Overcoming Pain: How Chiropractics Helped Me Run

Me and the B (B is for Back Pain) (‘B’ IS FOR BACK PAIN)
I’ve been dealing with some issues lately and thought I would share it with you all in hopes you will gain something from my experience. This post is for runners, or anyone who has had to deal with pain.

It’s so hard to appreciate something when you don’t realize you have it. Moving without pain is taken for granted by all of us I think.

Pain has the ability to suck the happiness out of your day like no other thing. It takes the joy out of your most favorite activities and makes the simplest tasks seem like unmanageable obstacles.

Running is my cocaine. It starts my day, processes my tasks, plans my schedule, heals my fears…it is a welcome friend I cannot live without. I enjoy running. When pain becomes the only thing I feel when I run, my world falls apart.

A HISTORY OF BACK ISSUES
I’ve been dealing with back issues my whole life. Only a few times has it interfered with my life, and even then pain medication made it tolerable. I’ve always maintained a back strengthening regimen and done core exercised to stave off back pain. But after a fall from my bike last spring dislocated my sacrum, I entered into a downward spiral that came to a head this January.

As usual, I tried to train through the pain. Some days were worse than others, when it got really bad I would take a couple Naproxen Sodium and hope for the best. But when I found myself walking in the half marathon I ran in March, I knew something was really wrong. I don’t walk during races.

A few chiropractic treatments got the pain back to tolerable and I went on with the summer, agreeing with myself that I would take it easy this year, no real races, just fun stuff like the Tough Mudder.
tough mudder diane and danny<

SLIPPING INTO A RUNNING HELL
As summer turned to fall, my running pace dipped slower and slower and my joy turned to drudgery. I began to dread my morning runs knowing they would be slow and painful. The pain turned to sciatica that made sitting and standing a miserable state while at the same time kept me up at night. My attitude was irritable with the constant nagging ache behind every answer to a question. I was miserable and miserable to be around; my family can verify this.

WEIGHT GAIN
To add gas to the fire, I began to slowly gain weight. As a person who monitors her weight daily, and has maintained a steady weight my entire adult life except for during pregnancies, I was at a loss for an explanation. No amount of exercise or food restriction managed to bring my weight back to the happy place. I found myself reaching for weight loss supplements…something I don’t ever do. They didn’t help, my weight kept rising. I was up about eight pounds and feeling a complete loss of control…something I don’t deal with easily.

A DESPERATE MOVE
In desperation I limped into a local chiropractic office to see if they had any specials going. I had an initial exam and given a treatment plan. This time, for the first time ever, I committed to following the full plan. I purchased a 20 visit package so that I wouldn’t quit after I got a little better, I signed on for the full six weeks.

The first week was up and down. My sciatica pain was magically relieved but replaced by severe lower back pain. In the second week the lower back pain resolved but was replaced by severe neck pain. Then the sciatica came back. By week four, almost nothing hurt.

While all the treatments were going on, I kept running. I had initially asked the doctor if running, biking or swimming was aggravating the problem and he said, “Maybe, but I’m not going to ask you to stop. I don’t want you to stop.” This was the best thing the doctor could have said to me. If he had said something else, I may not have gone back.

LOGGING MY PROGRESS
Anyway, on the Monday after the first two treatments I actually felt like going for a tempo-run. And every Monday after that I went for another tempo-run to gauge my progress. Amazingly, by the second week I found myself wanting to do speed work more than once a week. By the fourth week I had shaved 1:41 per mile off my run four weeks prior. All the runs were on the same stretch of road, for six miles. Here is the average pace for the four weeks:

Week prior: 9:36
Week one: 9:06
Week two: 8:32
Week three: 8:12
Week four: 7:54

THE HEAVY WEIGHT LIFTED
My weight had not only returned to normal, I dropped an extra two pounds. How you say? Well, I had to think hard to figure out why but I think the answer will make sense when you hear it. There are a few things but the main reason is the fact that the pain went away. When your body is in pain it releases cortisol. Cortisol causes your body to gain weight, especially in the mid-section.

