When you ride a bike nonstop to the height of Mt. Everest or to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix through the desert, you learn to deal with pain. As an endurance athlete, mentally pushing aside pain is part of training. When pain does not subside, it is the sign of an injury which needs intervention.
My back injury occurred while running the marathon through the Grand Canyon known as Rim2Rim with a goal of six hours. The descent into the canyon was faster than usual and I landed a stride off-camber, sending me to the ground onto a boulder. It was not until the next day while on a bike ride that I began to notice pain in my spine. A sharp pain was felt with each bump in the road which also appeared when I walked down stairs the following week.
A consultation with a chiropractor led to weeks of adjustments and traction devices used to decompress the spine which did provide temporary pain relief. The pain would return every few days though, making running or cycling too painful to enjoy. This was at a time when my 8-year-old son was starting to build self-confidence in completing his own triathlons. I needed to be there with him.
I met with Dr. Klee Bethel at the Neil Riordan Center at SCNM to complete an assessment and review x-rays. He determined the cause of the pain and suggested an injection therapy, without corticosteroids, plus specific back exercises. I had two one-hour injection treatments and have been pain free ever since. Thanks to Dr. Bethel and his team at SCNM, I can enjoy long rides and runs again.