Denver Chiropractor turns in his best race performance ever…Xterra Lory Race Report

That’s me on the bike. Xterra Lory went down on August 27, 2011. It was my best race ever. To be clear, I still have a long way to go to become even a mediocre triathlete. But I’m getting better. I started this season weighing 194. I weighed in for this race at 177. I’ve lost 17 pounds since January, all by watching my carbs.

I followed the advice in the book “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson. It was easy. You can get it on amazon.

Anyway, I took the family up to Fort Collins the night before and had a little fun. We got up at 5 AM, rolled out the door at 6, and had me to the race site by 6:30. And that’s when I realized I forgot my bike helmet. Luckily, I ran into a very nice patient who had a friend with an extra helmet. Problem solved. Actually, I ran to at least 5 patients at this race, and that was a lot of fun. I’m honored that I get to participate in these tris with so many top-performing people.

The swim started off in beautiful Horsetooth Reservoir at around 8:30. I actually took time to look around during the swim at all of the cool rock formations out there. I finished the swim (about 900 meters) in 17:12, number 132 out of 266 athletes (men and women, I don’t discriminate).

The bike went well for me, since it was a fast course with some tight turns. I had one good crash when I missed a sharp right (Sandy – you warned me!). Shed a little blood, and kept going. I did the 12 miles in 1:20:38.

Then, I croaked on the run. It was hilly. Uphill for like 2+ miles. It was hot and sunny with no shade ad I just couldn’t run up those damn rocks, so I hiked it. I average 14:14 miles over 4.8 miles. Awful.

But then I finished and Meredith and our boys were waiting for me at the finish. Total time 2:54:40, good for #224 out of 266 finishers, #153 out of 171 guys. I’ll take it.

How our Denver Active Release chiropractors treat shin splints.

By Dr. Jeff Stripling, Denver Chiropractic Center

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home: that wildness is a necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”
– John Muir

After my  run last night, the pain in my lower leg is not feeling too bad.  I am still experiencing ‘tibial stress syndrome’ or shin splints but it is nothing to prevent climbing Mt Quandry tommorrow.  Shin Splints are most often caused by overuse, increasing intensity/duration of training, and activities that require sudden stops and starts.  Shin splints happen when muscle fibers in the muscles that stabalize and move the ankle/foot tear from their periosteal attachment.  After the initial injury, these muscles become fibrotic during the healing phase which can exacerbate the pain with increased activity.

The best thing that can be done for shin splints is Active Release Technique (ART).  ART will break up the fibrotic tissues, scar tissue, and adhesions that limit range of motion and cause pain.  Icing can also be used to relieve pain and inflammation, using a styrofoam cup filled with frozen water, tear off the top edge of cup so the ice is exposed and gripping the covered bottum, massage painful areas for 8-10 minutes.  Rest for 30 min and repeat for another 8-10 min.

Stretching and strengthening are also great ways to decrease the amount of discomfort you feel and to prevent recurring shin splints.  One stretch that I use is  get into a forward lunge position and plantar flex your back foot (so the top side of foot is on the ground), you should feel a stretch on the front side of your lower leg.  Hold for 15 sec and repeat 5 times on each leg.  There are many exercises to do prevent shin splints, one exercise is the 4 way range of motion exercise.  Move your foot/ankle into dorsiflexion (toes pointing up), plantar flexion (toes pointing down), eversion, and inversion.  Complete all 4 movements 10x each on both legs.

To prevent shin splints from overuse, it is a good idea to only increase your milage 10% each week.  This will allow the shin muscles (tibialis anterior, extensor hallicus longus, extensor digitorum longus) to strengthen without creating microtears in the tissue.  Shin splints are not something that you “just have to put up with,”  come in the office and we will get you back to living/training without pain. DONT PUT UP WITH PAIN!

Denver’s most credentialed Active Release Provider & only Denver Active Release instructor, Dr. Glenn Hyman.

It’s hard to believe, but in August, 2000 – 11 years ago – I got my first ART certification. In November, 2000, I went to Toronto to get my second. I remember getting heckled by Canadians over the Bush-Gore election mess.

Now it’s 11 years later, I’m proud that I’m the only Active Release Instructor in Denver (I was invited by Dr. Mike Leahy, the ART founder, to become an instructor in 2002). Tomorrow – August 5 – I’ll be completing the newest Active Release course, Active Palpation Technique. I presently have every credential offered by Active Release except this brand new course. And I’m proud of that.

The truth is that others take a few ART classes, and then loudly advertise that they are ART providers. But that doesn’t mean that they base their practices on Active Release like I do, or like my associate Dr. Jeff Stripling does, or like my friend, colleague and competitor Dr. Michelle Clark does.

