They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
– Andy Warhol
Teammates for Success
What can you do for yourself if you are in pain, recovering from an accident, or just finding yourself unable to do what you used to do?
In the last issue of Praktikos we examined two ways of treating your body. The first was a cautionary tale of pain and dysfunction involving a downward cycle of increasing drug use leading to a failed surgery, addiction to Oxycontin, and, finally, irreversible hearing loss.
The second was an inspiring story of how the United States Postal Service was using twice-daily chiropractic treatments during the Tour de France for every member of the team to avoid pain and breakdowns. Such treatments are part of the reason that Lance Armstrong has won the Tour for the past five years running.
We concluded the last newsletter with the thought that everyday people-not just world-class athletes-would benefit from the addition of a chiropractor to their team. In this issue we want to briefly survey the stories of three people who have been using our gentle and effective treatments to improve their lives and work towards a better tomorrow.
Jeff is a successful businessman in his fifties who would really rather be a professional golfer. When he came to our office early this year, his golf swing was in trouble due to his low back pain and spasm. In fact, the problems in his sacroiliac joints had unleveled the spinal foundation and were causing compensatory curvatures and muscle spasms in his neck. The pain radiated into his shoulder, left forearm, and hand. Needless to say, his game was suffering.
We leveled his pelvis using our padded blocks and started him on a program of icing for the swelling that was irritating his nerves. We also started him on a daily program of walking and easy movement to clean his muscles of their accumulated load of lactic acid and other toxins that were making him feel weak and stiff and sore.
One day he casually mentioned that he was in a tournament out at The Ranch that week. He is such a modest guy that it was not until the several days later while Darla was reading the paper that we discovered he had placed second in the Colorado State Senior Amateur Golf Tournament. He was only one stroke behind the winner, having lost the third round by a single shot.
Judy is a writer in her early seventies who found her way to our office this year on a referral from her doctor of Oriental medicine, Kathy Fisher. Judy is retired, and life was beginning to be rather difficult. Ordinary walking on flat ground, an exercise she had always enjoyed, was becoming painful. Even a slight hill was too much for her to negotiate.
Her life at home was threatened because she had to go down stairs to do the laundry. The only way she could accomplish this was to hold on to the railing and stand sideways on the step, lowering herself one step at a time while pulling the laundry basket down the stairs.
Once again we discovered she was suffering from the extremely common problem of a slip in the sacroiliac joints that had created a compensatory twist and excess muscular work in her low back, hips, and legs. We were able to rather rapidly move the pelvis to a level position and started her on a daily program of walking, icing, and movement. She followed our advice to buy a pedometer and begin tracking her daily steps in a journal.
At first she could only get a few thousand steps a day because she walked slowly and tired easily. Our goal of 10,000 steps in a day seemed perhaps too ambitious. But she kept after it, and week by week the journal numbers began to improve as she regained speed and endurance.
Recently she had her seventy-second birthday, and we asked her how it had gone. With a smile, she opened her daily log and proudly pointed to the place where she had written her step total for the day before her birthday: 14,000.
If you are wondering how far 14,000 steps is, the answer is between five and seven miles, depending on the length of one's stride. She walked that far on a day when she was also getting ready to entertain the next day!
Oh, how about those stairs? Well, it should be no surprise that she now walks down stairs facing forwards and without using her hands, just as most grownups do.
Nothing Succeeds like Excess
Our final patient is a person we have written about before, but his progress since then has been so amazing that it begged to be updated. Bob is the assistant news editor at the Rocky Mountain News and in his late fifties. The last time we wrote about him he had progressed from stark pain and an inability to run across Colfax to avoid a speeding taxi to an amazing run just six weeks later over Imogene Pass from Ouray to Telluride.
What could be more amazing than that? Well, he kept with his chiropractic treatments and continued to press the limits of what he can do.
He has been writing a series in the News for the past several months documenting his quest to run the Leadville 100 this August. This grueling footrace covers one hundred miles on mountain trails all over 10,000 feet in altitude, and it must be completed in less than twenty-four hours.
Bob wrote an excellent article about us (blush) and how important our gentle, effective care has helped him keep moving towards his goal without falling into overuse injuries. He mentioned our definition of resting after a long run: walking and swinging the arms to clean out the pollution that running can produce.
We are seeking approval from his newspaper to reprint his article in a future Praktikos.
Until then, good health to you and remember to make chiropractic part of your team.