For marathon runners, ultra runners, triathletes and weekend warriors … the running season is in full swing! Runners will put their training to the test this weekend with the Spartan US National Series in Florida and Grit OCR in Southern California. Before you reach the start line, and after you cross that finish line, an athlete needs to properly rejuvenate and recover. That means: adjustments! Getting the right chiropractor is just as important as running in the right running shoes and racing gear.
With so many of our weekend warriors and running enthusiast readers in the Los Angeles area, I’ve decided to take my seat Dr. Richard Stewart; also known as The back doctor in Los Angeles!
As one of the best in his field, Dr. Stewart in the world of physical therapy. With a bachelor’s degree in human biology and a PhD in chiropractic (DC), he’s had a wonderful bedside manner. As soon as you enter his office, his staff and Dr. Stewart personally with a warm smile.
His passion for healing began at a young age.
“I’ve always been amazed at the resilience of the human body. I was hit by a car at a young age and spent nine weeks in the hospital with my leg in traction, followed by another eight weeks in a hip-down cast, most people don’t remember taking their first step for others it is a very vivid memory. I made a full recovery only to push myself as a young man and have several other injuries, “said Dr. Stewart.
He later joined the US Army. “I really learned how strong the human body is. With the right training and motivation, with minimal sleep and very little rest to the nearest hump of ninety pounds of equipment, we would carry twenty miles of other bad decisions. It amazes me how our body is supposed to be a temple, but we treat it like a Mardi Gras fun house and it goes on, “he said.
As soon as Dr. Stewart left the army, he knew he wanted to be a healer. “I wanted to help people recover from injuries and achieve their individual goals,” he added.
When I met Dr. Stewart met it was just before my Spartan 10k Trail Race. He got me right from head to toe – and whatever he did to my ankle … worked wonders! I took 1st place! To help my fellow travelers, I asked him a few questions:
How do you approach the field compared to other chiropractors and how do you think the way you practice makes you different from others?
Time and attention. Most practices have therapists who work on the patient first. The chiropractor does not spend much time with the patient. I do the therapies myself. This gives me more time to recognize my patients’ goals. Some are athletes who want to do an Iron Man, others just want to get rid of the pain and sleep well for a change. Every patient is an individual and treatments have to be tailored to that individual, healthcare should never be a cookie cutter, one size will never work for everyone.
I am honest too. I don’t like to use the devices, all of my therapy is done with my hands. Lots of muscle work and stretching, this prep work will allow the adjustments to be made easier and more effective. I do my best every time I visit to help as much as possible. I’m not trying to sell packages for treatments or scare people into coming more than they have to.
How often do you recommend that the average person visit the chiropractor?
For the average person, once a month is usually good. There will be times when life will catch up with you and there will be more pain, when that happens a good chiropractor can be very useful. Chronic pain easily affects a person’s quality of life and causes things to go downhill very quickly. When this happens I leave the frequency to the patient, he knows his body better than I do, so I listen and do my best to help.
How often do you recommend runners see the chiropractor?
When before a race? Three days before a race is my recommendation. This treatment will be easy. Light stretches and muscle work. Adjustments will be made for conditions that I have treated. If you’re a new patient, pre-race treatment is different. Stretching and muscle work are the same, but adjustments need to be considered very carefully. A week before the Los Angeles Marathon, runners came to see me. I did muscle work and adjusted the middle back and neck. Ankle and Hip Points of Heavy Load I don’t like adjusting to new patients before a big race. If they know they can get the racing feeling they did back then, I don’t want to do anything that could potentially jeopardize their chance of finishing the race.
When after a race? Within a day or two. At this point the body recovers and it is the best opportunity to structurally put everything in order so that the body recovers properly. That makes things more stable in the long run.
Should runners have their ankles checked regularly?
Yes. Ankles are an important issue for runners. I’ve worked in gyms for several years, the ankles are very overlooked. Adjustments and stability exercises are a necessity for every athlete.
Tell me about your thoughts on technology – sitting at your computer, lounging on your phone – affects people. Have you noticed a drastic change in young and old patients over the years with the advent of Instagram etc?
Lower back pain was emphasized as the main condition I would treat during my school days. This has changed. 80% of the patients come to me for neck, back, shoulder and wrist / hand problems. Technology has changed the way we interact with one another and fundamentally changed our physical structure.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays I teach anatomy, physiology, microbiology and pathology at a university. I realized that drastic technology had changed us when I put students on break. I keep coming back to class and it’s very quiet, the students aren’t really talking to each other, they’re all hunched over their phones, they look like cooked shrimp, very smart cooked shrimp.
We’re always looking down. Head forward, shoulders rolled forward and curled back. Even with a standing desk, we look like boiled prawns with legs. This constant position becomes normal and the body adapts to it. This increases the amount of pain and even affects the ability to expand the chest and take deep breaths.
My biggest concern is people walking while looking at their phones. The downward force of the head on the neck is concentrated precisely on the leading edge of the cervical vertebra with every step. This leads to a collapse of the intervertebral disc between the individual vertebrae. I see degenerative joint disease in patients in their thirties, this shouldn’t happen until sixty. Please look up as you walk.
Do you think regular adjustments for stress / anxiety will help in people with narrow shoulders / backs etc?
Naturally. The modern world has placed so much more stress and challenges on us that it will physically take its toll. Visiting your chiropractic should be relaxing and enjoyable. With the right therapy, good adjustment, and some maintenance exercise, muscle tension and pain should subside. It is always good to know that there is a place to go, where you are important and important, a place to relax and feel good.
I strongly recommend a visit to Dr. Stewart! It is not every day that you meet a doctor who is attentive and open to share their knowledge!
How to book your appointment:
9001 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 204
Beverly Hills, CA 90211