When I was growing up, in a small town in the middle of nowhere, when you were hurt you either sucked it up, or you went to the doctor. There was no in-between. Anything *other* than a doctor was seen as “woo woo” medicine, the kind of stuff that only the hippies and treehuggers did, the sort of stuff that might get you accidentally dead because the practitioners were flakes and fakes.
My, how things have changed. My daughter is, currently, a competitive gymnast. She practices 20+ hours a week, and is currently a level 6. She’s been competing for…5 years now? She is strong, and muscular, and can do things some only dream of. She’s built differently than most of her teammates (think Simone Biles muscle vs. Nastia Liukin’s trimness). This muscle gives her tremendous power when doing skills on floor and when vaulting. However, with that skill, muscle, and practice schedule sometimes comes pain of one sort or another.
Gymnasts are like so many other athletes – they tend to shrug it off until it gets to the point where they just can’t anymore. Though these days, they have a lot more options than in the past. My daughter went to her first chiropractor about 3 years ago, and the main reason was because she was the mom of one of her teammates. She didn’t die, and she said she felt better, so…she kept going. Her dad didn’t warm up to the idea of chiro for, say, about 3 years? 😉 But we’re lucky enough that our insurance covers it, and so she’s kept on going. Lately, she’s had horrible back pain. Started out small (as it does), but has gotten to the point where her tumbling was suffering, it hurt to run, and even sitting for longer periods of time caused pain. Complicating factor? It’s the middle of season. Uber-complicating factor? She’s trying to decide if she wants to continue with gymnastics. We got x-rays. No fractures to be seen. Her chiro has her working on building some of the muscle that is weaker. Her physical therapist is doing the same. And then – a possible breakthrough. Cupping.
Don’t roll your eyes, because I’ve already done that for you. For those of us who grew up thinking about chiropractors as woo woo, well…cupping is so far out there that the horizon can’t be seen. Yes, I know it’s well-regarded in many circles. Yes, I know many top-level athletes get it done. BUT STILL. It’s such a strange thing to those of us with a white, Western mindset. ANYWHOO…(For those of you unsure of what I speak: https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/cupping-therapy#1)
Chiro today mentions some extra research she’s been doing, and suggests a couple of nerves that may be suffering. Daughter already has some of the signs, she wants to test for a couple more. Those signs seem to be there, so…she decides to do some cupping for 5 minutes. AND IT HELPED, PEOPLE. My poor child even said it “felt weird not hurting”. Now, is this conclusive evidence? No. But it’s improvement, and that’s all *I* care about. Will she be getting more cupping? HELLS TO THE YEAH SHE WILL. If I have to pay to get it done every week until season is over, then I sure as hell will! She will continue with the chiro/PT muscle-building exercises for sure. But anything that helps is on the table – I’m not averse to broadening my horizons (and that of my daughter).
As a competitive level gymnast, her sport is essentially her job. She has school, and she has practice, and there is very little in between. If she decides this is her last season – I want to give her the opportunity to go out feeling good and strong and with the best chance to be successful at State. And if it’s not, well then I still want to give her the best chance to be successful through State and beyond. That’s my job – and if trying therapies that used to be considered “woo woo” is what does the trick? Well then, so be it. And if anyone needs me, I’ll be out hugging my tree with my tie-dye shirt on.