For this post, I interviewed Dr. Thomas Solecki. Dr. Solecki has a PhD in Health and Human Performance. He is an adjunct university professor and a team chiropractor for collegiate athletes.
CN: My primary goal for the blog series is to help the running community understand the differences and overlaps between different types of providers and when they should see each type of person. Can you describe when a runner should reach out to a chiropractor?
TS: A runner can reach out to a chiropractor for any neuromuscular/skeletal condition. For example, plantar fascitis, shin splints, low back pain, hip pain, muscle spasms, sprains or strains. A sports chiropractor can help with stability and strength training by providing a rehabilitation program.
CN: What type of education and training do you have? If someone has never seen a chiropractor before and they want to for the first time, what credentials/degrees should they be looking for?
TS: Personally, I have a bachelor’s, master’s, Phd and DC degree. Chiropractors will typically have a Bachelor’s degree and Doctor of Chiropractic degree. If an athlete (runner) is looking for a chiropractor for the first time they should seek one that has post graduate training in sports medicine, rehabilitation or orthopedics. These post graduate training programs are available and allow the chiropractor to specialize in a field of study leading to a diploma in the field. For example, the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians and American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board offer diplomate programs leading to a speciality in sports medicine or rehabilitation. The ACBSP offers additional training in concussion certification which can lead the chiropractic doctor to evaluate and manage concussion. These types of specialties are helpful when runners are looking for someone who has advanced training in sports injuries and management of how to rehabilitate them. I believe certifications such as a strength and conditioning specialist, corrective exercise specialist, performance exercise specialist or a degree in exercise science can be very helpful in treating the injured athlete.
CN: Tell us a patient success story – a time an athlete came to you and you were able to help them return to their sport.
TS:I have had the opportunity to help many athletes over the years in practice. I have a very memorable story about an older athlete who was a triathlete and competitive cross country skier. He was training for the Hawaii Ironman and suffered chronic bilateral shin splints with plantar fasciitis of the right foot. I developed a treatment program for him that involved soft tissue treatment of the lower extremities, and fascial slings throughout his body. I also utilized a stability and breathing program that involved DNS. (DNS stands for Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization) Lastly, I developed a strength program for his lateral pelvic stability and trunk to enhance his stability and strength endurance. He responded favorably and was able to return to training and compete in the Ironman without having any residuals after the competition.
CN: Is there anything else you would like to share with the running community about chiropractors?
TS: Be diligent about your search for a chiropractor. Use the criteria I have outlined above and make sure that treatments address all components needed to heal. The body involves the poetry of the human frame and all the attachments that allow it to function, always be sure these structures all get equal attention.