Tag Archives: Eastside Chiropractic

Could seat angle be cause of my pain?

Periodically I keep bringing up the issues I am having with my hip. I’ve tried lots of things — rest, stretching, foam roller, and more. However, while these things have helped, it seems that the pain is simply being managed. Finally, I wondered if the problem might be my bike.

When I got my Felt AR, I had it set up with the numbers measured from the Giant TCR Advanced. The measurements matched up perfectly. So, I assumed that my body was positioned identically.

Recently, I had the Felt converted to a TT bike. While it was rigged that way, I was riding my Giant more regularly. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something felt different. I also found that my hip was — while still painful — not hurting as much.

When I got my Felt back in its road race configuration, I decided to see about getting a fit. If the bike was set up correctly then I would at least be able to rule that out. If it wasn’t, then that would give me some hope that making some changes to my bike would help me combat this pain.

Eastside Chiropractic

I called my friend and chiropractor, Dave Mruz at Eastside Chiropractic, and asked him if we could set up a time for him to take a look at me — and my bike. As usual he arranged for me to meet him at a time when he could devote the time needed to give me the full treatment. I was looking forward to learn what he would find.

He was skeptical at first that the problem was the bicycle. He wanted to take a look at me. I explained to him how that I would wake up in the morning with my right hip nearly locked up. I described how when I tried to sleep on my left side my middle back hurt to the point where I couldn’t breathe.

“Come with me,” he replied and led me to an examination table. He ran some range of motion and resistance tests. I could tell I was failing. My right leg simply couldn’t resist the pressure. “You have problems,” he stated.

It was then time for him to go to work. Within 30 minutes, I was felling better. You know how it is that you get used to pain? It becomes the new normal? Then you realize how much pain you had when you get relief from it. Sometimes that happens when you take pain medicine. You find yourself spontaneously chuckling as the relief floods over you.

“Okay, let’s take a look at the bike,” the good doc said. I sensed he still thought that the problem was mostly with me, but he agreed that we needed to remove the bike as a potential cause for my problem. I was really hoping that it was set up incorrectly. I wanted to think that I could pinpoint the root cause of my issues.

After explaining how I had the bike set up originally, we went to the Internet. Dave wanted to see if the geometry of the frames of the Giant and Felt were similar — primarily the seat tube. What we discovered was that the seat angle was different. So, that meant though the distances measured between the various points on the two bikes were the same, my actual position on the Felt was lower than the position on the Giant.

So, we started from scratch and positioned me on the Felt frame based on the angles of my body. That lead us to raise the seat a number of milometers. It felt good on the trainer. Now I just need to see if that translates into improvement on the road.

Dr. Mruz tells me that the change should also help me produce more power. That would be a nice side benefit to the process. Overall, though, I just want to find an end to the pain.

One of the other things I like about my chiropractor is that he is a cyclist. He is always thinking of the physiological aspects of the sport. For instance, before performing a particular procedure that would open my rib cage he had me breath into a lung volume analyzer. I registered a 5200 on the scale. When he was done he had me blow in the tool again. This time I registered 5700.

“Yeah,” I said, “but how long does it last?” He explained that this was something he surmised would happen based on what the procedure is attempting to accomplish — loosen the tension of the ribcage. Less tension there the more the lungs can expand. “I’m still compiling data,” he explained. “I only know that it creates an immediate improvement. I need to do more testing.”

It is that kind of thinking that attracts me to his office. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he is the chiropractor that many pros seek out when then are in town. Not to mention the fact that he is just a really nice guy! Thanks so much, Dr. Mruz.

End of a road to start a new one

Today at 2:10 PM, I’ll go to visit my neurosurgeon, Dr. Johnson. I have every reason to believe that he will tell me that I no longer have to wear my neck brace. Since my hand cast came off a couple weeks ago, that would mean that today the visible reminders of my May 22 accident will be gone. For months I have looked forward to this day, but this morning I realize that while it is an end of one part of my recovery, it is the beginning of another.

I’ll confess. I have cheated. I didn’t wear my brace a whole lot while on vacation last week.

I knew that when the neck brace came off it would be pretty painful. While the bones have healed nicely, I still have had a bit of neck trauma from the accident coupled with weeks of immobility. The bottom line is the muscles in my neck are a wreck.

The hope was that by taking the brace off a bit more last week, I could get a head start on the recovery. I knew that the bones were healed because we had originally scheduled my appointment during that week. Had I not been on vacation I could have removed it then.

Whew, when I first went several hours without it, I realized that just getting the brace off didn’t mean I was healed! The tendons in my neck were like hard rubber. Used to be it was the brace keeping me from turning my head right and left. Without the brace, it was the muscles.

