Hope, For a Change

I spent around an hour at Active Chiropractic with Dr. Green and his staff this morning. My first visit to a chiropractor. Like many people, I grew up hearing the myths: they aren’t *really* doctors, they are quacks, they have crazy/dangerous ideas about how to get or stay healthy, and so on.

Most of those myths had been dispelled by the time I reached adulthood, but I still hadn’t availed myself to a practitioner, partly for a lack of need, and partly because one last myth remained: that no insurance would cover chiropractic care. Now that the last myth has been thoroughly rolled back, I find myself more than happy with the care I received in that brief hour I was in Dr. Green’s office.

It helped that I knew what was wrong with me, that I have experience with IT band issues, that I had been trying on my own to recover, and that I had been educating myself on IT band pain treatment options. We didn’t have to waste any time covering basic education on my injury, or of what his method, Active Release Technique (ART) is, and how it works. I had done my homework.

After introductions and minor pleasantries, we went straight to work. Mostly, it involved him applying deep pressure to the areas below, above, and all around the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) as I flexed and extended my right knee.

The woman who referred me to him told me it was very painful and that she had wanted to punch him from the pain. Dr. Green joked about positioning himself carefully in case I felt the need to kick him.

I neither kicked or punched. It hurt but it hurt in the “this will help” feeling, or what he called “therapeutic pain.” I have been dealing with pain that can spike to a 8 or 9 for the last ten days, so this kind of pain was no picnic, but it didn’t warrant punches or kicks.

After the ART therapy, he showed me two new IT band stretches. We talked throughout about my running history, his own (he is an Ironman Triathlete and distance runner himself), and races we have done. He thought it was cool that my first half marathon was a trail race.

After stretches, he sprayed some BioFreeze on the area and said this would help dry out my skin and make the tape he was going to apply stick even better. He said KT Tape is a little lower quality than what he uses in his office (Kinesio Tex Gold was what he used) but still effective. He made me realize I was seriously over-stretching the KT tape when I applied it, which is why it would peel off so quickly or seem so ineffective. He also explained that the tape was not to support the ligaments below so much as to lift the skin and allow better circulation to the affected area. His applied tape is supposed to last 3-5 days!

I am glad I didn’t write my intended scathing review of KT Tape. Now my opinion is reserved for the next time I have to apply it.

The final part of the appointment was when he turned me over to Christine and she hooked me up to their Electronic Muscle Stimulus machine, or what they called their stim unit. I figured it was identical to a TENS unit, which I have had used on my back for severe back pain, but he said its frequencies were different and it was more fine-tuned to this kind of injury. I had to do some Google-ing, but I did learn that the major difference is a TENS unit is designed to ease pain through stimulating nerves, while the EMS using brings no pain relief, but speeds healing by increasing circulation and blood flow to the affected area (or that is what I took away from my Google-efforts).

While the machine sent a flow of electricity around my knee, they put an ice pack on it, and I enjoyed the sensation of what felt like carbonated water on my knee; a sort of fizzy sensation. It was relaxing and not at all painful, unlike some of my TENS unit experiences.

I set up my follow up for next Tuesday, and feel more optimistic than ever that I can not only run the Richmond Half Marathon, but that my goal time is not necessarily an impossibility. I got my bib number and Wave Assignment (I go off at 7:46 a.m.) yesterday, and plan on availing myself to the Richmond Road Runners Pacer for my goal time. I do extremely well when following someone with a solid cadence, so since the service appears to be free, I am going to find my rabbit and chase her or him all the way to the finish line.

Now, I leave you with a big grin (this was 2 miles before it REALLY started to hurt last Saturday).
(Photo taken and owned by Chris Schuessler.)


One response to this post.

  1. I’m glad you got your knee looked at and have some new things to try. You are totally going to rock out this race! I’m a little jealous. :-D


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