical stimulation for your muscles."

The Doctor: "Eeep!"


Monday - 10:05AM - Room A:


Dr Joe: "Doctor, good to see you. You look happy."

The Doctor: "I'm still in agonizing pain, but having some movement back is wonderful. I was able to help Amy free Rory. I was able to slow jog for 20 seconds at one point. There were 5 minutes in the last few days where I didn't feel pain at all. After almost a year of constant agony, 5 minutes of peace were wonderful."

Dr Joe: "Well, we know what comes next." (soon after - crack, crack, crack, crack, crack, pop ... pop)


Monday - 11:03AM - Room B:


The Doctor: "The pain is much better. I'm down to an 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. It used to be 20 on that scale."

Dr Joe: "We will talk and adjust at the same time. Lie down on your stomach. Very good. So, have you been avoiding heavy lifting?" (crack)

The Doctor: "Yes. I've left such matters to Rory for now. It seems appropriate to let the young male companion do that, even when he looks older than me. (crack) I'm not feeling the cracks quite as badly now. But it was annoying seeing Rory run up Mount Olympus to give fire to Frank, aka Zeus. That should have been me on the mountain." (crack)

Dr Joe: "Your body is accepting the adjustments. You are less surprised, so you are acting rationally. This is going to be an up and down process. Let me know when you feel pains from different places that you did before. (crack) The more I know, the more I can help you." (crack)

The Doctor: "I shall be a model patient." (crack) "Ouch! Oh, make the pain go away faster."


Monday - 12:01PM - Room A:


The Doctor: "Can we skip the electical stimulation this time? (crack) Amy's being forced to marry an Alterian Warlord in 5 minutes."

Dr Joe: "I thought that Amy and Rory were already married." (crack)

The Doctor: "They are married. (crack) Which is why Rory will be beheaded in 2 minutes and ritually sacrificed before he can finish dying. So I'm on a tight (crack) schedule. By the way - the pain's down to a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 - it is actually on the scale now!"


Monday - 12:46PM - Outdoor seating at the Bistro down the street from my Chiropractic Clinic:


I was enjoying a meatball sub sandwich (fattening, but tame as far as vices go), when I saw this shocking tableau:

The Doctor was running - actually running - down the street. Can't have been more than 3 hours his time since the last adjustment. A small cute cat was angrily chasing after him.

The Doctor: "Good kitty. Nice kitty. Oof!" (The Doctor tripped over some packing cases, and I could hear two vertebrae snap out of position from 20 feet away.)

Voice from nearby: "Bagel! Stop chasing that nice man!"

The cute cat (presumably named Bagel) was savagely attacking The Doctor's classic tweed jacket. Eventually Bagel got tired and walked away, as if nothing had happened. But the jacket was in tatters.


Monday - 1:35PM - Room B:


Dr Joe: "Doctor. I see you found a new tweed jacket in under an hour. I'm impressed."

The Doctor: "Oh, it has been 3 days. And I'm in agony."

Dr Joe: "I could hear the snap. You should have just waited around for the appointment. I would have reopened early and seen you half an hour ago if it would have helped. Get on the bench and lie on your stomach."

The Doctor: "No. Sorry. I couldn't face the prospect of living that hour in linear time if there was a more interesting way to do it. (CRACK!!!!!!) Oh - that feels MUCH better."

Dr Joe: "This appointment will be largely repair work to undo the damage caused by that cat and you neglecting things for 3 days. We will try to get back on schedule with the next visit. And you're staying for the full 20 minutes of the stimulation treatment. I don't care what is wrong with the universe this time." (another big CRACK)

The Doctor: "My 2PM appointment will start before the electrical stimulation from the 1:30PM appointment ends."

Dr Joe: "You can leave via the back exit so your later self doesn't see you." (crack)


Monday - 2:01PM - Room A:


Dr Joe: "Amy, Rory. Where's The Doctor?"

Amy: "The Doctor's DEAD!!!!!!!!" (lots of sobbing)

Rory: "The Doctor got beheaded by an axe wielding circus clown who dived in from the Doctor's left. He was looking to the right."

Amy: "Is there any chance you could warn the Doctor so he doesn't get killed?"

Dr Joe: "It would violate all the laws of time, but I never signed up to obey them anyway."


Monday - 2:03PM - Electrical Stimulation Machine - Room D:


Dr Joe: "So Amy and Rory think it would be very helpful if you were looking to the left instead of to the right, so the axe wielding clown does not kill you."

The Doctor: "Axe wielding clown????"


Monday - 2:04PM - Room A:


Amy (in tears): "Clearly the plan did not work. The Doctor was looking to the left and the clown axed him from the right."

Dr Joe: "That is backwards from how you told me the story earlier."

Rory: "Time must have changed. Personally, I suspect the Gremlin you are treating in Room B. He looks just like the Gremlin who was feeding information to the Killer Clowns before the attack."

Dr Joe: "In that case, I have an idea."


Monday - 2:08PM - Room A:


Dr Joe: "We are behind schedule. Get on the bench and lie on your stomach."

The Doctor: "Sorry I'm late. Temporal issues with you changing history twice. Naughty naughty. And thanks. Having the Gremlin tell the Clowns that the swords weren't funny enough and getting them to attack with Bananas saved my life. (crack) Even if the Bananas on that planet do have sharp teeth."

Dr Joe: "You're moving much better, by the way. (Crack) How is the pain coming along?"

The Doctor: "I'm cycling. Sometimes I feel fine. (crack) Then I feel mild pain in the upper back." (crack)

Dr Joe: "You're feeling the upper back injuries before the lower back injuries now. Excellent, since we were focusing on the lower back first." (crack)

The Doctor: "The pain grows and gets intense in the upper back, with symptoms appearing in the lower back. Then I enter a period of numbness and tiredness." (crack)

Dr Joe: "Sounds like your body is just trying to cope. We're on our way here."


