New Breed of Running Dr.
by Dr. Tim Maggs, VIP member since 2001
"Serious running led swiftly to a series of foot, leg, knee and low back injuries...I went dutifully to my specialist friends... They treated the effect, not the cause...when I resumed running, back came my misery and pain, traditional medicine isn't dealing adequately with athletic problems."
-from Dr. George Sheehan's Book of Running
Don H. told me his history of running injuries, the doctors he's seen and the tests performed. He chuckled as he said one doctor told him, "But you look very normal." Yet, until Don was biomechanically examined, his running continued to decline in both volume and quality.
The lack of biomechanical knowledge by today's healthcare providers, coupled with an insurance industry not sensitive to the needs of the athlete, makes it virtually impossible for an injured athlete to find real solutions. Most doctors are trained to look for pathology, or disease processes, and most athletic injuries are mechanical or structural in nature. Blood tests, MRI's, and x-rays looking for pathologies and fractures are of little help when it comes to uncovering the cause and needed treatment of a biomechanical injury.
All human beings have structural imbalances, weaknesses and distortion patterns. Running and athletics expose these imbalances by the very nature of the increased demands on that structure. Repetitive activity, in the absence of locating and correcting these defects, will lead to premature breakdown.
The Structural Fingerprint Exam
This exam was designed for athletes who want to detect and correct those structural imbalances, weaknesses and distortion patterns, with or without symptoms. By testing the arches of the feet, the Q angles of the knees, the pelvic angle and centers of gravity, the mobility in all joints, muscle strengths, leg lengths and much more, a wealth of information is available to the trained professional. 75% of the information needed to make an assessment comes from four standing structural x-rays that show the status of the spine and disc spaces. Wear and tear of a joint can be seen on an x-ray and always tells a story. Until this individualized information becomes available, maximum improvement can never be attained.
Once the Structural Fingerprint information is collected, a pro-active, corrective program can be designed. There is a menu of treatment options that can be chosen from when deciding the best course of action for each individual. These choices range from custom orthotics, spinal adjustments, extremity adjustments and rehabilitative exercises to weight management, physical therapy, home recommendations, joint supports, nutritional supplements and more and are based on a person's age, condition, sport, goals and level of improvement desired. An intensive program can last 6 months to a year.
The goal is to bring your body's structure back into better balance with improved joint mobility and better muscle flexibility. These improvements will dramatically increase the capacity for your body to tolerate stress without breaking down as quickly.
Sheehan continues, "The human body is a marvelous instrument. When in perfect alignment and balance, there is almost no feat of endurance the body cannot handle even on a regular basis. However, structural imbalance of even minor degrees can result in incapacitating injuries and persistent disabilities. Prevention and treatment of musculo-skeletal injuries in the athlete rests in the establishment of the structural balance and architectural integrity of the body."
Once maximum improvements are reached, it then becomes a lifetime management issue, with the reward being a more active and productive life.
Aging and Your Structure
The aging process can be a very detrimental one. Traditional medicine teaches us very little with regard to maintaining our youth and activity in spite of aging. If you don't detect and address your structural imbalances earlier in life, degeneration occurs at an accelerated pace. In order to delay this process and preserve our bodies so we're able to enjoy things as we get older, it is important to manage your structure effectively, and that all begins with the Structural Fingerprint Exam.
About the Author: Dr. Tim Maggs, a lifetime RAC member since 1995 and a VIP member since 2001, travels the country developing The Structural Management Network of doctors who can provide the biomechanical testing and treatment discussed in this article. More information can be found at his website, DrTimMaggs.com, or contact him at RunningDr@aol.com.