Archived Issue - PRAKTIKOS Autumn Equinox, 2004

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
    – Andy Warhol

Teammates for Success

Man, are we excited. As promised in the last issue of Praktikos we are going to reprint the entire text of an article written by Bob Findlay, the assistant news editor of the Rocky Mountain News. This article is but one of a series of articles he wrote about his preparations for running an ultramarathon this summer.

For those of you who do not know what an ultramarathon is, it is a footrace that makes a regular twenty-six mile race seem like child's play. These extreme endurance events require the athletes to run at least fifty miles and even up to one hundred miles without stopping or sleeping.

Bob's goal was to run the Leadville Trail 100 which actually makes all other ultramarathons seem less than ultra due to its altitude which averages over 10,200 feet above sea level and the ruggedness of the terrain through which it is run. It is the ultimate test for the small band of crazies who like to do such things.

In preparation for this amazing feat, Bob has run over 1,300 miles just this year. Most of that mileage represents day-to-day training but he has also run multiple half marathons, several full marathons and even one fifty mile ultramarathon out into the deserts of Utah.

When someone wants to run so far without stopping it does take an incredible amount of training to be ready, but there is another type of preparation that is equally important if you are to succeed. This is the kind of preparation that can not be gained by long lonely hours on the road. Your body must feel good: actually your body must feel great because even small problems are exaggerated over the course of running so many miles week after week.

As you will see when you read Bob's article he did not start out feeling great. He recounts how when he was fifty three years old he "suddenly got old". Not only was he not thinking about running an ultramarathon, he was getting leg cramps in his calves just trying to run across Colfax to avoid being hit by a speeding taxi.

Running had become impossible. Orthotics and cortisone shots helped a little with his hip and foot pain but provided no relief for his knee pain or calf spasms. He briefly considered just picking up the remote control and giving into a sedentary life while his pot belly grew. But, Bob really is not that kind of a guy. Instead, he picked up the phone and called Dr. Borman and Associates.

Although Bob had never seen us or any chiropractor before he did remember a conversation that we had had many years before on a long drive to Utah for a kayaking trip on Westwater Canyon. He wanted to know if it was possible to improve function as a way to feel better rather than just cover up pain with drugs. He needed a way out of his physical nightmare.

Our examination that first day revealed that Bob was suffering from the very common problem of pelvic misalignment which had caused a functional shortening of one leg. No wonder he was hurting, such a problem is the equivalent of running with one shoe on and one shoe off. As the pelvis tilts to one side, a compensatory curvature is produced in the low back which then irritates the nerves responsible for muscle function in the legs causing his spasms.

Palpation of his leg muscles confirmed this diagnosis. Even when he was lying prone on his stomach in a fully relaxed state there was a constant tightness in his leg muscles which made them feel more like steel cables than human flesh. We had a lot of work to do.

Thus we began a series of treatments to "nudge" the pelvis back into position. I have put Bob's word in quotes because I think it is exactly the way to say it. One can not simply change overnight a strong pattern of muscular and neurologic misbehavior that has been growing for months and years, Too rapid a change will only cause more pain and fail to heal the problem.

As we methodically worked to level his pelvis and straighten the compensatory curvature in his low back he was simultaneously applying ice to the inflamed areas that were irritating his nervous system. By bringing down the swelling around his nerves he was able to immediately feel better and speed his own healing.

We strongly believe that each patient plays the most important role in their own healing. In our office there is a partnership between the doctor and the person who is healing. Effective treatment can never be a one way street with the doctor doling out health and removing pain. Bob was a world class healer in this regard.

Although Bob wanted to run in the Imogene Pass Race just six weeks after he started treatment he listened to us when we told him to stop even trying to run and just walk for now. Those of you who have worked with us before know of our abiding belief in this simple but effective exercise. Walking works because it cleans out toxins and lactic acid which accumulate in crampy muscles.

Back, hip and leg spasms like Bob was experiencing are actually a lot like writers cramp. We have all felt this incredibly painful spasm in our hands while writing for too long a time. The natural response is to drop the pen immediately and shake your hand until the pain subsides. Writer's cramp is brought on by a continuing contraction of a muscle which acts to limit the blood flow through that same muscle and therefore leads to a critical buildup of toxic lactic acid.

Walking is to the spine and leg muscles what shaking is to the hand muscles, an effective way to stimulate the removal of lactic acid so that the muscle can relax again. So even though Bob wanted to run, he listened to us and only walked. And walked and walked. For weeks he walked and slowly his poor muscles began to relax and he began to feel better.

Each time he came in for his appointment we also applied ultrasound to his tight and swollen areas to speed his cleaning out and healing process. This gentle treatment allows us to work on many problems that others feel are too difficult or long standing to be addressed. As his article points out, ultrasound is one of our secret weapons when we are trying to maintain healthy and happy muscles in a world class athlete like Bob through his superhuman efforts.

I don't want to spoil his story but Bob did make the finish line of the Leadville Trail 100 in just under the thirty hours allowed. This remarkable feat is attained by less than two hundred of the five hundred who sign up for this suffer- fest. You can read the much longer account of his race on line at .

You do not have to be a world class athlete like Bob Findlay or Lance Armstrong to benefit from chiropractic care. If your muscles feel both tight and weak or your joints ache or you just want to feel great, give us a call. There is something which can be done.