Monday - 3:05PM - Room B:


The Doctor, already lying on his stomach on the bench: "Is there any chance we can switch to the weekly schedule soon? It is distracting having to find breaks in my adventurers. (crack) Right now I'm supposed to be in the middle of a maze in Williamsburg, VA in 1768."

Dr Joe: "Your back still isn't stable. (crack) I'm seeing shifts that are more than should happen in half a week. We are still in the first month of therapy, relative to your time. (crack) It just takes some patience. You are moving much better than before."

The Doctor: "Still no running. I love running. Imagine a year of not being able to run when you're ME!"

Dr Joe: "This is a strong body. It will run again. You just need patience. This is a long road to recovery, but it is a road to recovery." (crack)


Monday - 3:32PM - Room B:


(70s Master music plays)

The Master: "You aren't the Dr Joe I've been worrking with!"

Dr Joe: "My father passed away in 2006. You're 38 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, 3 hours, and 32 minutes late for your appointment. You told my father at your following appointment that the dampers were set to flush instead of wheeze in your TARDIS, hence this mistake. I have your charts and know what stage in adjustment you are supposed to be at - get on the bench and lie on your stomach."

The Master: "Ah. I keep meaning to fix those dampers. Or maybe steal the Doctor's dampers. He can't leave Earth - he'll never know." (CRACK)

Dr Joe: "Three of your vertebrae are out of alignment with your chart from 1972. What happened?" (crack)

The Master: "It's a long story involving an island prison, a sword fight, crunching something while falling back over a table, and sea monsters. (crack) Still, it worked out in the end."

Dr Joe: "Sounds like one of the Doctor's wacky stories."

The Master: "So, the Doctor escapes 20th Century Earth somehow and comes to get treatment from you?"

Dr Joe: "Sorry. I can't say any more. My clients deserve confidentiality."

The Master: "Your secretary Brenda said the same thing. You should be proud of her. It took me 5 minutes to take control of her mind and get her to show me your schedule of patients. I think I can break you in less than 3 minutes."


Monday - 3:34PM - Room B:


Dr Joe, monotone: "You are the Master and I will OBEY you."

The Master: "You were depressingly easy to hypnotise, for what it's worth."

Dr Joe, monotone: "Sorry about that."

The Master: "Never mind. At least the adjustments are good, and I look forward to the electrical stimulation. But let's give our good friend the Doctor a surprise when he comes for his 4PM appointment." (the Master's Beard Of Evil looks very sharp and evil at this point)


Monday - 4:01PM - Room A:


The Doctor: "Hello, Dr Joe."

Dr Joe, monotone: "Hell-o, Doc-tor. Please get on the bench and lie on your stom-ach."

The Doctor: "Aren't you going to ask how my last 4 days went? About the larval moons of Questor? When Rory discovered he was allergic to Ouzo, getting us thrown out of Greece? How I accidentally created the legend of the Hunchback Of Notre Dame?"

Dr Joe, monotone: "We are here to fix your back. We must fix your back." (pulls out a chainsaw)

The Doctor: "Dr Joe, I think you are under the control of the Master. And he's got your programmed. Very lame-ly, to be honest."

(70s Master music plays)

The Master: "Well, I did not want Dr Joe to actually KILL you, Doctor. I saved that pleasure for myself." (jabs the pointy end of a Tissue Compression Eliminator into the part of the Doctor's back that hurts the most) "How does it feel to not be strong enough to fight me?"

The Doctor: "Thankfully it's just my whole torso and my legs that hurt now. My arms are fine. Hike!" (the Doctor pulls the Master overhead and tosses him to the other end of the room)

Dr Joe: "Yikes! Where did the last 26 minutes go?"

The Doctor: "The Master hypnotized you. That incarnation of the Master loved to hypnotize people. But I think I heard one of his vertebrae pop out of place. You should do some more work on him after you treat me. Just remember to wear sunglasses."

The Master: "Ooooh, the pain."


Monday - 5:15PM - Room B:


Dr Joe: "Hello, Doctor. You're late."

The Doctor: "Ah yes. About that. You see, the Master was able to waltz in and hypnotise you. I need better security from my physicians."

Dr Joe: "The Master is a long-time family client. And I now have safeguards against his misbehaviour."

The Doctor: "Anyway, I nipped ahead to the 24th Century and had my back problems fixed in one easy treatment."

Dr Joe: "I've heard back from time travellers who tried to use future technology that way to save themselves effort. It doesn't go well. Your symptoms come back. You never get as strong as you need to be."

The Doctor: "I'll be fine. Thank you for all your help. I don't expect I'll need to see you at 6PM tonight."


Monday - 6:01PM - Room A:


Dr Joe: "Hello. Who are you? My 6PM dropped out."

New guy: "I just regenerated. I am The Doctor. And my back is hurting again."

Dr Joe: "How did you regenerate?"

New Doctor: "I tripped and hurt something in my spine. My companion claims that if I'd treated this back properly in the past few years I'd still have my old face."

Dr Joe: "It was rather upsetting when you dropped my firm - 46 minutes ago!"

New Doctor: "I know, I know. But it was a couple of centuries ago for me. Now, why don't you get an X-Ray and I'll schedule some appointments for tomorrow your time so you can put Humpty Dumpty back together again. How does that sound?"


And that was a typical day at my firm. This is Dr Joe Mycroft V, and I fix your back. Even if you're a human.




Doctor Who is a registered trademark of the BBC, and all fan fiction story writers greatly appreciate the BBC's good humour in letting these stories go around and be shared. Any relation between these characters and actual people, living or dead, is complete coincidence.