As babies, when we cry, whether it be because we are wet, colicky or hungry, the first thing we are offered is food. Over time, our brains relate food with comfort. This causes havoc in many people’s lives, especially when they suffer from a lot of sadness and stress. But it can also cause a person in constant pain to reach for food when nothing else seems to work. Since I suffered with a constant ache in my left leg I was mindlessly reaching for food to comfort me. It wasn’t until I decided to document my calorie intake that I realized what I was doing. Now that I am aware of it, I reach for a drink of water instead and remind myself what I am doing. When the pain is gone, the behavior stops.

That’s the other thing: the X-rays the doctor took revealed gastric issues. No amount of colon cleanses or fiber seemed to resolve the fullness I felt in my mid-section. I realized what I needed was to practice what I preach and drink more water. Water cleanses the body like no other thing. I made a conscious effort to drink about eight glasses of water throughout the day. My waist gradually returned to the hourglass shape I was used to.

TO BE CONTINUED
It the words of my chiropractor, as you unwind the spine all other issues will disappear. And he wasn’t just talking about back pain. When your spine is healthy, signals reach the brain, organs function better, your body moves forward with less effort, thought processes clear.

I’m entering my fifth week of therapy and am feeling better and more alive than ever. I’m excited about racing this year, I think it could be my best year ever. I will keep you posted on the outcome.
tri pic 2<
I'm also testing chiropractics on my son to see if it will help with bed wetting. After just three adjustments, he had his first dry night ever.

I should also mention that my chiropractor practices ABC chiropractics (Advanced Biostructural Correction)

#running #pain #chiropractics #weightloss #weightgain #bedwetting #backpain #sciatica #stress #cortisol #ABCchiropractics

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SWEET MARTHA VS. DOG

                       

‘The Georgetown Run Club and Intellectual Society’ Undergoes a Name Change

The Georgetown Run Club and Intellectual Society is undergoing another name change. It was only a few years ago that we decided to add “and Intellectual Society” to the end; since we are all so smart and eclectic and talk about super amazing things. Now we are changing again.

It was Martha’s idea. Martha has been in The Georgetown #Run Club and Intellectual Society for about 2 years now. But before she was part of the club, she was my #biking partner. Martha is like a mother figure to me, though my mother would have been 67 this year and Martha is in her young fifties. She is the happiest person I’ve ever met. You know the type, always smiling, even when she feels like crying. She is a #hero to me and to countless other pavilion goers that see her busting her butt on the elliptical and in the pool every week.

Martha taught me to ride a bike. Well, she taught me to ride a ‘road’ bike. She took me from a shy, brake-squeezing peddler to a confident cruiser in the span of a year. We ride twice a week in the wee hours of the morning, just her and I. We talk about life and vent all our concerns, after a couple hours we always part ways feeling a heck of a lot better for the time we spent together.

Martha joined the run club as a #newbie #runner. She struggled with issues on and off. She was almost ready to do a half marathon when her first injury occurred: she fractured her foot falling off a step. Once she recovered from that she was doing alright until her dog took her for a walk one day and ruined her shoulder. She recovered from that surgery like a champ. Somewhere along the way though, while getting back into running, she began to have issues with her heals. Every time she ran, she wouldn’t be able to walk the next day.

Now Martha loves the Run Club, but she didn’t feel right showing up and not being able to run. She felt like she wasn’t part of the club anymore. On a ride this weekend she made a request: “Can we rename the run club?” What a great idea! The Georgetown Run and Walk Club and #Intellectual Society, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue but that’s okay. We have a lot of people in our club who walk, why not recognize them!

Well, this Monday Martha and I went out for our usual ride. It was wonderful. Martha always mentions how lucky she is to be able to ride bike and enjoy the beautiful mornings in northern Scott County. But this Monday, was different. After parting ways, Martha headed home on her bike to her house and so did I. I made it home, but poor Martha…she didn’t.

About 4 miles from her house she was charged by a dog. The dog hit her front wheel and sent her flying. She landed hard on the ground, breaking her pelvis. Her husband called me from the hospital explaining what happened. I was dumbfounded. She was so strong and happy just an hour before, now she was in the hospital unable to move, she’d have to use a walker and wouldn’t be back to herself for three long months.

