Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ignoring the Check Engine Light

I remember when it happened...4 months ago in July during a race that I had trained months for. The El Scorcho 25K midnight race in Fort Worth. I had never run 15 miles before and the race had a reputation for a fast pace and very hot weather (yes, even at folks here in Texas know exactly what I am talking about) so I had trained hard and was ready. In the process, I had changed over to a new type of shoe to help correct a problem called illio-tibial band syndrome that was affecting my left hip and knee. The change seemed to work well and I came into that night feeling strong and ready to go the distance. Well, I went the distance but did it at a price. The change in shoes drastically changed my running gait and as I got further into the night, my ankles and calves got progressively more fatigued. And then, out of the darkness came a rut in the running path that I failed to see in the light of my headlamp. In normal circumstances (daylight and better supported feet) it would have only caused a slight shuffle that I would have thought nothing more of. However, my fatigued right ankle rolled slightly and I stumbled...almost fell on my face...recovered...and then kept on running. At first I felt nothing but, as the miles kept piling up the ankle started hurting. Finally, I was forced to walk most of the last mile due to the pain.

As you can imagine, it hurt quite a bit the next day or two and I did what I was knew I was supposed to...RICE...Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Additionally, I treated it with Cold Laser, Kinesiotape, and FAST Patches from Wei Labs. It is what I recommend to my patients and, of course, it worked. I began to feel better. Within 4 days or so I was walking normally and feeling pain only if I really pushed the ankle.


I had 2 triathlons and a half-marathon on the calendar between then and mid-October and I didn't want to stop training. So, I went back to it. I kept the ankle taped but slacked off on the laser and the patches. I also didn't do any significant physical therapy for the ankle. And while it complained a bit when I ran longer miles, my ankle held up through the rest of the summer. In retrospect, my saving grace was probably that I was training in 3 different sports and thus, the cycling and swimming kept me from pounding it in those poorly supported shoes too many times per week.

Well, fast forward to the "off season" Off season really just means no scheduled races right now. It is too cold to swim and cycling requires a lot of clothing to fight the cooler temps. It is easier just to head out the door and run....a good time to start training for a marathon. That is exactly what the plan was...right up until this last week! And BAM! My right ankle pain came back hard. In the back of my mind I knew it would. As my running miles have started increasing over the last month, my ankle has gotten gotten crankier...and progressively earlier into each session. So it wasn't a surprise really when, last week right before Thanksgiving, I had to cut a tempo run short and walk home due to ankle pain. Now, I am forced to take time off of running to treat the ankle properly (I have no hurts even when I walk now) when I really can't afford to. My goal is to run the Cowtown Marathon in Fort Worth in February (my first full Marathon ever...26.2 miles) and I am on the 3rd week of a 16 week training program. Each week builds on the next so, taking a couple of weeks off to treat my ankle will likely blow my chances of being trained properly for my February marathon.

A consultation with a podiatrist friend of mine has confirmed that I need to go back to RICE, kinesiotape, cold laser therapy and FAST patches (luckily I know a great clinic where I can get all of that done...I hear the chiropractor there is pretty good). But now it will likely require additional physical therapy and some time trying to find the right, supportive running shoe to take care of my condition...posterior tibialis tendinitis. My friend tells me I am lucky I didn't rupture the tendon as happens to many runners that "push through" this type of problem. He has strongly cautioned me against a fast return because doing so will likely cause greater injury and only further my time out of the sport I so love...or even force my retirement from running entirely!!

So, I will be the good patient and do as I am it, heal it, rehab it and then properly support it as I slowly return to action. Although, I can't help but be angry at myself for all of this...if I had just taken a couple of weeks or so when this first started back in July to PROPERLY treat it, I certainly wouldn't be facing the weeks of time off and rehab work that I have to do now. And look at the consequences...I will likely miss the race that I have had my goals set on for over a year now. Because I didn't take care of the ankle when it was a LITTLE ISSUE...

Well, let me tell you...I see this scenario play out everyday in my office with my own patients! A neck injury occurs or low back pain develops out of the blue but it is they treat it a little (a few adjustments, some ice, some Advil) and the pain goes away. And then, despite my repeated warnings, so do they. Off to tackle all that the world has to offer...Too busy to do any thing more for their nagging little issue at the time. However, later when they return to my office once the little nagging issue has ballooned into a problem they can no longer handle, they lament, "I should have taken care of it earlier". It is then that they realize a small amount of time spent doing ALL the right things...for the right amount of time would have prevented the spinal problem from progressing, degenerating and becoming debilitating. Now they are faced with a tremendous amount of chiropractic care and physical therapy costing them much more time and money than it would have initially. And, in some cases, they let it go beyond the point that I can help them.

