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Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

1 Post tagged with the injury_healing tag

In the last blog, I mentioned my endo and that injury resulting in a shotgun approach to healing. The chiro was first, three days after that it was a massage and follow-up to the chiro a day after the massage.


I’ve had lots of massages over the years, so this was nothing new. The therapist worked on the muscles around my scapula, many of which were tight and had knots in them. A painful session, but I had more pain relief the next day.


Visiting the chiro the day after the massage, I relayed to him how much pain I was in over the weekend. He said this was normal for some people and some injuries. At this visit, he did another adjustment. This one was less than the previous adjustment. I forgot to mention that he did use cold laser therapy and electro-stimulation (e-stim) on me after the adjustments to help promote healing. After the second adjustment, he used only e-stim.


I had never had cold laser treatment and honestly, I don’t know if it did or didn’t help. I had e-stim in the past, to help heal a tendonitis problem (way back in the early 90s) and I don’t know that it did or didn’t help in this situation.


That’s one of the problems with the shotgun approach – it’s hard to isolate what is making things better. All-in-all I was getting better. Ten days after the endo, I went on a road bike tour. Though the pain was better, it wasn’t gone.


I’ve had rib injuries in the past – a previous endo. That one was a front rib injury and it took six weeks to really be back to 100 percent. Returning from the bike tour, I still had pain when I tried to roll over in bed and coughed or sneezed. I wanted to continue to try to speed the healing process to be less than six weeks; so I decided to see an acupuncture therapist that I’ve known for years.


For those that have never had an acupuncture treatment, the sensation is hard to describe. The fine needles are inserted into your body at specific points, aimed at helping healing and increasing energy flow. Lying face down, the acupuncturist inserted the needles in my feet, legs, back and arms at locations specific to my injury and others to help promote good energy balance.


The sensation when a needle is inserted at a spot where there is no energy meridian or blocked area of energy is…nothing. I couldn’t feel much of anything at all. When she inserted the needles into areas where there was work to be done, the sensation was dull pressure, heat or an electrical charge.


After all the needles were inserted, she left the room and let me rest. It was very odd. I felt like a Christmas tree, with the needle insertion points alternating between “off” and “on” – no feeling or a feeling of heat or electrical charge. It’s not enough to be painful or uncomfortable, just enough to raise awareness.


When she returned and pulled out all the needles, she asked me to roll onto my back. Without thinking, I placed my arm under my body to prop it up for a roll. At that moment I realized that this was the first time in just over three weeks that I was able to use my arm, back and shoulder to support my body in this manner. It was instant relief from pain I’d been dealing with for weeks.


The day after the treatment I was able to ride the mountain bike for the first time in 24 days. Some of the technical areas created a bit of pain, but it was much better than before acupuncture. At 29 days after the endo, I was able to do a two day mountain bike ride. The ride wasn’t easy, I pre-rode two loops of the Breckenridge 68 course.


After my experience this summer, I’d consider chiropractic treatment again – but it is not something I plan to do on a regular routine. Massage will continue to be part of my regular routine at a frequency of once per three to six weeks. I will likely continue acupuncture on some routine, that routine is TBD. I had good experiences using it for an injury and for pre-races (three of them). I didn’t have any results using it for post-race recovery – speeding recovery.


I think you have to experiment for yourself to determine if these alternative therapies help you or not. I think results depend on the therapists or doctors you use (of course you need to find good ones), the treatment they use, your specific injury and your body’s response to the treatments.


If you’re looking for good practitioners, talk to people you know that have had a good experience. I’ll take a personal recommendation over a cold-call whenever possible.


Best wishes staying, or getting, healthy ~





Questions and discussion can be found on my Facebook page.


Cycling and mountain bike training plans can be found here.

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