Thursday, April 25, 2013

First Chiropractic Experience

I've mentioned a few times that my knee has been bugging me since my half marathon in February.  It's never been a constant pain, but every now and then the back inside of my right knee would have a little bit of a strained-to-sharp pain.  As we all do now-a-days, I tried to self-diagnose using WebMD and other Internet searches.  My pain wasn't matching up with any "typical" running injuries.

I was hoping Joe might be able to help me.  He is currently in chiropractor school in his 6th of 13 quarters, and they are studying extremities.  Unfortunately, the lower extremities are later in the quarter.  No luck there!

Then, he suggested I go see his friend at the student clinic.  Once they reach 9th quarter in school, the students become interns at the clinic.  They work under doctors and have to bring in 50 new patients for exams and care.

Having never been to a chiropractor before (officially), I was a bit skeptical.  I was nervous to have a student work on me (even though I know that Joe's friend is very smart and will make a great doctor).  I was also nervous because of the adjustments that Joe has done on me.  He does a good job, but the maneuvers are a bit scary (like same-motion-as-snapping-the-neck type stuff).
Image Source--also good article about neck adjustments
Disregarding my hesitations, I made an appointment.  I wanted to see if I could get this knee pain figured out, and I wanted to help Rachel get in her 50 new patients!

I had my first appointment on Tuesday afternoon.  I had lots of paperwork to fill out, then I met up with Rachel for the appointment.  She started out going over my paperwork and reviewing my pain and my medical history.  After that, she started an all-over physical exam to see what all I needed done.

Before looking at my knee, she checked my neck and spine (of course the chiropractor will check those things!).  As I expected, my neck was very tight, especially in the muscles between my neck and my right shoulder.  I also had something out of line in my mid-back.

Then, she got to my knee.  At first, she was afraid it was the joint space in the knee.  But then, she told me the pain was coming from my hamstring insertion (medical term: semimembranosus) which connects to the knee exactly where my pain was coming from.
Image Source
She then adjusted my neck, back, and hip.  She had to call the doctor in to work on my knee since she didn't have the certification for the technique they were going to use: the Graston technique.  Here is a description of the technique from the website:

"Graston Technique® is an innovative, patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively break down scar tissue and fascial restrictions. The technique utilizes specially designed stainless steel instruments to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation.
Originally developed by athletes, Graston Technique® is an interdisciplinary treatment used by more than 16,000 clinicians worldwide—including physical and occupational therapists, hand therapists, chiropractors, and athletic trainers."

Basically, they take these tools and rub them over the effected area in order to break up scar tissue and fasica that are keeping the muscles from gliding over each other as they're supposed to.  
Image Source
First, they used the tool on the bottom right to identify the problem areas.  What was weird was in the areas that were painful, it felt like there was gravel underneath my skin!  In the other areas, it felt smooth.  I guess I was feeling the fascia and scar tissue that were around my muscles.

Then, they used the "handlebar" (long tool on the top) to break up the scar tissue and fascia.  It was a little painful, but I was warned about that beforehand.  When they were finished, they iced my knee and encouraged me to do so later in the evening.  

It was AMAZING though.  I stood up to leave, and my knee DID NOT HURT AT ALL!  I was given some instructions before my next appointment and told to come in twice a week for a few weeks.

I was afraid my knee would start hurting again on Wednesday.  But, other than being a little sore (as they warned me it would be), but the pain was not the same as before.  I was told I could still exercise, but I took an active rest day by just taking the dog for a long walk.  I also iced in the evening, and the knee is feeling good.

I have another appointment on Friday, so I'll keep you posted on the progress of my treatment!  So far, though, I must say: if you're a runner and you have an injury you just can't kick, try to see a chiropractor.  Check to make sure they have a Graston certification, or that they specialize in sports injuries before you make an appointment.  Some chiropractors are very specific about what techniques they use, but most should be pretty well-rounded.

Question for you: Have you ever seen a chiropractor?  If so, what do you think?  If not, what's kept you from seeing one?

Disclaimer: I am in no way a medical professional.  I am just speaking from an experience I had recently that seems to work for me.  For sound medical advice, please see a professional in the health field!


  1. Interesting! I've never been to the chiro before, but I wonder if it would help my knee? Thanks for the insight!

    1. It just might! Maybe you should check them out.

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  3. Congrats on your first chiro experience, Amy! At first, it really feels awkward because you have no idea on what to expect. But when you undergo some procedures, you'd know that it is a good alternative to ease your muscle pain. I'm glad to hear that you had a good experience with it.

    Kris @Core Wellness Centre

    1. Dr. Dorken, you're exactly right! Going regularly really helped me a lot, especially as a running.

  4. Thank you so much for this encouragement - I'm going to my first chiropractic visit today and I'm very excited, wish me luck!

    1. Tara, I hope it went well! I have really felt much better after going to the chiropractor. It's gotten rid of a lot of little aches and pains I didn't even know were affecting me so much!

  5. It's good to hear that your first chiropractic session went well. You just need to follow your doctor's orders and never miss your scheduled session for your recovery faster. It may take time and at times might hurt a bit, especially during adjustments, but the next thing you'll realize is that you're already back in good condition.

  6. First chiropractic sessions are always the most awkward. However, it's nice to know that you've been enjoying the benefits of chiropractic treatment. Keep on running, Amy! Just keep your chiropractor's contact details on hand in case of emergencies. :)

    Alan Siegel @

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