Yesterday, I saw a client who lives for golf. We'll call him Jim. A 40 year old executive, Jim cuts an imposing and professional figure at 6'4" and some 210 pounds. Always impeccably dressed, to the uneducated eye, one would never know that he was carrying around intense pain. Yesterday was our third session together.
About four weeks ago, during our first session, Jim told me how he had been so sore in his low back that he couldn't even set up for his golf swing. His sadness over this inability to participate in his favorite activity for the past 8 months was palpable in the room. I asked him a few questions about where he was feeling the pain, and we got to work. First session, I treated his low back and hips with deep tissue massage, alternative friction and muscle energy techniques, intending to help him get space and ease of movement in those regions.
Second session, Jim told me he had been to the driving range and had hit a bucket of golf balls with minimal pain during and after! Guy was excited, I could see it all over his face. This session, I treated the areas I'd treated before, but added some significant work to his tight IT bands (also known as the iliotibial tract). The reason for this, as I told him then, was that those straps of fascial connective tissue were SO tight that they were pulling his hips off level, not to mention restricting the movement of his quadriceps and hamstrings. That day, he walked out of my office sore, and I told him to drink more water than normal to help wash away the junk that we'd broken loose. I also told him there was no shame in a couple of ibuprofen before bed.
Yesterday, before our third session, Jim told me that he had played TWO rounds of golf the previous week, with minimal pain during and after, including the morning after each session! Holy crap! High five dude! We spent more time during this session treating the same trouble areas, and I could tell that between my work and his home self-care routine, we were making real progress.
This is the stuff I live for, folks. There is NOTHING like that feeling of helping someone's body return to function.
But let's take a moment for a reality check here. Human bodies are incredibly complicated. The pathway to health and wellness is NOT a straight line including pills and surgery as western medicine alone might have you believe. My treatments are one piece of Jim's recovery puzzle, which includes chiropractic care and his own home care and physical fitness routine. It may be that I just happened along at such a time in his recovery as to benefit from the updraft of his prior 8 months of dysfunction and recovery.
But it may ALSO be that therapeutic bodywork is an effective way to help get you back in the swing of your daily life.
(See what I did there?)