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Monday, December 10, 2012

Visit to the chiopractor

So I went to see a quack last week. I mean, a chiropractor. I am so squeamish about chiropractors. I have a red flag rule for healthcare providers: If they sell supplements in their office, I question their integrity. 
Red flags were all over the place last Wednesday. I could even join a buying and selling scheme to get some sort of mineral pill.
However, I'm withholding judgment for now until I actually get some treatment done. I went to a sports chiropractor my Varsity group recommends. I know I have a mild hamstring tear and some crazy damage in my knee and hip (how I did this I do not know. I raced slowly and poorly on Thanksgiving, yet somehow inflicted damage on five distinct areas of my left leg. Talent). But what I want to find out is why these injuries keep occurring and what I can do to prevent them. I thought a sports chiropractor could help with that.
The first visit was basically just diagnostic because the hamstring tear is too fresh to do a lot of treatment. It's still in the rest and ice phase (bruising is subsiding though). The chiro did just two things that could be considered treatment:
1. Ultrasound to injured hamstring. Wonderful results. The next day I had a 90% decrease in pain.
2. A casual mention of, "Wow, tight lower back" accompanied by pressure from one hand resulted in soreness, spasms, and pain all week. Um, thanks. My back has never hurt me in my life until now!

So, the diagnostic part:
1. First, looking at the legs/pelvic area, I have some hip-locking. This I knew. We will try some hip-popping once I have healed muscles in that area to keep the popped hip where it should be. Fine, that makes sense.
2. Once acute damage subsides, will look into tightness in calf that is leading to pain and damage (probably contributing to knee pain too).
3. Supposedly I have no mobility in the SI joint. Whatevs.
4. And of course, the most obvious. I have scoliosis. But this is my first actual diagnosis or look into it. I had my first x-ray of the area and I was appalled. I have this giant spinal curve and pretty severe rotation. I find this hard to believe because to me my spine LOOKS straight. But there it is.
Of course I knew/guessed I had scoliosis since I was a little kid. The reason is that my rib cage is uneven: my left ribs are normal, but my right ribs actually bend inward. So my right ribcage is concave!   This is, of course, on the side that is compressed.

The scoliosis part is the one I'm most worried about because I don't see how that can be treated. I know it is affecting my gait, balance, pelvic rotation, hip mobility, etc. The chiropractor I saw treats many runners, but he was a little hesitant to recommend a return to the sport. He actually referred me to an orthopedist for the spine issues as a precaution (I'm not going). He's realistic enough to admit that this is a problem that won't ever go away and will always affect running.

Take-aways from the visit?
1. I'm pretty awesome for running, walking, and functioning well/normally for 30 years with a big fat curved and rotated spine. And I have good posture. So there.
2. I have good strength in all my muscles; poor function in most joints.
3. I will need to maintain flexibility if I ever do run again.

I'll report back once I have some good old-fashioned bone cracking done!


  1. I think that being in shape and a healthy weight probably helps a lot with functioning despite your scoliosis. My brother has scoliosis and is an overweight out of shape smoker and his Dr. and Chiropractor told him that the best way to deal with his chronic back pain is to exercise, stop smoking, and lose 50 lbs.

  2. It sounds like you got a lot out of the visit, actually. And I don't see you stopping the sport, so I guess it's a matter of figuring out how to make it work for you. Fingers crossed for you!

  3. Whoa, lots learned!

    As for chiropractors being quacks -- I actually know someone who left the profession because the practice she worked at got so "quacky" and it wasn't what she believed in at all. But I guess the point of that story is, there ARE good ones out there who care about their patients. I had a lot of success with chiropractic for a past hip injury. Hopefully your visit was helpful in some way!!

    Also, holy nuts to all your injuries. I'm so sorry to hear about the ham tear.

  4. I feel the same way about chiropractors, though it seems like this one actually helped and did not try to sell you any potions. My hubs has scolioses, wore a brace in HS which corrected it partly, but it is still there. I think with a good regimen of strength training and flexibility you will be fine; it does not seem that the scoliosis is too severe? With my husband you can really see it by looking at his back. Good luck!

  5. I hope you have a positive experience with this chiro! I started seeing one this summer to help with some minor knee pain. He did ART therapy and it honestly worked wonders for me. I just saw him last week as my knee/calf were feeling wonky.

  6. Glad you were able to get some answers but I know the scoliosis part is a little frustrating. My husband had major issues with scoliosis in high school and college but saw a chiro regularly and did strength and back exercises daily. He was able to work through all of his issues within a year. I know every case is different but I hope you are able to learn what can help your situation so you can get working on it. If anyone can get through it I'm sure you can!

  7. Wow, sounds like you have been running with issues for years! I'm sure you know that all your issues/injuries are likely related, something I learned from my sports chiro. I actually have two chiros - one I've been seeing since my last pregnancy ten years ago, and one more recently who specializes in sports medicine (he also does ART and Graston). Both are wonderful. And both amaze me with the things they are able to discern, so that I go OH YEAH, so that's why that's been hurting! My sports med guy told me that I have a roughly three quarter inch leg length discrepancy, which explains the major buildup of scar tissue in the foot of the longer leg, as well as recurrent sciatica on that side. I hope you are able to get some answers from your doc!! With regard to flexibility, do you ever do yoga? I used to practice a lot and when I did I rarely, if ever, had back pain and didn't have any running until I stopped (I had a hard time fitting it into my schedule). It's so good for allover strengthening and flexibility.

    1. (that should be, "didn't have any running injuries")