Sure, at Denver Chiropractic Center we also use chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy, but it all starts with ART. In fact, today I saw a new patient who was upset with her experience with another Active Release provider in Denver. This person advertises ART, and she went to see him for ART. But when she went, he did X-rays and adjusted her. When she asked for ART, he curtly told her that she didn’t need Active Release.

We don’t do that at our clinic. At Denver Chiropractic Center, we are an Active Release practice, and every patient gets Active Release, every time. If you’re looking for the most credentialed ART doc in Denver, and the only instructor in town, at a clinic that puts Active Release first, give us a call at 303.300.0424.

Report and Photo from Xterra Beaver Creek (get ready to laugh) and how to keep those legs loose and happy.

Well, this past weekend was my third attempt at the Xterra Beaver Creek Triathlon (sport course). Once again, it was a lot of uphill slogging through the dirt trails at Beaver Creek. Yes, the Denver Chiropractic Center Triathlon Team is still going strong.

I haven’t been training as hard as I should be, primarily because I’ve been seeing so many of you in the office. That’s a good thing.

Despite the fact that I’ve dropped 15 pounds this year, lightened up the bike, bought a new wetsuit that seems to float more than the old one, and actually got a decent night of sleep before the race- I still managed to finish 3 minutes slower than last year.

I actually clocked my fastest swim ever, then managed to completely stink up the bike course. It’s that damn 2200 feet of climbing over the first 3 or 4 miles. Crushes me every year. I think it was steeper this year, like the mountains are growing or something. I did get spooked by a deer who launched himself in front of me, so that was exciting. I don’t remember too much about the run. Just uphill and back down again.

Oh well. Here I am shortly after the finish. Yes, this was the best picture we got of me (and we got a lot). Somehow I always manage to look like I just survived a sky diving mishap after these races,

Next up for me are Xterra Indian Peaks August 6 (at Eldora, although I may go to an ART seminar instead, depends on how I do on the bike course pre-ride this Sunday). Xterra Lory August 27, and October 9 – The Bear-It-All Off Road Triathon to benefit Childrens’ Hospital in Bear Creek Lake Park. Should be fun.

Needless to say, I was pretty sore after the race, mostly in my legs. So here are 5 great ways you can keep your legs mobile and happy. Here’s the video:

Why I started doing triathlons and how this fuels my drive to help you…

This one’s a little embarrassing and personal, but if you bear with me you’ll see I have a point to make.

In late 2006 I started having anxiety attacks. Let’s just say burning the candle at both ends caught up with me (being a new parent, running a business, lifting very heavy weights way too often, and over-using stimulants to get it all done). I also – at the same time – managed to get acute gastritis, lose my appetite and drop 15 pounds in 3 weeks.

Since I had a cancer history, the rapid weight loss set off all sorts of medical fire alarms, and another round of MRI’s and CT scans started. After a brief bout of medical treatment, I started looking for natural ways to fix myself up.

My favorite little section of Outside Magazine has always been the book reviews. In the middle of all of this was a review of a book called Spark, by Jon Ratey, MD. In this book, Ratey (a psychiatrist) reviews all of the evidence that indicates endurance training is better for treating mild cases of anxiety and depression (and other related problems, including ADD and learning problems) than pills are.

That sounded like a good treatment program to me. As I mentioned before, I had long been a gym rat. Heavy weights were all I thought I needed, so this endurance thing was new to me. I decided to do the triathlon that I had sponsored for years, Xterra Buffalo Creek.

I still recall making this decision on my 39th birthday, after battling the anxiety for 3 or 4 months. I had no idea how to train for a tri. I had a 1994 Trek 930 P.O.S. mountain bike in my crawl space. It didn’t shift. I owned no running shoes. I had never swam 100 meters in my life.

I bought a training plan from ($17.95) and started.

Workout #1 called for swimming 250 meters, 10 lengths of the pool. My heart rate shot so high after about 75 meters, I thought I actually might have a heart explosion. This was not good for the anxiety.

My running wasn’t any better. I had to run-walk my way through a 2 mile run. I turned in a 15:00 pace (per mile, not good).  I was tooling around on the beat up mountain bike, not able to shit gears. I had no clue.

But a funny thing happened: I started feeling the anxiety going away. Training for a tri actually was curing my anxiety. Training for a race healed me. (Yes I finished, near last. But not dead last.)

And so now, 3 tri seasons later, this is what drives me to keep going. And this is what drives me to help you. Runners run for a reason. Cyclists ride for a reason. Triathletes train for a reason. Cross-Fitters do ball slams for a reason. And so on.

