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What A Chiropractic Patient Can Learn From Olympians

The Olympics are in full swing.  There have been crazy lapses in judgment (I’m looking at you, Greek triple jumper), epic meltdowns, and gratuitous shots of heart-broken adolescents (and their parents) after realizing their olympic dreams of gold will not come true. But there have also been amazing achievements, clutch performances, and incredible stories of personal triumph over adversity.  Whether you are into athletics or not, the Olympics offer something for everyone.
In my chiropractic practice, patients often ask me what they can do to get the best out of their time here.  Let’s talk about rules that all Olympians live by that just may be the missing link to getting the most out of your chiropractic treatments.

Rule # 1:  Be Consistent.

Michael Phelps did not earn 22 medals (18 golds) by taking days off to go shopping.  He didn’t cancel on his coach because he had “family in town.”  He didn’t skip treatment from his trainers because he wanted to go golfing.  In short, Michael Phelps did not become the most decorated Olympian of all time by structuring his training around when it was “convenient.”

Chiropractic care is very similar.  The more consistent you are, especially in the beginning, the faster you are going to achieve results.  Most people enter my practice after YEARS of damage.
The muscles are used to the old position and will tighten, throwing everything back out.  Consistency is the key to retraining the muscles and joints in order to accept the new position and allow long term changes in your spinal health.  Sure, making chiropractic care a priority in your schedule can be inconvenient.  Do you want to know what’s really inconvenient?  Back surgery.  ‘Nuff said.

Rule # 2:  Be Patient.

Do you think Gabby Douglas ever fell off the balance beam?  Of course she has.  In fact, every gymnast has fallen...countless times.  But what keeps them from quitting?  Why do they continue to get back up on the beam, attempt another vault, or try another double back handspring flip with a twist?  Patience.

This is a tough one for many of my patients who have suffered with back pain, neck pain, and headaches for YEARS.  The quick-fix, instant gratification mentality of our society forces us to demand results NOW!  However, there is no quick-fix.  There are no shortcuts.  Results take time, perseverance, and patience.  Pain can often linger even if positive changes are taking place.  You might have a really bad day.  This is especially true the longer the problem has been present.  Nerves, joints, and soft tissues need to be supported while they heal.  Being impatient and resorting to quick-fixes (pills, potions, etc.) will only prolong the problem.  Some patients quit way too early because they have decided that a 7 year old back problem should be better in two weeks.  It just doesn’t work that way for most people.  Stick with it!

Rule #3:  Ignore the NaysayersI would be willing to bet that every single Olympian out there has had SOMEBODY scoff at their dreams of being an Olympian.  Somewhere along the line, someone said their dream was too big, too difficult, too far-fetched.  The truth is that most people don’t dream big, so when they see somebody that does, it makes them insecure, so they do what they can to drag any dreamers back down to their level.  It is human nature.The difference between an Olympian and a spectator is that a champion ignores the negative and focuses on the positive.  They believe in themselves and their ability to make their dreams a reality, regardless of what the critics and pundits have to say.  And they will often take the negative comments and turn them around to fuel their fire to do what it takes to win.  Okay, enough with the sports cliches.

Chiropractic patients experience this phenomenon a LOT:

From their medical doctors: “It’s just your age/weight/stress/arthritis.  There’s nothing that can be done for your back.”

From their spouses: “C’mon, your headaches can’t be THAT bad. We can’t afford those chiropractic visits.  Now, let’s go shopping for my new bass boat!”

From their family:  “Mom had a bad back, too.  It just runs in our family.  You need to learn to live with it.”

From their friends:  “My sister’s postman’s uncle once said that his brother’s fiance’s sister was killed in a chiropractor’s office, so don’t let one touch YOUR neck!”

Here’s the thing:  No one is responsible for your health but YOU.  Don’t let anyone try and tell you what to believe and how to take care of YOUR health.  Find out for yourself.  If what you’re doing isn’t working, be willing to try something new.  So what if it goes against the grain?  So what if it flies in the face of conventional wisdom?  So what if everyone else has given up on you?

Chiropractic care is the ultimate grass roots movement.  We don’t have commercials on television 24/7 urging you to try it.  We don’t sponsor NASCAR teams, golf tournaments, or have high-paid celebrity spokespeople endorsing our practices.

What we do have is a longstanding, consistent record of results with real people with real health care concerns.  If chiropractic didn’t work, people wouldn’t come back.  They wouldn’t make it a priority.  They wouldn’t refer their family and friends.   Every day, more and more people are giving chiropractic a shot and making it an important aspect of their health care.

If chiropractic care didn’t work, I would have never played football again after injuring my neck my sophomore year of high school.  I was told not to try chiropractic.  Luckily, my mom insisted.  Without chiropractic, I would have just taken the vicodin the sports medicine doc prescribed.  I probably would have gotten hooked.  That would have likely been a gateway to other pain medications, which commonly opens the door to abuse of other drugs.  I probably wouldn’t have gotten all those A’s and then gone to college, where I met my amazing wife, Kristen.  I wouldn’t have my beautiful family.  I certainly would not have had this great job where I get to make a real difference in people’s lives.  Good thing I never listened to naysayers, huh?

In summary, we can all learn from the dedication and sacrifice that Olympians make for their country.  You should be willing to show a similar level of commitment to your health.  With the right plan and the right attitude, anything is possible.

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