By the end of the time without the brace, I had a headache and I was physically tired from holding my head up. It is kind of a weird feeling. You typically don’t think about your head. It is just there. However, when you go through a neck injury like this, you get reintroduced to the weight of your noggin.

Now for the good news. I have seen progress. If I can keep reminding myself to relax, I have found I can go longer and longer without the brace. I think I have gotten a weeks head start on recovery. I need it… the 2010 Ride for Mike is less than two months away!

My ace in the hole is Dr. Mruz of Eastside Chiropractic. At the beginning of this season I had quite a few issues due to a pretty bad crash at the end of last season compounded by overdoing it on the Challenge to Conquer Cancer ride that October. Dave took me on as a special project and he is one of the reasons why I was able to see such success during the first part of this season.

He is determined to get me moving again. He is going to be an important team member for a successful event this September. It all starts today once I leave the neurosurgeon. I’ll then head over to Eastside Chiropractic and start the road to strength.

It is a road I’m ready to ride up!

Tears in my eyes

I rushed off from work to make it in time for my fitting at my chiropractor, Dr. David Mruz of Eastside Chiropractic.  Since today was an off the bike day, I didn’t have to worry about getting in a workout. I just needed to get worked over!

No kidding, I have been limping around since my workout on Monday. My hip has had shooting pain as I walk and a dull ache as I stand or sit. Things were getting desperate and I couldn’t wait to get in to see the doc!

He set my bike up on the rollers as I changed into some riding shorts. Then it was time to put on my new Specialized S-Works shoes. Once they were on I climbed on the bike and started to spin.

Really, it never really struck me that the actual spinning of the bike caused pain. As a matter of fact, I told Dr. Mruz that the only time my hip didn’t hurt was when I was easily spinning on the bike. He listened to my information and then began to instruct me to place my feet and legs in various positions.

It wasn’t long at all before he told me to step off the bike, sit down so he could see the alignment of my feet at rest, and hand him the shoes. He took them and started to adjust the cleats based on where he marked the shoes to show the balls of my feet. Turns out the cleats can’t quite reach what he thought was the optimal location, but certainly he could get it to a spot where the pain would lessen.

I then climbed back on the bike. I pushed my feet down to engage the pedals. I began to spin. Then I began to cry.

Now, I don’t mean that I was blubbering or anything.  However, have you ever had pain or maybe were sore from a hard workout and then slipped into a hot tub or took some medicine that made the pain ease? Do you know how that can make you have a laugh come up from deep inside you? It is that incredible feeling of relief and release of tension.

Well, that is what I felt. It was first a relieved laugh and then I felt the tears well up.  I knew immediately that this was a change. My body just felt right on the bike. Spinning felt very natural.

Dr. Mruz said the way I was riding I was torquing my right hip and that was causing me to strain the muscles in my right leg. It started with a messed up saddle which lead to a messed up shoe.  We fixed the saddle easily enough by getting a new one.  However, because I was waiting for new shoes, it has taken awhile.

It was at that moment I realized that really spinning didn’t make me feel better. Sure, I didn’t have the shooting pain, but what was happening was I was winding myself up like a rubber band. All the tension was building and causing my muscles to fire incorrectly.

Now, I don’t expect to wake up in the morning healed! I don’t even expect to be pain free on my next ride. It is going to take a bit to work out the stress on the right hip structure. However, I do have great confidence that we have fixed the foundation. In time my hip will come back into alignment as I retrain it back to its correct motion.

Thank you, Doc! You’ve made a grown man cry!

Ahhhhhh, at last!

Gingerly I climbed onto the trainer yesterday. It wasn’t supposed to be a hard workout, but it would be the first sustained effort since I visited with Dr. Mruz. Would the time at Eastside Chiropractic getting my seat adjusted make any difference here?

The visit went great. Dave Mruz is not just a chiropractor, he is also a pretty good bike fitter. He has worked with professional cyclists both with their bodies and their bikes. My session was even interrupted by a visit from George Hincapie who was stopping by for a short adjustment. I was reminded again of just how much of a regular guy he is.

By the end of my session we had moved my seat forward and made sure it was level. The good doc felt I should make some adjustments to my cleat position as well, but I didn’t want to risk messing with them at this point. I wasn’t sure the screws would hold up! We decided to revisit that once I got my new cleats for the coming season.

Still, it was good enough and I was off ready to spin — as this iPhone video taken by Dr. Mruz attests.

The trainer session last night confirmed that I’m heading in the right direction. NO knee pain at all. After a warmup and a sustained effort of 30 minutes with three high speed spin included, I had no knee pain. YES!

I did feel my right hip begin to tense up slightly and this morning it is a little stiff, but compared to the last few weeks it is nothing. I’m very pleased with the progress. All this improvement is just in time for my Functional Threshold Power test on Saturday.