These things we do keep us sane. They are the things that make us happy. They define us. For some of us it’s just about training and finishing. For others, it’s about winning. But to all of us, these sports are sacred.

So when a triathlete who’s training for her first sprint distance race comes to see me because her knee hurts and she can’t train, I know there’s more than just a race at stake. When a marathoner comes to see me because his foot hurts, I understand why he’s going to keep training anyway. When a mom comes to see me because she hurt her shoulder in Pump class, I understand why it’s crucial that I fix her so she can get back to class.

I understand why you do these things that you do. And that’s why at my clinic we try so hard to fix you up when you’re hurt. We don’t want you to miss out on your training. We don’t want you to stop. When we’re treating you, we almost never tell you to stop. Maybe back off a little, but don’t stop.

And so this is why I do what I do, and this is why that I’m honored that you call me when you’re hurt. As I’ve done for the last 13 years, I will do my best to keep you in the game. I’m presently training for my 4th season of Xterra triathlons. I am not fast and I don’t care.

I’ve got my own reasons behind my tri habit, just like you have your reasons for doing what you do. Some people don’t’ get. They think we’re crazy for doing all this sports stuff. And as you know, we don’t care what they think. Don’t stop.

So here’s wishing all of you a great summer of training, racing & living. Enjoy!

Barefoot Running: The Dirty Secret

Last year, I treated a pro runner who would train barefoot in a park. She would come in with the most horrendously dirty feet you’ve ever seen. The dirt and grass stains were literally ground into her skin. She told me that no matter how much she scrubbed them she couldn’t get them clean. Awful. But that’s not the dirty little secret we’re here to discuss today (though it is true).

The dirty secret behind barefoot running is that a lot of people get hurt. The theory, made stylish by popular books like Born To Run, can be summarized like this: Our feet evolved to function without shoes. We have lots and lots of little muscles that should provide natural support for our feet. By wearing highly supportive and cushioned shoes, we are cheating our feet of the the work required to make them strong.

“Throw away your shoes and thrive!” seems to be the underlying message. It makes sense, and I’m a proponent. But must of us aren’t ready for it.

Running barefoot, or running in minimalist shoes as most of us prefer (Nike Free, Vibram 5-fingers, Terra Plano Evos, etc) requires a little remedial work. For some people, those small muscles in their feet aren’t ready for it. Ditto the calf muscles and Achilles Tendons. As a result, I’m seeing quite a bit of plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and shin splints in barefoot runners.

If you’re thinking about taking the Barefoot plunge, or maybe have already been dipping your minimally clad toes into the proverbial pool, your best bet is to ease into it. If you’re used to putting in 10 miles or more on a Sunday, don’t put on your brand new Nike Frees and run 10. Walk for a mile and then run slow mile. Repeat that for a week or two before slowly upping the miles.

But before you even get that far, do a few barefoot drills in the safety and comfort of your house. Of course, if you have underlying conditions that would be aggravated by these, don’t do them (herniated discs, pre-existing foot or ankle problems, etc).

1. Hops. Simply stand with your feet together and do some 2-legged hops. Just jump a few inches off of the ground. Land on the balls of your feet, and as soon as your heels touch, hop back up. This will start to get your Achilles Tendons ready for the recoil required when running barefoot.

2. Side to side hops. Hop from your left foot to your right foot, moving side-to-side. Again, land on the ball of each foot, and as soon as your heel touches, hop onto the other foot. This will strengthen your calves and ankles.

3. Foot switchers. Stand with one foot in front of the other. Hop up and switch positions. This gets the smaller muscles of your feet ready to push off.

left foot forward

right foot forward

If you want, you can progress to barefoot indoor skipping. When doing these exercises, start with a set or two that lasts for 10 seconds. Slowly work up to a minute, but be mindful of any soreness. Give your feet, ankles and calves a chance to get stronger before heading out to get the dirt and grass stains embedded in your own feet.

By the way, we treat plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and calf injuries at Denver Chiropractic Center. Our approach combines and Active Release Technique with rehabilitative exercises. We can help you get rid of the pain.

How we can help your hamstring pain at Denver Chiropractic Center

With summer sports season in full swing, the inevitable rash of hamstring injuries has begun. And while I believe that the Active Release Techniques (ART) work we do here at Denver Chiropractic Center is the best possible treatment for hamstring injuries, today I thought I’d show you a few things you can do at home.

The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that make up the mass at the back of the thigh. They function to two important ways: flexing the knee and extending the hip. They are very active in running, especially up hills (almost impossible to avoid here in Colorado.) And that’s exactly how I hurt mine this season.

