By Dr. Tim Maggs
Try this the next time you’re sitting around and bored. Call your primary Dr. and tell them you have no symptoms, no pains or aches, but would like to come in to find out what you can do to maximize your chances of avoiding injury. Tell them you cherish your ability to run, and just don’t want to end up sitting on the sidelines of life watching if you don’t have to.
Kind of like, insurance, the way health insurance should be defined. However, when you do this, be prepared. You may hear a long pause on the other end (like you’re the fool).
That’s because, our sportsmedicine “specialists” can only help you when you become injured. Seems crazy, but that’s just the way it is. Unless, you opt to pay out of pocket and choose a different approach than the masses. Kind of like Lance Armstrong and his U.S.P.S. team did at the Tour de France. For the past 6 years.
Let’s all agree on one thing; the Tour de France has to be a tougher event than almost anything you or I will ever go through in our lifetime. Nothing will compare to the rigors of the Tour. So, with that fact in place, let’s discuss a few of the details. While in a recent conversation with Dr. Jeff Spencer, the head of the medical team for the U.S.P.S. Team, Jeff highlighted the fact that his 9 riders who started also finished. This is not some insignificant fact, since only one other team could claim such an accomplishment this year.
But, the story gets better. The U.S.P.S. Team not only had all of their riders finish this year, but they’ve had all of their riders finish each of the past 6 years, except for one rider who broke his arm. That’s all of the riders during the period that Lance has won the race. On the front, attacking, competing at the highest level. All who started over the past 6 years have finished. Can you imagine?
Is it luck? Coincidence? Or, is it strategic and due to some different approach? Well, to begin with, Dr. Jeff Spencer is a chiropractor. In our society, the “primary’s” are medical Dr.’s. Medical Dr.’s certainly have a place in our healthcare system, but it’s not in the world of musculo-skeletal sportsmedicine, which is where most sports injuries lie. Society has it backwards, while the U.S.P.S. Team has it right. A chiropractor, skilled in the many requirements of demanding athletes, is the perfect partner with athletes, if performance and survival happen to be the goal.
Secondly, and more importantly, the whole approach of Dr. Spencer was radically different than the approach that most sportsmed people take today. Obviously, Dr. Spencer didn’t wait for each athlete to become injured. Rather, he treated the athletes 3 times a day; on the team bus on the way to each day’s race, on the bus after each day’s race, and at night at the hotel in preparation for the next day.
In our everyday life, insurance providers call this “overutilization”. Many insurance companies, especially managed care groups, recommend 6-12 treatments per year. Again, can you imagine? Should we admonish Dr. Spencer for such overutilization? Or, do we need to re-write the books on what overutilization and utilization are? My experience tells me that most athletes break down at some point in their life. Most athletes go through the mundane, pathetic route of conventional care, only to find at the other end, the Dr.’s, tests and treatment provided was worthless. It costs thousands of dollars, takes weeks and months and years to find answers, and in the end, the athlete is left chronically injured with no solutions.
So, with all of that said, what’s it all about? Well, since our space is limited, let me bullet what all athletes need to do in an effort to enjoy their exercise more and stay off the injured list.
- Don’t wait until you’re broken—everyone else around you has been taught to not seek care until they’re injured, however, we recommend a Structural Fingerprint™ Exam sooner rather than later to begin to improve imbalances and other structural distortions.http://www.drtimmaggs.com/structuralexamb.asp
- Realize, there is nothing of more value than preservation of the human structure. Anything this important takes hard work and effort, so anyone who can help you preserve this wellness should be considered a valuable teammate (i.e.massage, chiropractic, yoga, pilates, personal trainer, nutritionist, etc.).
- Remember, youth hides a lot of sins. However, the body keeps a detailed scorecard, and at some point, the weaknesses manifest. Find out today before the big breakdown.
- The 3 things that should be used by everyone who wants to prevail and not break down;
- The Stick® for muscle management
- Custom fitted, flexible orthotics
- Chiropractic care to maintain lifetime joint mobility
- Realize, it’s going to cost to preserve yourself—so either pay now, or pay later with injury.
- If you become injured, seek a structural exam, as that is the key to getting back to normal.
Now, with all of that said and done, most of you now have a better direction to keep yourself “uninjured”. Give it a try, and if all else fails, contact Lance and ask him what the secret is. Not just for him, but also for his 48 teammates over the past 6 years. Best of luck, and have a great month.