Friday, May 19, 2006

Putting the pieces "back" together again

OK, so apparently, you all like guessing games!

Well, one of you is right… (Well done, TG!) And the rest of you are good guessers... or just plain funny!

After my last appointment with Tim, I did a bit of a re-evaluation. I really did feel that he had given up on me and ultimately thought, “I don’t pay professionals to give up on me and not believe me when I say that I am actually following their instructions (like doing my daily exercises and stretches). I won’t abandon physio completely, but I’m open to trying something else…"

Somehow, I just felt that the trust had been broken on some level…

It is hard to explain, because he’s extremely professional and knows his stuff… But when he didn’t seem to believe me when I said, “I AM doing everything you say!” I was totally exasperated.

“What the hell motivation would I have to lie?” I thought. “That wouldn’t help anyone – least of all, me!”

So… exasperation and frustration (and the fact that my insurance coverage is about to run out for reaching the maximum number of physio sessions) all cumulatively led me to consider another option.

While you all may think I was living it up outside the blog-o-sphere (which, well… I was!), I was also quietly scuttling off to the offices of chiropractor,
Dr. Michael Kricken (affectionately known to his patients as “Dr. Mike”).

I went to him on the recommendation of A., who has seen him for a year. Her partner, Mom and various friends also go to see him and all have reported good to excellent results.

As I said to A., “I am not convinced about this chiropractic stuff, but I’m running out of options here.” And off I went to see yet another specialist.

Turns out, Dr. Mike is also a runner. Marathoner, actually.

“Bonus!” I thought. “Someone who gets the running thing!”

The office staff took a detailed history which Dr. Mike then reviewed with me. He did a postural analysis and then a physical examination. He recommended X-rays and made absolutely no promises, saying that he wanted to see the X-rays first.

X-rays came back and we reviewed them.

Apparently, getting hit by a car as a pedestrian isn’t so good for a human body (happened when I was 21). Subsequent motor vehicle accidents don’t help much either. They catch up with you.

When you decide to take on activities that involve a lot of pounding (especially when you carry more than a few extra pounds, as I did when I started) and you factor in loose joints and hyper flexibility, the impact on the body is a bit much and suddenly, voila! You have yourself an injury… or a few... and a back that has been quietly waiting for years to give you pain.

I was shown the X-rays of my own spine… and pelvis. Even without medical training, I could see my hips sitting at an angle, one significantly higher than the other. He lined up the edge of X-ray envelope over the picture to show me the line of the top of my hip bones… definitely tilted.

Then, he showed me that my lower back with no curvature.





That’s not good. Lower backs are supposed to be curved.

So are necks. And mine is… a wee bit... but not much.

"You have great posture," he said. (Posture nazi trainer would be pleased, I'm sure.) He continued, "And that's because you're as straight as a soldier. It's too straight... Not much of a natural curve at all."

Add to that few bone spurs on the lower vertebrae (L4 and L5, to be precise) and the material in between them being squished together (“compressed”, I think it is called) and we start to see a picture forming.

“It’s another piece of the puzzle for you,” he said, explaining how backs are connected to all parts of the bodies and how the area of my back that is not functioning properly is directly connected to the knees. It seems that according to this philosophy, as long as my back is unhealthy, my knee won’t get better.

Another piece of the puzzle, indeed!

It’s one that explains why the injury might be hanging on… It helps to show why, when all my other tests came back normal that things still hurt. I thought back to my training sessions with Chris and he would often say, “Your right shoulder is creeping up. Keep it down!”

And I would growl back, "I don’t feel it! It’s not creeping up!”

"Yes, it is! Keep it down!" He'd retort.

Chiropractor agrees with trainer. Sarah is out-voted by two professionals.

The fact that I didn't "feel" it just means that I've gotten used to living with the misalignment.

So… pieces are falling into place. I don’t really like all the answers (bone spurs cannot be reversed, though their development can be halted), but some answers – especially logical ones – are much better than no answers. When I can start to put together what various professionals have been saying, the answers gain validity.

After the initial assessment, I asked the key question, “Do you think I’ll be able to run again?”

Basically, he said that with the orthotics to correct the feet and the chiropractic care for the back, the answer was, Most likely, yes.”

He was straight with me and said, “I’ll be honest. Your back is in rough shape. And it's been that way for a good long time. We need to work on it for a while first before you go out there and try and run again. Let’s give it a month and see how it goes. Then maybe we’ll start with a walking program… then run / walk… then running. For you, getting back to running would be an excellent goal.”

So, from there, we talked about a treatment plan that would include adjustments and later, exercises on my own. He said, “I can’t give you exercises now or you’d be in so much pain, you’d go through the roof. Wait. We’ll get there.”

Wait? I’m good at waiting. We know this. I don’t like it, but I can do it.

Bottom line, I was impressed by his thoroughness. I liked how he explained things in simple, but straightforward terms. I appreciated that he was direct with me and didn’t try to sell me empty promises.

This post is getting a bit long, so I’ll blog about the first few treatments next time. For now, I can say that I feel focused and truly hopeful for the first time in a while… Not to mention relieved… in so ... many ... ways.


megz_mum said...

Good for you for persevering! I hope this works for you

angie's pink fuzzy said...

wow, I'm so glad you followed your gut!! God, there must be feeling so much relief to know what's going on!

William said...

OK OK, you have me waiting... I am also at my whits end with knees.

If this works for you, I will try it too. Always a little unsure of chiropractic medicine, but whatever works!!

robtherunner said...

I am glad that you have a bigger picture now and can deal with the situation properly. There is hope, and that is a good thing.

backofpack said...

Hey, good deal! I've never been to a chiropractor but a lot of people seem to like them. I think the best part about yours is that he's a runner too. He'll be straight with you because he knows what it's about. Good luck!

olga said...

I had my chiro been good and thoughtful 9and a very fast marathoner too), and he helps a lot. And I do believe lots depends on how your back alignes. Actually, Rolfing deals with the same issues, but from muscle stand point. SO together naturopathy seems to be a way to go these days - back to old days:) Good deal of hope for you, yay!

Janice said...

He sounds like he knows his stuff! I hope he can help you, and you can get back to what you want to do--run!

I went to a Chropractor for five years, and he could only take me so far with my back, so I finally quite going. But I really hope this helps you.


ipodmomma said...

I too saw a chiro for a bit, got a few things straightened out, but then I switched to an osteo... but the main thing is you found what works!!

good wishes for continued healing...

Dawn - Pink Chick said...

I was impressed by how well he checked everything out. He seems to be on your side so that's a step in the right direction. Good luck.

craig said...

Great to hear thet you have found something that is working for you. I know that must be encouraging.

Turtle Guy said...

Having used a chiropractor for years, I will say not all chiropractors are created equal. It sounds like you've found a keeper.

psbowe said...

It's good to explore and search for answers, and you're getting somewhere with it.
I wish the best for you.