So, you’ve hurt yourself…

The first thing you should do if you hurt yourself severely enough to be concerned is to reach for the ice (NOT heat). Ice will control excess inflammation and generally shorten the healing process. Heat has the opposite effect. So for the first 3 days, use ice – 20 minutes on, at least an hour off, then repeat as much as you can stand it.

Some research also indicates that an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen can also help reduce overall healing time. However, use these products only for a day or two as they will interfere with the repair process in the long run. (check with your medical doc first, please as over the counter drugs can interact with other drugs /supplements you may be taking.)

This is the last time I’ll say this, but the earlier you call us at 303.300.0424, the faster we can help you get fixed up. Janna and Keri are standing by to take your call. Did you know we have hours until 7PM on Tuesday and Thursday?

Assuming  a few days have gone by, you can start with some easy rehab.

Start with the Trigger Point Ball. Many of you have official Trigger Point Balls, which work great for what we’re about to cover. A humble, ordinary tennis ball will also serve fairly well.

Sit on a counter or high solid chair, and put the ball under your hamstring. You should feel the ball, and lean into it a bit. Then slowly start flexing and extending you knee. Do about 3 sets of 15 slow reps. The Trigger Point Ball (available in our clinic) helps complement the Active Release work by preventing adhesions from forming while your hammie is healing.

ball 1
Keri with the TP ball
ball 2
Keri with the TP ball under her hamstring
ball 3
Keri extending her knee, with the ball under the hammie

Another great option is the foam roller. The key to working up high with this is to bend the opposite leg (like the pic, if you can). Roll back and forth slowly for about a minute.

roll 1

After a week or two of Active Release and rehab using the Trigger Point Ball and the TP roller, it’s time to move on to some more integrative rehab work. We like the single leg deadlift. You can see a video of that here:

Back from teaching for Active Release Techniques & NEW summer hours.

I just got back from sunny San Diego last weekend, where I was teaching for Active Release Techniques. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been an ART provider for 11 years, and an instructor for 9 years. I’m still the only ART instructor in Denver.

Anyway, the weather was beautiful (I flew out in rain and snow here) and the hotel was right on the bay. Here I am in front of some sort of famous racing sail boat that seemed to be a big deal to boat-savvy people (I get seasick so I’m no boat guy).

Me in SD
As always, working hard in tough places

The sunny, breezy weather got me thinking about summer time, and summer hours. So, starting May 31 (the day after Memorial Day) our office hours will be as follows:

Monday: 9-5

Tuesday: 9-7

Wednesday: 9-5

Thursday 9-7

Friday 9-3

The catch here is that I, Dr. Glenn Hyman, won’t be in on Fridays during the summer, but I WILL be here Monday through Thursday (until 7 Tuesdays and Thursdays). A lot of you have been asking for later hours with me for years, and I’m happy to oblige.

As many of you know, I have 3 little sons, ages 5,3 & 1, and I just want to spend a little more time with them this summer. So that’s why I’m going to take some Fridays off. But don’t worry, we’ll still be open on Fridays, Dr. Stripling will be here on Fridays (and the other days, too.).

Why you should be doing deadlifts (start today, we’ll show you how).

Many of you have been asking about Meredith’s knee after reading about her recent surgery in the last DCC newsletter. We certainly appreciate all of the interest you’ve shown.

Meredith is on the road to recovery. She’s doing all of her normal everyday activities, and her rehab continues.

While a big part of her recovery is having me do Active Release to normalize her muscles (quads, calves, shin muscles, etc), as well as working on her IT band, lateral meniscus and Lateral Collateral Ligament, doing her rehab is just as important.

The deadlift is at the center of her rehab program.  That’s right, good old-fashioned deadlifts (with a little twist).

The deadlift is a classic weightlifting exercise that can fit into anyone’s training program. You certainly don’t need to use a barbell to do it. In fact, Meredith and I got rid of all the barbells in the basement (to make room for the kiddos) years ago and have NEVER missed them.

This exercise activates and strengthens just about everything in your legs, including the glutes, hamstrings, adductors, and spinal extensors. You want all of these muscles working together, and the deadlift teaches them to do that. It’s great for preventing injuries in runners, triathletes, hikers, climbers, and even relatively sedentary people. Of course, clear this with your doctor first, as you could get hurt if you do it wrong.

We’ll demonstrate here with a pair of kettlebells, and they allow for the most optimal mechanics.