See, we forget that God made our body as this wonderfully adaptable machine that, if demanded to, will work around and/or ignore small problems (such as injuries, spinal misalignments, illness) for a while. Thus we can continue to occupy ourselves with whatever it is that we are focused on at the, kids, school, vacation, etc. BUT, in order for the body to do this, it must compensate...use joints and muscles inappropriately, bend differently, use more or less energy than usual, rest less, etc, etc. As with any machine that is used in ways it isn't designed for, these compensations eventually cause the body to break down resulting in pain...amongst many other things.

My point to all of this...hopefully it is clear by now. Don't ignore the small aches and pains. If left untreated, they will usually lead to bigger issues that require more time, energy...and yes, money to take care of. Be proactive! Go to the chiropractor early and often to live a long, healthy, break down free live.

I will leave you with a thought that I give to all of my patients: treat the aches and pains that your body throws at you just like the red warning lights that show up on the dashboard of your car...with immediate attention. You know what will happen to your car if you ignore the "check engine" light right? Well, don't let the same happen to your body...pain is a warning attention!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Statements Of The Think Big Revolution

As I finish reading and contemplating on the book I told you about in my previous post, I feel compelled to reprint here the book's final summary...His "Statements Of The Think Big Revolution". As I read and re-read these statements, I continue to be surprised how many of them continue to grab me and shake me each if it was the first time to "hear it"... a disturbing illustration as to how easy it is to become lost in the small thinking of our society. If we aren't careful, we are suddenly living exactly opposite of these statements which will certainly negatively impact our lives in so many ways...

From: The Think Big Manifesto by Michael Port

Statements Of The Think Big Revolution


I will identity what I stand for through a concerted process of self-questioning and exploration to discover my core, the what that is so me.

I will make public what I stand for.

I will hold myself visibly accountable each day to its letter and spirit.


I will be comfortable with who I am right now and know that I am good enough.

I will use my innate talents and gifts to do big things in the world.

I will not give up in the face of others' fear or disbelief.


I will be a person others want to work with.

I will work with others without hidden or selfish intent to accomplish our mutual goals in the service of what each of us stands for.


I will not seek control.

I will make visible my purpose, make promises in its service, and take risks to fulfill my commitments.


I will be an authentic person, one whom others can rely on.

I will make hard promises that push me to the best of my capacity.

I will not try to fulfill. I will.


I am here to learn.

I will deliberately seek out wise and true teachers and submit to the authority of the constraints they create in the service of our goals.


I will be congruent in private and in public, in purpose and in action.

I will act in the spirit, light, and service of what I stand for.


I am a warrior.

I will train to be strong psychologically, intellectually, and physically so that I may have the fortitude to do the big things I am capable of.


I will embrace chaos and joy.

I will let go of the false notion of control and laugh at the inevitable absurdity of existence, mine above all.


I will be now. I am now.

I will not wait for the other in the false security of excuses and procrastination.

I will do now.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stop The Stinkin Thinkin!!

This weekend, I began reading a new book recommended to me by a colleague, mentor and friend. Although I haven't yet finished it, I can already tell you that it is by far the most important book that I will read this year! In just a few short pages it grabbed a hold of me and shook me pretty hard...

But, before I tell you the name of the book, let me set the current situation...the reason I think this book has grabbed my attention. I'm betting many of you may be able to relate!

Have you ever felt like the world is just moving WAY TOO FAST?!? Like somewhere along the line somebody turned up the speed dial but forgot to tell you to "hang on". I think most people have times in their life that are like problem though, is that there seem to be more and more of these times. I find myself getting bogged down in the minutia of running a business, treating sick and hurting people, caring for my family, paying my bills, attending the never ending meetings...etc, etc, etc. And in the process of all of this...forgetting to have fun...enjoy...breath...look around. The world is a complicated place...mostly because we have made it that way...and it can easily overwhelm you if you let it. All of those things I just mentioned are necessary and should be enjoyable (yes...even the paying the bills part) but NOT when they are viewed as just "part of the grind". You know what I mean...just one more cog in the more in a never ending set of tasks...another day another meeting. Are you guilty of this mentality? I certainly am!

Here is my thought on why we fall into this trap ("its time to make the doughnuts") that causes life to lose its luster...its joy...its meaning. It is because we forget to think big...we forget to set and work towards goals. NOT just "make it through the week" or "get that next bill paid". No! I mean big things...really big things! Things that almost seem unachievable! Business things, personal things, family things. It is these big things that make us stretch...that make the "daily grind" have importance...that make things fun. Working toward these goals (or expectations as I like to call them) give us purpose and direction. They help us prioritize all the "things" in our day. They even help us make decisions about what we will and wont do. Its simple...if a particular decision isn't going to get me closer to my goal(s) then I probably won't go that way. Boy, that makes decision making easy!

