Gotta Run: A visit to the chiropractor

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 26, 2022

Long ago, I decided I was invincible. Until I wasn’t! This week, it happened again.

As a runner, cyclist or just about any physical activity, I’ve had some incredible experiences and competitions. Sometimes I am amazed just how easy these physical challenges have been completed. But a couple times along the way, something just happened, and I experienced a severe case of sciatica, or inflammation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is defined as pain caused by the compression of a nerve root in the spine that causes pain in the lower back, hip and down the leg. Usually it’s caused by lifting, twisting or something odd like stepping in a hole.

I had two severe cases in my lifetime, both of them during my most competitive running years. It’s typical for runners and other workout enthusiasts to try to push through any kind of discomfort in hopes that it will go away. Both those times instead of getting better, I began to drag the offended leg along on my runs and those runs became miserable. Slower and slower, and then more awkward I went.

With some great help from my favorite physical therapists and chiropractor plus plenty of stretches and ice, those discomforts and limited mobility became history. Gradually, I felt invincible again, forgetting too easily what helped me get better.

About a month ago, I noticed a slightly different kind of nerve issue in my right leg. Starting at the front of the right hip, on down through the knee and usually including the lower ankle, I couldn’t stand still for very long without discomfort. Some nights, I would wake up to intense discomfort throughout that area. My runs got slower and slower, until Thursday morning when I gave up my morning run and headed for home intent on a visit to Dr. Andy Jeter of Jeter Chiropractic.

Twenty years ago, Dr. Jeter told me what I needed to do to heal the worst sciatica case I have had. He also helped about 10 years ago with another lesser round of it. A couple of our local runners got me started on chiropractic adjustments and they have really helped me. But when someone feels invincible, it’s easy to believe that they will still be invincible the next week. I didn’t keep up regular maintenance visits and as I write this column, I am not particularly proud of that.

Runners, walkers and active people have things happen like sprains, strains, foot problems and various trauma from sports injuries. Some of it comes from bending, lifting and twisting. Especially when weights are involved.

Dr. Jeter, one of few chiropractors to work on extremities, says, “Listen to your body. Prevention is the key! I enjoy working with my patients as they seek to return to regular activities.” He credits regular maintenance visits with better fluidity, decreased joint resistance, increased joint lubrication, more energy, better sleep, breathing and sense of well-being.”

Dr. Jeter added, “I believe there is a wheel of health that we have to pay attention to. Most Americans spend more money on their teeth than they do the rest of the body. Chiropractic care needs to be one spoke of that wheel, along with hydration, proper diet, sleep and exercise. Make sure your overall health gets priority.”

My problem this time involves the sacroiliac and somehow I have popped it out of place. This evening, on my second day of care, the discomfort is starting to very slowly decrease. I spent lots of time standing today and that right leg was better. Hard to believe, but I won’t try to run tomorrow and likely a few days after, making an investment in a quicker return to regular activities. For the time being, I will limit the exercise to non-pounding options.

Two races are just ahead. The West Rowan Bible Teachers Association 5K is set for April 2 and the Ed Dupree 5k follows on April 9. Look for these, the Beginning Runners Class and other upcoming events at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org.

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