1.     Stand with your feet about hips’ distance apart. Have the kettlebells between your feet.

Deadlift 1

2.     Looking forward, arch your back slightly and start moving your hips backwards. Maintaining that arch is important, as the muscular tension directs forces away from the discs and ligaments in the back.

deadlift 2

3.     Start bending your knees as you reach for the bells.

Deadlift 3

4.     Grasp the bells, brace your abs, and use your legs (NOT your back) to lift the weights. Think about pushing your heels into the floor. Come to a full upright position.

deadlift 4

5.     To lower, start the motion with your hips moving backwards and lower the weights all the way to the ground. Let them come to rest on the ground before setting yourself up for the next rep. This allows you to correct your form for each rep.

deadlift 5

Start with 3 sets of 5 reps with moderate weights 2-3 times per week. Over time, you can work your way up to 5 sets of 10-20 reps. Just make sure you progress slowly. Remember, the goal is to get stronger safely.

If you’re having hip pain, back pain, hamstring problems or (like Meredith) knee problems, your best bet is to get the problem checked out by us. Call 303.300.0424 today to schedule your next appointment.

Using the ASLR to prevent back pain, hip pain, knee pain and more

I spent a recent December weekend hanging out once again with some very smart physical therapists in Brighton. We were becoming certified practitioners of the Functional Movement Screen. (Many of you may recall that this past August I went to Brighton to learn about the Selective Functional Movement Assessment. Despite their seemingly similar names, the two are different. End digression.)

I’ve been using the Functional Movement Screen for years, but decided to get officially certified because it’s becoming a key part of my practice- finding the underlying dysfunctions that end up producing pain. It’s about fixing the problem, not just getting rid of the symptoms.

The Functional Movement Screen (FMS) is a system of 7 movements that are scored on a 3-point scale. 3 is good, 1 stinks, and 2 is somewhere in between. A total of 21 is perfection. Research shows that athletes (of any level) who score 14 or less are three times more likely to get injured than athletes who score a 15 or more.

The idea is that you identify your worst functional movement and then work to correct it, thus improving your score. You then do follow up screens to determine what you need to work on next.

So I’m going to have you check yourself on the movement test considered most important – the Active Straight Leg Raise.

At first glance, this may seem like a test of hamstring flexibility. It is, and more. It also assesses your active hip flexion, and your ability to maintain hip extension on the other side. These are three very important fundamental ranges of motion.

Your hamstrings start at the knee, run up to the “Sit Bone” and then send fibers into the SI joint. This joint is continuous with the spinal muscles.

Poor performance on this test means you’re more likely to experience one or more of The Big Five- back pain, hip pain, sciatica, IT band problems, and knee pain. So scoring your Active Straight Leg Raise (ASLR) is a good place to start if you want to prevent or improve any or all of these.

The ASLR requires a stick, an optional tape measure, and a buddy. For purposes of the description here, you are the one who’s evaluating the test and your buddy is the one performing the test.

Have your buddy lie down on his back. You need to identify two points on your buddy, the kneecap and the ASIS, or point of the hip. (Start on the left side.) The hip point is that bony thing at the waistline right above where the hip flexes. Measure the distance between the two points to find the middle of the thigh. The middle of the thigh is the reference point for this test.


Once you’ve found the middle of the thigh. Stand the stick up to mark the spot.


Your buddy is still on his back. (If you are a woman and your buddy is a guy, he’s probably making smart-ass remarks at this point because he knows he’s about to do a really bad job on this thing. Try to take pity on him.) Your buddy’s head must stay on the ground, his arms at his sides, and his palms UP, to avoid cheating.

So, your stick is at mid thigh on the outside of the left leg. Have your buddy raise the left leg – with the knee straight – as high as he can. The right leg MUST stay flat on the ground. If your buddy can get his left ankle (the bumpy bone on the outside of the ankle) above the stick, he gets a 3. If he can get his ankle between the stick and the left kneecap, he gets a 2. If he can’t raise the ankle past the level of the left kneecap, that’s 1.  (3 pics)


Erin gets a 3 for this effort, her heel is above her mid-thigh


With her heel between the stick and her right knee, Erin gets a 2.


Erin couldn’t raise her foot past her right knee, so she gets a 1. Boo.

Now test the other side. When scoring, a 3 on each side is ideal. 2 on each side is OK. 1 on each side is bad. Different scores on each side is considered an asymmetry, and that’s bad.

If you’re interested in getting a baseline score for how your body is functioning, call up and make an appointment. We don’t charge any extra fees in conjunction with a treatment. The idea is to figure out which Functional Movement you score lowest on and take steps to improve it. We’ve developed rehab protocols to improve each pattern and improve your overall score. This reduces your likelihood of getting injured.