I knew this would be hard for Martha; she is one of those people that multitasks and is always moving. She is either biking or #swimming or working in the #garden, caring for her parents, playing her #piano, canning tomatoes; always something.

It didn’t surprise me when I got a text from her husband. He was with her at the hospital and I was sitting at home preparing an email to go out to the run club. I was going to tell everyone about Martha and arrange for all of us to go visit her at the hospital on Tuesday night. The Text simply read: Martha wants to know if we can change the name of the run club again. She wants it to be called: The Georgetown Run and ‘Walker’ Club and Intellectual Society.

No Problem Martha, you just get better soon.

BTW: #Dog owners are responsible for injury caused by their dog whether it be from a bike or an accident caused by them. The ower of the dog that caused this accident had been spoken to many times about her dog and it chasing bikers. The owner blew-off the complaints, telling us that the dog was harmless. That owner (and her homeowners insurance) is now responsible for Martha’s bills and most likely a settlement. Martha spent over a week in the hospital and will have 3 months of rehap.

 

WILD DEATH

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Being the ‘back roads traveler’ that I am, I have made it clear that I delight in the beauty of my surroundings, especially the #wildlife.  There is however, another side to these roads…a darker side…the wild death.

I often ponder the image of a Far Side #Comic, not one that has ever existed but rather one of my own creation.  In the cartoon there is a convertible speeding down a road.  The driver of the car is a deer in sun glasses, riding shot-gun is a raccoon flicking a cigarette out, in the back there is a squirrel and a possum with big grins and hair wild with wind.  On the sides of the road are dead humans of all ages in different stages of decomposition, flattened, with tire tracks through them.

Being on foot or #bike on these back country roads one stumbles (quite literally unfortunately) upon all forms of dead little creatures.  They range from the extremely sick and twisted headless dear to the average everyday leather pouch looking leftovers of last month’s possum.  And of course, everything in between.

Last October found me and my family visiting a #Revolutionary #War reenactment at Fort Boonsboro.  The family and I stood fascinated as an actor showed us how to skin and tan our very own deer hide.  So as a #homeschool mom I was not at all surprised to hear my daughter say, ‘mom, if you find a dead dear on your run today will you bring it home so we can skin it?’

Much to my delight, a large snake met is fate near the end of one of my #runs and I cheerfully brought it to my children for approval.  They were let down; this wasn’t the buck they had imagined.  But after some convincing, I managed to get an audience.  I carefully skinned the #snake with my husband’s fillet knife which was last year’s Christmas gift from my sister.   Finally we found a use for it!  The kids were sporting exited expressions as I pointed out the little guys stomach and ribs.  The expressions faded to horror as the days went on and scent of rotting flesh hung in the air on my porch.  The nice actor never warned me about that.  Ultimately the snake skin was moved farther and farther from the porch as the decaying process resolved itself…so far that we never saw it again.

During deer #hunting season it seemed every dog I saw was guarding his own piece of the kill.  Most of the dogs just warned me with their eyes as I passed and they gnawed on their bone.  One particularly playful dog however simply could not let me pass without joining me for a romp.  So he snatched up his deer leg and brought it along.  As we ran down the road side by side I was being kicked in the butt by a deer leg.  It was rather strange.

Recently on an out-and-back run down my favorite road I spotted a perfect deer skull in the ditch.  The recent rains had evidently washed it down the embankment for me to discover.  A few yards farther down the road I noticed a really nice deer leg.  I made it to my turnaround and ran back with extra spring in my step.  As I approached the leg I barely stopped, just reached down and scooped it up mid stride.  The skull took a little longer.  With a leg in one hand and the skull in the other I loped the last mile and a half home with a strange imbalance.  As cars passed I smiled as if to say, ‘I know! Aren’t they AWESOME!’

When I arrived home I gently placed the deer leg and #skull next to the cat skull, bird skull and cow skull on my porch.  I pushed my door open and found my kids eating breakfast with my husband at the table.  As usual they asked how my run was.  I gave them a big grin and said, ‘hurry up and eat kids, it’s time for science class!’

 

Wild Death (published in the Georgetown News Graphic Column, 2011)