I Hurt My Back

I hurt my back last Thursday.

I have never had a back injury.  Like, never.  I’ve hurt my neck, broken my thumb, sprained my ankles, and torn my ACL, but my back has never given me problems.  As a chiropractor, perhaps this is to be expected, but in fact, the opposite is true.  Many of my colleagues decided to join this profession after having great success with chiropractic for their own back injuries, and many others now suffer with lower back pain as a result of the physical nature of what we do.  But for me, despite two babies, 225lb deadlifts, and a clumsy fall-down-often nature, my lower back had been spared.  Until Thursday.

Thursdays are my GSD day (Get Sh** Done).  I don’t have clinic hours that day, so my day often begins at the gym and ends at the grocery store, doing computer work, or cleaning my house.  This past Thursday, I was with my 9am crew working on back squats.  It was a 12-minute working segment; one back squat per minute for 12 minutes, with progressively increasing weight.  On minute six, I lost my focus.  I didn’t concentrate on my core, or my breath, and I heard a “click” from my back on the way down to the bottom of my squat.  I didn’t have pain immediately, but it’s not my first rodeo, and I knew exactly what I’d done.  I let my competitive ego take over, finished the workout, and then called the clinic.

I was in a treatment room less than two hours after that dreaded “click” and by then, I couldn’t even stand up straight.  But Dr. Dave worked his magic, and when I left thirty minutes later I was feeling almost 100%.  Through the weekend, my back pain came and went, but with some heat, core stability exercises, hot yoga, and a great Sunday long run, I am back to full function and pain free today.  Five days from start to finish; from hunched and bent forward in pain to a full deadlift workout at 6am this morning.  Chiropractic works.  That treatment set me up on a path of quick healing.

I’ve written about low back pain before, but this is the first time I had been on the other side of the coin.  This experience has grown my empathy and expanded my amazement with the wonders of my “job.”  It comes down to mechanics, and if we can fix your mechanics, we can get you out of pain and functioning optimally.  Quickly.

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Helping you to Heal Faster

Healing takes time.

Wellness takes time.

Back-to-normal takes time.

Pain is often the last indicator that something is wrong, so by the time you’re feeling sore, your body has already been in injury mode for awhile.

I view my role as helping you to heal faster.  Our bodies are smart, they know what to do to fix themselves, and I don’t claim to know any better; however, it’s my job to nudge things along.  But here’s the deal- you need to play your part and keep your end of the bargain.  Let’s do the math: even if you’re in my office three times per week (which is on the very high side of normal for an injury) you are receiving 1.5 hours of treatment in a 168-hour week.  This means you’re only spending 0.8% of your time with me, and 99.2% of your time without.

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I often tell my patients that the more they do at home, the less time they’ll need to spend at the clinic.  YOU are the most important person in your recovery.  From rehab exercises to nutritional changes to activity modification, the decisions you make in the 166.5 hours/week outside the clinic are going to greatly speed or slow your progress.

A few years ago, I wrote a post called ‘I Am a Chiropractor’ that tried to explain what it is that I actually do during the day-ins and day-outs of my practice.  That post was well received by my colleagues and patients alike, and is still my most-read blog post to date.  Today’s post is another attempt at explaining where my priorities as a healthcare professional lie.

I want you to be an active participant in your recovery.

I want to help you heal faster.

We’re in this together.

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