Yesterday a chiropractor told me I didn't have much long-distance running in front of me because of my age. "Fifty-three? I didn't know," he says. "Your knees, your back...people weren't built to run marathons." Maybe, but that's still the last time that guy gets my business. Not because he's telling me something I don't want to hear, but because I simply asked him what I needed to do to get back on my feet.
The guy's got $150 of my money for three adjustments and two massages, trying to get my hip back in alignment. At least he could've advised me to let the injury heal, then add more stretching and strengthening. Instead, he's telling me I'm done. Then adds: "Of course, you could come in here three times a week for adjustments and keep running."
Now here's a guy advising me that it's okay to run on an injury as long as I pay him 90 bucks a week to push my hip back into place. It's no wonder his patients can't run longer as they age -- or for that matter, walk the mall.
"As we get older, our muscles get tighter and our bodies get thrown out of balance. The key is stretching and lengthening and balancing." --65-year-old masters runner Shirley Matson (Runner's World, August '06)
Stretch, strengthen, lengthen. I guess I already knew what to do. I got into this mess with my hip because I jumped back into running after a long layoff, and my hammies and abductors and calves and IT band tightened up like a snare drum. I continued to run on the tightness. After one week, the drawn up muscles simply pulled my hip out. Over the last 10 days, as soon as any mobility returns, I try to run and re-injury the area deep in my hip. Spasms. Inflammation. Pain. More downtime. Back to the chiropractor.
"You're at a point where you'll always be injured," says the chiropractor, again implying the only solution at my advanced age is regular and frequent adjustments.
I've been hearing about the crippling effect of LDR since I was 25 years old. About how it would wreck my body. And it surely will if I get hurt and don't let the injuries heal and don't do the things I need to do to strengthen and lengthen muscles, especially at my age.
That guy's history. I've had some good luck in the past with a chiropractor. Certainly massage has gotten me through numerous injuries. But bodies at any age need time to heal. Add strength and length and there's no telling how far you can go -- on individual runs or through the years. Unless you listen to self-serving doctors like my ex-chiropractor.