The alternative title for this post is: If you don’t like one doctor, shop around!
I’ve been pretty vocal lately about my frustration re: my scoliosis and the fact that I believe it causes most of my running injuries. The right side of my lower back is weaker as a result of it, and because of the curve, there is also pulling of the muscles to one side, which causes a chain reaction all the way down my right side. Every single running injury I’ve had has been on my right leg – not a coincidence.
After my marathon in March and the incredibly horrible physical state I found myself in afterwards, I decided I finally wanted to see if there was anything that could be done about my scoliosis. At the very least, I should be able to strengthen the right side of my back so that the muscles don’t pull so much to the left, right?
So my first stop was an orthopedic spine specialist. I won’t get into details, but let’s say I was extremely disappointed. He’s rated one of the top docs in Phoenix, yet I felt like I was rushed in and out, told I needed unnecessary and very costly tests, and told that my only option was surgery, which I was not even a candidate for. I left unsatisfied and refused to get tests I don’t need. Needless to say I won’t be going back.
I was later telling my stretch therapist about my experience and she said that she had a friend who had a great experience with a chiropractor who does various things to actually correct the spine – called spinal remodeling – and not just adjust it. So I paid a visit to this chiropractor, who conveniently happens to be a mile from my house, and I am suddenly finding myself hopeful and optimistic about my scoliosis and future running career.
The way he explained it makes perfect sense. We basically need to determine how the muscles/ligaments/tendons (do you even have all of these in your back?) in my back are wrapped around my spine and then pull them in the opposite directions to “unravel” the twisting and pulling. We start with a baseline x-ray and then determine if it’s working through subsequent x-rays. The traction machines/equipment looks a little scary and weird, but if it works I will try anything. It’s not a quick fix – we’re looking at a correction of 2-4 degrees per year (my scoliosis is currently at 28.3 degrees), but I’m willing to be patient. It sure beats waiting and watching as it gets worse and then having surgery when I’m 60 because it finally reached 43 degrees.
So the moral of my story is: if you don’t like a doctor or what he/she tells you, get a second opinion. Seek alternate medicine, if needed, and believe that there are options when it comes to your health and body.