BUT, then it happens...even if you did get those goals set. Even if you did start off good in working towards those expectations. Even if they were big things that made you tingle and made you excited to get up in the morning. Life! things happen, distractions occur, let downs come around. And, if you aren't careful, suddenly you have forgotten the goals and your decisions are getting made not by what is best for the expectations you set...but by what is needed to get by in the moment. How does his happen? Oh man, the opportunities are endless; buying into and continuing to listen to the media, an issue with your child, a fight with your spouse, an unexpected business occurrence, a financial crunch...(by the way, I came up with this list from my own experience over only the last 4 months!). And just like that, you are off track...distracted, not having fun, failing your daily challenges, grouchy, angry. A business coach of mine calls this "stinkin' thinkin'".

It is important that we recognize first, how important it is to have goals to strive for and secondly, how easy it is to get off track if you let your guard down. We must constantly remind ourselves of our goals...the directions we want to go, the things we want to reach for. the joy and the success and the "living" come in the work and efforts we put forth in working towards these goals. But we must be diligent about reviewing and reminding ourselves of these goals DAILY! We must remind ourselves everyday to think big, think positive, stay focused. Why? Because no one else will do it for you. In fact, there is much in the world that will conspire against your success...the media (when was the last time they reported something that uplifted you?), the government (not much positive or supportive coming from that direction lately), even your friends (many will revel in your failures because it keeps you closer to their lot in life), just to name a few.

And so this book made me realize that I had fallen pray recently to my own stinkin thinkin. My last few months have seemed to contain more negatives than positives. And I had not pulled out my goals for review in quite a while. I got caught in the spiral of thinking small...looking only at the things going on in the moment...and then dwelling on them. Perpetuating them. I allowed a few bumps in the road...a few cogs in the wheel to get me looking...and then moving in the wrong direction. This book has encouraged me to think BIGGER. And to do it a lot (like all the time!). It has reminded me that life is much more fun when I am striving to achieve big goals...I look forward with anticipation to all the opportunities that tomorrow and next week bring to move closer to those goals (instead of just getting up to face another week).

I've re-evaluated my goals...and in some cases have even increased them a bit. They are big...exciting...scary. I will raise a lot of money for an Autism cure, I will see 80% of the people in my area receiving chiropractic care, I will complete my first Marathon in 2010, and many others. I'm excited, I'm thinking bigger already. Next week is still as busy as it was scheduled to be when I left my office on Friday. There are still a lot of potential distractors. However, from my re-adjusted view now...there is a lot less "grind" to it and so much more opportunity to move closer to my big goals. And boy that sounds like FUN!

By the way, the book that I am reading is called The Think Big Manifesto by Michael Port. Check it out...I hope it shakes you up as it did me.

Until next time...Live Healthy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tri To Be Healthier

Today, I accomplished another "check mark" on my To-Do List. I competed in, and finished, the Keller, Texas Monster Sprint Triathlon. It was a goal I set for myself back in May when my brother told me about a similar race he had done near his home in Colorado. Not to be outdone, I immediately began looking around for a race to do too...yes, there is just a touch of sibling rivalry to be had here. Well, I actually found 2, a September race in Denton, TX and today's race, literally just around the corner from my home. They both went on the calendar and my training commenced.

Triathlon brings together 3 sports that I have enjoyed over the years; swimming from my high school days, cycling from my high school and college days, and the distance running that I really love to do now. How wonderful it has been to have all of these different exercises to choose from as I strive to keep myself in shape! I mean, I love to run...but I had forgotten the freedom and speed that cycling provides and the break from all of the joint pounding that swimming provides. And then there is the training discipline that taking on such a sport demands. Because, of course, I hadn't just set a goal of completing the triathlons. I set a goal of doing well in them (my competitive nature I guess). Anyway, during training you have to do a bit of work in each area each week. It is really hard to burn out on this kind of program because it changes everyday. I found myself always looking forward to the next training session because I hadn't done that particular sport in 2 or more days.

Well, long story short, my first triathlon a few weeks ago was done as a learning get an idea of how the whole thing works. Today, in my mind, was the real deal. at 7:30 the race began; 300 meter swim, 12mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. Beautiful (slightly chilly) weather, great roads for the bike and a beautiful trail to run. I finished 80th out of 700. Not too shabby I must say. And more importantly, I feel great.... it is such a thrill to push your body that way and to feel it respond. Then, 2 hours later, I was back home with my family for a day of activities.

