Protect Those Muscles

Having taken up martial arts well into adulthood, I expected to encounter a steep learning curve … along with taxing my less-than-ideal fitness levels. I hadn’t had much of a workout since my school days.

Not just tough aerobically, the training also involved many muscles I’d forgotten about, and many more I didn’t even know I had. And, oh, they weren’t exaggerating when they said it’s a contact sport.

In very short order I discovered that trips to dojo were much easier if they were followed by stops to see a chiropractor.

Those visits came at the recommendation of a friend who saw me walking gingerly and wincing while bending or turning early on in my martial arts studies. Having suffered chronic neck pain, she’d found relief in traditional chiropractic treatments. “Why not give it shot?” she said.

The first visit to her local chiropractic doctor was informative, putting a name to some of my lingering issues (knees and hips thanks to high school football), and an analysis of my posture that showed a tendency to favor my left side. I also was prone to a slight over pronation – he had to explain that one to me, but the wear pattern on my shoes came in handy for that.

That knowledge was educational, but it was when I first got on the table that I knew I’d come to the right place. The manipulations went straight to the aches that had reappeared in the dojo, limiting my range of motion while kicking … among a host of other issues. Newly discovered muscles, remember?

Over time in my training, working up the ranks found new and wonderful aches and pains developing. Some of the were short term – lifting your elbow too high and getting a kick in the ribs is a reminder of why blocking is important; the bruises do go away, though – but it was my chiropractor who traced the periodic numbness and tingling in my fingers to my rotator cuffs. A new spot to work on, some new exercises, and it was back to sparring (I was on my own with remembering to watch my guard, however).

One of the reasons I’d taken up martial arts was to get active again after several years of being sedentary – sitting at a desk all day – and to ward off the surprising number of problems that come with being hunched over a computer for hours on end. Who knew?

Perhaps something less energetic – and less punchy/kicky – might have been a better idea, but I certainly wasn’t going to quit the martial arts due to boredom. At any rate, the training both demanded a better range of motion for my joints and muscles, and helped expand that range. My chiropractor made sure everything worked properly, that it didn’t hurt so much, and that I didn’t overdo it when attempting to show that I still could.

He couldn’t make me stop doing stupid things, but he could make the pain go away when I did.