“Stand with your legs shoulder width apart”, Dr. Marc Lucius, the chiropractor, instructed. “Can you see that one side of your hips is pushing forward more than the other?”
I glanced downwards and gasped, “I can’t believe that I didn’t notice. And why hadn’t the other doctors checked my hips?”
“Well, if you don’t know what to look for, then you won’t be able to see it.” He replied, sounding like some kind of a guru.
I had been leery about going to see a chiropractor. I didn’t like the idea of getting my back cracked and I was afraid that I would get addicted to the cracking. Instead of going to the physiotherapist, like I normally do, I decided to give the chiropractor a try. Marc was a friend of my brother, how bad could it be?
I explained to Marc how I got myself into this predicament.
The first time I injured my leg was about two months ago. It all started with a surf contest in the town where I live on the pacific coast of Mexico. I was so upset about not winning my heat that I vowed to do whatever necessary to win the next contest.
I started surfing harder and longer. Some days I would surf for four or five hours at a time. I stopped worrying about breaking my board. I stopped worrying hurting myself. I started watching surf videos on www.surfcoach.com and thinking about what I needed to do to improve my surfing.
One area of my surfing that clearly needed improving was getting more vertical on my maneuvers. From watching the videos, I figured out what I needed to do – look exactly where I wanted to go. How could I have forgotten the golden rule? For years I had taught my students that in surfing, as in other sports, where your look is where you go. Why had I stop applying this rule to my own surfing?
After about a week and a half of surfing hard, my coach and I drove north in search of waves. After the long drive, I just wanted to get in the water. I did a half-assed warm up and bolted. I caught a few small fun waves. Then a bigger set came through. I caught a wave and instead of looking further down the line on the wave, where I might do my next turn, I looked up. I focused on the spot a couple feet above my head and it worked. My board ricocheted perfectly off the lip (the top of the wave where it was breaking). My board and I whipped back down the face of the wave in one piece. We did it again. But on the third re-entry I felt the muscle in my inner thigh stretch to the limit and that was the end of my ride.
I dropped onto my stomach on my surfboard and paddled to shore. I limped out of the water and into the shade where my coach was sitting.
“What happened?” Guerrero asked.
“Did you not see my last wave?” I asked sarcastically.
“No, the sun got to be too hot so I came back up to the shade.” He told me.
He had missed my wave. He didn’t see my three incredibly vertical re-entries. I could feel my ears starting to burn, anger welling up inside me.
“Next time pretend that I am the Queen of England and don’t turn your back on me.” I advised. “ Walk backwards so that you can see me the whole time.”
Guerrero disregarded my last remark, and said, “The reason you hurt yourself is because you didn’t warm-up properly.”
A surge of pain snapped me back to the present day. I was lying on the table in Dr. Marc’s office in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
“That really hurts.” I said. Clenching my teeth, I clasped onto both sides of the table.
“Just a few more.” The doctor assured me as he dug his thumb even deeper into the crevice of my upper leg, manually moving my leg up and down. He informed me that I had pulled my adductor longus muscle (the one in the inner thigh) and my iliopsoas (hip flexor muscle).
I rolled over onto my stomach. He pushed on one of my vertebrae, maybe the 5th one down from the top, wanting to know if it hurt. Of course it did. He zapped me a couple of times in the area with some little impact gun, actually called an Activator. Following instructions, I turned onto my side. He grabbed one of my legs and pushed down while twisting. I heard some cracks and let out a few curses. Then it was time for the other side, more cursing. I wondered if all the other patients cursed too. Apparently they did.
For the last couple of months, I had been trying to get over my injury. I had taken painkillers and anti-inflammatories. I had iced the injury. I had rested. I even quit surfing, swimming, yoga, and walking. Nothing had worked. And now, after hardly walking for six weeks, I walked out of my visit to the chiropractor’s office feeling 70% percent better.
The experience at the chiropractor wasn’t bad after all. In fact, after three doctors and an ultrasound, Dr. Lucius seemed to be the only one who knew exactly what to do. Maybe he was some sort of a guru after all.
Thank you Marc for putting up with my cursing and, more importantly, for helping me getting over my injury.