But, the real reason for this post is not to discuss me but to discuss some things I have noticed as I have ventured into this world of triathlon. What I have discovered is that, while there are some real die hard tri junkies (live eat and sleep training and racing), the more common tri athlete is everyday Joe and Jane. What I mean by this is that just as many are slow as others are fast. Just as many are a bit over weight as others are skinny and perfectly fit. Just as many are gear heads (fancy clothes, fancy bike, fancy shoes) as other are "everyday" (shorts and a T-shirt, Schwinn street cruiser and cheap nike tennis shoes). My point is this:

I was with 699 other people today that had all made a commitment to themselves to get and stay fit. And they were announcing it publicly by setting a goal to complete this event...and then actually showing up (something I have noticed we often don't do)! While we were all out there "racing", the real competition depended on the person. There were an elite few that were truly competing for the top prizes. Others were trying to top out in their age categories. Still many others that I talked to were there just simply as a commitment to themselves to live an active life style and to be with a group of others that have a similar interest. Whatever their reason, they were there. While the rest of the world slept, they were there doing something healthy and good for themselves.

And, I have discovered this about triathletes too; they are a very friendly and supportive bunch! In both races, as I set up my transition area prior to the start, I had great conversations with the athletes around me. We talked about training, and goals, and where we had come from (most were previous armchair captains) and what kind of physical and mental changes we had seen as we worked our way towards our races. Furthermore, out on the course, the athletes all cheer for each other..."looking good" or "great stride" or "your tearing 'em up". And at the end of the race, they all hang around exchanging stories and the goals for their next race and...most importantly, cheering in those that are still coming in to the finish.

In fact, I enjoy watching the late finishers more than those coming in around me because they are truly there just for the fun (and the exercise) of it...sometimes hours behind the first place people. I like watching them because of the true emotion they display. My favorite today was one of the last place people on the course....she was riding an old bike that could have used some work, overweight and moving very slowly. BUT, as she entered the transition area to drop off her bike and begin the running portion a huge cheer came up from the other athletes that had long ago finished and were already packing up their gear. She had a huge smile on her face and tears coming down her face as she yelled to no one in particular, "I'm doing this!". And she was...with every peddle of that bike, every step of that run, every stroke of that swim, she was not just getting closer to the finish of this race...she was gaining a longer shot at life...a healthy life.

I don't know this particular person's story, but I've heard a lot of similar ones. They finally decide to take control of their health. And they do it by setting a lofty goal...finishing a triathlon...and telling someone. That makes it stick...that makes it official. Now they have to do something to reach that goal. It is really the training that is important, not the race its self. The race is just the motivation. The training,,,the exercise...that is where they really win. They create new habits, they eat better, they have a healthier focus. Maybe they have help...a coach, a training buddy, a guide book....what ever it takes. But just as many do it all on their own. The bottom line is that they realize a change needs to be made and then they take the biggest step...getting started.

Does this need to be you?

So maybe triathlon isn't for you...maybe you sink when you swim or have joint pain when you run. That's ok, I get it. My point is not to turn you into a triathlete, my point is to show you that you CAN change take control of your health...and have fun doing it. BUT it must be a lofty goal...or you won't strive for it. AND, if you do decide to give triathlon a tri, welcome to the is a growing group and boy is it addicting!

Until Next time...Live Healthy

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Here Goes Nothin'

Well folks, here I am...all dressed up and nowhere to go. I've officially been dragged, kicking and screaming I might add, into the world of tweets, twitters, facebooks, blogs and websites. I really have wondered about them for a while...but kind of from a distance. I knew it would one day be important to have all of these things because it is obvious that this is how the world of communication and connection is going. But yet I resisted. I said I was too old, too stuck in my ways, too...well you get the point.

Anyway, I have succumbed to the peer pressure of my colleagues, the suggestions of my business coaches, the requests of my patients and friends and yes, my own curiosity. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning, after setting up my Twitter account yesterday, to find 2 people "following" me. And now there are more... Kind of a strange feeling. And now, blogging...telling people my thoughts. Well, I've always had "thoughts"...often strong thoughts about topics. Some people insist that those thoughts should be put here for people to read, examine, think about, act on...and yes comment on. How scary!

So yes, I will be putting my thoughts on health care, chiropractic, living well, motivation, running, autism, kids, politics...well, maybe not politics...right here. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you learn from it. I hope it makes you think. If so, let me know...and pass it on to a friend. I've dedicated my life to helping others through natural healthcare and education. I hope this forum can become yet another way to reach out and help others.

Till next time... Have a Healthy Day!!