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Hawaii State Track and Field Championships 2019, An MDT Story

So I was visiting Tennessee this past week when I got an email Monday (April 29) from Marissa, at McKenzie Institute International (MII) asking if I could help track coach, Linda Thompson. Linda coaches at Kamehameha high school on the Big Island of Hawaii and needed help fast as the state championships were in 4 days on Maui! This is long, BUT a remarkable story of the power of MDT. Timeline: Monday, April 29: Linda emailed MII searching for help for Chenoa Frederick. Their track star who has been dealing with recurrent low back pain since January this year due to a soccer injury. Tuesday, April 30: I contacted Coach Linda and set up a Facetime consult with Chenoa and her mom, Liliha as I am traveling back to Maui. I Facetimed them 15-20 min in Phoenix Airport before boarding. I was able to get some quick info and do a quick mechanical exam and provisional mechanical diagnosis was a posterior derangement. I educated (Hallmark of MDT) Chenoa and her mom, regarding what that meant and set Chenoa up with a quick home exercise prescription (one direction of movement for self-management). With recommendation to sit and bend as little as possible (yeah right, she is a junior in high school about to leave for school and sitting all day!). Wednesday, May 1: I keep in touch with Mom and Coach and set up visit in my clinic Thursday afternoon. (How fortunate that states were on Maui this year!). Pic 1 shows motion Wednesday morning. Pic 2 shows motion Wednesday afternoon. What a great patient!

Thursday, May 2: Clinic visit, we were able to quickly restore pain free end range back extension (always goal number 1). On further questioning it was discovered, she also had an underlying thoracic derangement that responded rapidly to repeated thoracic extension and full pain free thoracic range of motion was restored. More education to re-enforce derangement model, posture awareness and reminder to sit/bend as little as possible. Didn’t think to snap pics. Friday, May 3: Early afternoon I get text from Coach Linda with This Pic: “18’2” first jump, she will win!” (Gold medal number one, defending first of her titles).

Saturday, May 4: Track meet with pouring rain a lot of the day, Chenoa goes on to win gold in the triple jump, high jump and 100 m! She also competes in the 200 m and 400 m runs but scratched those due to wanting to defend her titles in the triple jump, and 100 m run. It was a long day due to rain and rain delays, but at the end of the day, Chenoa left with 4 gold medals out of 4 events entered! I heard her say she was exhausted and deservedly so, but stating due to not sitting all day (what a great patient!)

There are several remarkable pieces to this story starting with: (1) Chenoa Frederick, who is an unbelievably gifted athlete to have even made states at all due to far from ideal training time for months due to back pain. As you can see from her first pics above, she was very stiff as late as Wednesday, but having very good joint mobility when healthy (Friday pic). (2) She has phenomenal coaching and family support. It was awesome getting to know them all! (3) IIx muscle fibers (or fast twitch fibers) can get deconditioned when not used consistently and can cause muscle strain if then stressed more than they were trained. Granted this is more likely as we get older. It is still amazing to me that she was able to perform at such a high level in 4 very different events without injury just 2-3 days after having major losses of lumbar spine mobility. And again, with far from ideal training time. BUT, mobility is the secret weapon for speed! (4) 4 months of traditional treatment which consisted of modalities, stretching and core strengthening was not effective, (Well trained MDT clinicians are well aware of this as the literature has long since debunked these treatments but are still used widely). (5) Robin McKenzie was a genius! His mechanical exam allowed me to sort, prescribe and educate Chenoa and her mom from 3000 miles away in 15-20 min, again where traditional treatment in person was unable to accomplish. This is the power of MDT and if this isn’t a testimonial for MDT and telemedicine, I don’t know what is!

I don’t want to downplay my ability, and I am proud to represent Robin as a McKenzie Diplomat. This means I love the spine and MDT and continue doing all I can to learn as much as I can via MDT to help my clients. However, this is not unique to me. If you have neck or back pain, seek out a well trained MDT clinician and remember (here comes my soap box), if anyone (MD, Chiro, PT, ATC, trainer, neighbor, golf buddy, “they,” ANYONE) tries to tell you to strengthen your core or any muscle, or to stretch ANY muscle, unfortunately, that person is simply not well versed in how the spine works.

Again, my favorite analogy, Stretching and strengthening to fix mechanical spine pain makes as much sense as stretching and strengthening a broken bone and HOPING the bones magically get back together. Mechanical pain, must be properly diagnosed by a well-trained mechanical clinician, given only ONE direction of movement and they must perform this motion multiple times per day. Even if the pain gets better fast or seemingly responds to just plain old exercise, it will ALWAYS come back! The recurrence rate with low back pain is very high. MDT can significantly reduce that recurrence rate due to patient education, frequent baseline assessment and self-management strategies.

This is due to lifestyles involving several THOUSANDS of reps every day sitting and bending never allowing us to heal completely. Spine care is STUPID EASY (See story above), in the hands of a well-trained MDT clinician! Sorry this was so long, but I had to share this remarkable story! And I cannot wait for Chenoa’s senior year and likely stellar college career! #McKenzieMDT, #everyonedeservesamechanicalexam, #stopcorestrengthening,,, #Hawaii’sonlyMcKenziecertifiedclinic, #Hawaii’sonlyMcKenziediplomat.

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