I did something today that I never thought I would do: I went to the chiropractor.
After cutting my long run short on Sunday because of hip discomfort and having continued awareness the next day (though I did have a pain-free 5-miler!), I wanted some assurance that I wasn't injured or in danger of being injured. I could have gone to my primary care physician but a co-worker regularly sees a chiropractor, and her positive experiences prompted me to give it a try.
There are probably 5 billion chiropractors in my area but I decided to go to one that I was familiar with, often passing it on my way to some of my favorite downtown restaurants. It didn't hurt that "Sports" is in the name.
Dr. Jen, who runs the practice Hoosier Sports & Chiropractor, has an educational background in neurology but her experience is in sports. She has worked with Olympic hopefuls, professional football players and international soccer players. As she told me, her work was to get athletes back on the field as quickly as possible but do it in a way that wouldn't jeopardize their fitness over their lifetime.
Do I know how to pick 'em or do I know how to pick 'em!?!
Dr. Jen and I talked a bit about how much I run, how fast I run, when the marathon is and what my goals are. She's worked with sub-3:00 marathoners on top of the pros, and I felt humble telling her my goal for Columbus. She assured me that we would work on getting me to the starting line healthy and helping me finish happily whether it was fixing something now or keeping it together and doing some real work after Oct. 21.
We then went through some of range of motion exercises and strength work to see what caused pain, if I had limited movement and whether there were any imbalances. I was a bit surprised that nothing caused any real pain as I could feel my hip when I was sitting but felt cautiously excited. We did a few more things as I anxiously awaited a verdict.
Drum roll, please ...
There's nothing wrong with me, orthopedically speaking. And the problem isn't even in my right hip, where I'm feeling "it." The source of my pain is a weaker left quad and a tight left hip that is causing my right side to overcompensate. Dr. Jen said that many people live with such imbalances but might not be aware of it because of their level of activity. Athletes exacerbate the imbalances, so to speak, and will feel pain as a result.
Dr. Jen gave me an exercise to do for my left leg, as well as taped me up. The goal is to encourage the mind-muscle connection so that my brain becomes "more aware" of my left leg and uses it more. I'm also going to try carrying my 24-pound behemoth on my left side more often and alternating which arm I use to push the stroller.
Yes. I said push the stroller.
At the end of the appointment, I asked Dr. Jen whether it was OK to run during this time.
"Oh, yeah," she said. "In fact, I want you to run."
Amen to that.
Endnote: I do go back Friday to gauge how things worked and go from there. While going to the chiropractor, to me, seems a bit indulgent, I am happy to say that it is covered by insurance.