As any athlete knows injuries really take a number on us both physically and mentally. By the time I will admit that there is an issue going on I am usually pretty far into the pain spectrum and a doctor needs to get involved before I am back to 100%. Going to the doctor means admitting to myself there is something serious going on that is not going to magically fix itself. It also means paying money to allow myself to be able to be fit and active to benefit my longterm health (I love high deductible health care plans). So it absolutely infuriates me when I walk into a doctor’s office and the first thing that pops out of the MD’s mouth is… “Well you really shouldn’t run.” Awesome. Thanks doc you really put a lot of effort in to that diagnosis. So finding the right doctor is all too important as an athlete because it allows us to feel comfortable not only when fixing that injury we let fester for far too long, but also in preventative care to maybe alleviate issues down the road. So to all the doctors out there listen up- we want to come see you, we want to not be injured- so stop making it so gosh darn difficult.
I love to run. I love absolutely everything about it… okay everything sans chafing because no one likes that. However running and my body do not always get a long. Sometimes they hate each other. Usually I can get myself back in shape after finding the right way to fix myself (either physical therapy or going to see the chiropractor) and then actually finding a doctor who understands that telling me to stop running isn’t really a useful route to recovery. I recently have been having a ton of issues with my hip. After a few weeks of dealing with constant pain I decided I had to try to do something to fix it (stop shaking your head you know you have been there, too). I decided on going to the chiropractor to try to realign myself since I think Ellie may have knocked me a little off center when entering into this world. I had gone to a chiropractor in the past to alleviate a hip issue when I lived in Buffalo. I loved Dr. Mangnano. He understood that whether or not his medical opinion led him to think that running was the best exercise for me that was what I was going to be doing so we worked together to get me back on the road in time for the Buffalo Marathon a few years ago. Now that we live in Chattanooga I had to go through the laborious task of finding a new doctor who would be on the same page with me. After reading some reviews online I found a chiropractor not too far from our house which is good since I have to leave Elbow at mom’s when I go for an appointment. Within two minutes (I kid you not) of my conversation with the doctor on the first day his advice was, “well, I’m not telling you what to do, but you should really stop running.” I wanted to stand up and leave right then and there because I knew that he and I were not going to really be working towards the same end goal. However I sat through the meeting and got my x-rays. I walked out with an appointment for the next day to get an alignment and the feeling that I had just wasted 45 minutes of my life. I almost cancelled my appointment for the next day because I knew I would not find success working with that doctor. I was in so much pain though I figured I could go get aligned and then find different doctor with maybe a little relief.
Lucky for me I actually had a different doctor the next day when I went back. Dr. Nielson ran track at UT, trained to run at the Olympics, and currently is a doctor for the PGA tour. Needless to say he and I get a long much better. As of the first adjustment he told me to go out and run the next day to assess if I was feeling any relief. When I go for adjustments he asks me what my mileage is going to be for the next few days so he knows what he is working with and what my goals are. I was not expecting to walk out after my first adjustment and be back in perfect shape. After seeing my x-rays anyone would have realized that unless Jesus would have laid hands on me that was not going to happen. However working with a doctor who understood that telling me to simply stop doing what I love wasn’t going to happen made a huge difference in my recovery. I still have pain, but it is definitely lessening. The biggest thing is that I know I am going to be okay because I have a doctor who is telling me that which makes all the difference.
So to all the doctors out there dealing with stubborn athletes who wait too long to come see you- I’m sorry I really am. I understand that preventative measures are always better than reactionary. Maybe I’ll start doing yoga this time around or take ten minutes to stretch after every run (I have said that after every injury so no one should be holding their breath). However please stop telling us that running is not good for us. I do not know where I would be without running. It is the best thing I have for my mental health and has helped me become an all around healthier person. It helped me bring my beautiful baby into this world in a healthy way, has shown me that my body can truly do anything, and has allowed me to develop a deep appreciation for the beautiful world that God has provided us with. So I know I may have to do certain things to keep myself out on the trails that I may not have five years ago, but I am willing to do them. Work with me- don’t just tear my ambition down.
In response to this injury here is my recovery and prevention plan.
- Chiropractor adjustments to get my spine and hips back in the proper places.
- Superfeet Powerstep inserts to provide me with more support.
- New shoes. I think I wore out my Asics in the past year between my running and walking mileage. Especially with the added weight of Miss Eleanor. I am also going to switch to Hoka’s. I feel like I am running through Asics too quickly in my last few pairs. They may no longer be the shoe for me.
- Getting in more trail miles. We all know pounding pavement isn’t the best for our bodies and trails are much more forgiving on our aging bodies. (Has anyone else picked up on the fact that I am not looking forward to turning another year older next week?)
Here’s to a healthier running season.