Up and Running: A Story of Abundant Life

 “Well, maybe it’s just degenerated. I mean, we all get old.”

I hoped that my mouth was gaping open, and I attempted to swallow my shock. I was 26-years-old, in shape and healthy, but I had such severe shoulder/upper back pain that sneezing was horrible and I had trouble lifting my baby from her crib.

I couldn’t believe this was the only answer to my pain after seeing a medical doctor, having multiple x-rays, hours of physical therapy with a kinesthesiologist, and an adjustment by an osteopath. I was just old??

I started coming to be adjusted by Dr. Ryan several times per week. I began to feel relief, but hurried back in for my next appointment. He also began adjusting my left ankle, which had limited range of motion from an old sprain.

Before long, I could sneeze without holding my neck. I was lifting my children without thinking about it. I was wearing my heels again, as my ankle improved. I only needed adjustments for maintenance.

Fast forward a couple years later, and I was pregnant with my third child and coming back regularly for adjustments with Drs. Ryan and Denise. Up until a few weeks before he was born, I was sleeping comfortably and I didn’t have as much sciatica as I had previously. My little one was born smoothly and easily.

As my baby turned one, I decided to take on a new challenge and began training to run a half marathon. It was really a huge physical challenge for me! I’ve never been an athlete and I felt I was pushing my physical limits.

I was only a few weeks into training when I experienced horrible sciatic nerve pain. I was up tossing and turning for a couple nights. I asked Dr. Ryan if he thought it was due to running. His response was, “Well, it’s more due to not being adjusted than to running. But of course, I’m just a chiropractor,” he said with a laugh. We joked a bit, but I knew that chiropractic needed to be part of my training if I was going to keep going.

I had a second, shorter bout of sciatica, but got into the office a bit more regularly.

I did my last long training run two weeks before my event. That old left ankle started bothering me, the Achilles tendon slightly inflammed. I rested it carefully, and successfully did two short runs. Four days before the race, I went to see Dr. Ryan, knowing an adjustment would make a big difference in my performance. He adjusted my ankle, and reassured me by suggested stretching, ice and then rest.

On the morning of the race, however, I walked across the parking lot gingerly. That stupid old left Achilles tendon was already sore and tight, while my instep felt slightly pulled. I was praying pretty hard!

I started the race slow, trailing behind the 2hr30min pacers for you running afficionados. The first mile I let my muscles warm up, letting training take over, trusting my body to innately tell me when it was too much, when I was done. But mile after mile, it was only better.

It wasn’t I hit mile 9 that my hips started to protest. I was so glad that I had trained with them in alignment and I pressed on.

As I neared the finish line, there was Drs. Ryan and Denise, cheering me on. What friends! What support!

I wondered what the consequences would be of having pushed myself to the limit, but in the days that followed the race, I felt good. A week later, my Achilles is only tired if I’ve been on my feet for a while.

I still shake my head thinking about how five years ago I was told that my body was degenerating, that there was nothing I could do. That I could take anti-inflammatories and pain killers, but that those wouldn’t fix the problem. I am so grateful for abundant life, for natural answers, for a wholestic approach, for chiropractic and for Drs. Ryan and Denise Dopps.


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