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Old 04-19-2018, 08:41 PM
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Kiwi cop Kiwi cop is offline
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A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson.  
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Default A painful lesson.

One of my club mates and fellow IPSC grade shooters is in his late 70's. Although he moves slowly he moves freely in his upper body and shoots accurately (well most of the time anyway). Usually I shoot better than he does due to shooting faster, but for the last 6 months he has, more often than not, outperformed me. I put much of this down to changing from .45 major to 9mm minor division and loosing a points outside the target's A zone. But this week I found out something I hadn't considered that has also affected my competition shooting recently.

In early May 2008 I was standing in my music room waiting for my wife to get ready for her nieces 21st birthday dinner. I turned to pick up a guitar to strum a few chords and felt a very hot tingling down my left leg and into my foot followed by numbness.

It turned out I had ruptured the disc between my L4 and L5 vertebrae. I went to see my "local" chiropractor whose practice was in a town 20 minutes north of where I live and where I was based at the time for work. When after 6 months treatment I was still having pain issues he referred me to a surgeon.

I had a spinal fusion in June 2009 shortly after I transferred to work in a small city 45 minutes drive south of my home. I was a patient of the surgeon for the next 12 months and discharged from his care in June 2010. Towards the end of that year I received a letter from my chiropractor advising that it may be a good idea for a spinal examination. I accepted and he made some small adjustments telling me that after a fusion I probably needed to be seen every 6 months to prevent issues arising as a result of reduced mobility around the fusion.

After that, twice a year I got a letter inviting me to make an appointment. Then in February 2012 I slipped on rough ground at work, put out my right arm to break my fall and tore my rotator cuff. I spent the next 18 months undergoing two surgeries and a lot of physiotherapy. As I was on light duties it made sense to see a physiotherapist in the city where I was working. During the time my chiropractor retired selling his practice, and the twice early reminders to see him ceased.

In late 2015 I was up on the house roof replacing some flashing that had started to leak over a covered courtyard. I was pulling out the last roofing nail holding the old flashing in when I felt a sudden, painful, and massive muscle contraction in my lower back. I managed to get off the roof and into the house but after sitting down I could not get up again. It took the combined efforts of an ambulance crew and a fire crew to get me out into the ambulance and on the way to hospital.

I decided that as it appeared to be muscular and not mechanical to go and see the physiotherapist who had helped me recover from my rotor cuff tear. He used acupuncture and exercise to get me back up and on my feet. For the next year or so I would have what everyone took to be muscular problems associated with a glute injury every 4 or 5 months, and would go see the physio to get it sorted out.

In March last year I ended up in Auckland for 7 months while my wife was recovering from a double lung transplant. During that time I had some back pain but getting into see a physio in that city was a problem. I found a therapeutic massage clinic who would give deep tissue massage which after 24 hours would cure my back pain, again suggesting it was muscular.

Im January this year I again had a bad back spasm, a few weeks before the first IPSC competition of 2018. I went back to my physio but the person I had been seeing had set up his own practice, His replacement used exercise only and this time I felt something moving in my spine suggesting, it was a mechanical rather than muscular issue.

I shot that first comp still stiff but free from pain. I didn't do as well as I had hoped but put part of that down to shooting 9mm Minor instead of my usual .45 major.

A month later during the second comp of the year, which I again shot with the 9mm, I really bombed out. Part of this was down to an ammunition problem, part was down to my shooting. The following week at the range I simply commented that I had "shot badly" (my actual word would get em another point for bad language here). My club president and shooting mentor told me I had been too stiff in my shoulders and arms. He said it was obvious to see and I needed to relax and enjoy myself on the line. (In fact I thought I had been a bit too loose in my stance and gun handling).

A month or so later I was shooting a .45 friendly one day competition. Before hand I decided to slow down a bit in my shooting and concentrate more on accuracy. Once again I found myself shooting well enough to place in my grade, but slightly behind what I had expected percentage wise. I was also squad leader during that competition and spent most of my time as range officer. I noticed that I was pretty slow, and a bit stiff, when following the younger and fitter shooters down range with the timer but just put that down to age.

Then last week I caught a respiratory virus and spent most of the week on the couch watching TV. During this time I began to experience some more back pain with associated joint movement. After a very painful weekend I went and visited the chiropractor who had bought my old chiro's practice.

X-rays showed my spine, above the fusion, was kinked both left and right, with a further kink in my neck. 24 hours after his first treatment I felt a series of joint movements in my spine and found my shoulders, upper arms and back relaxing.

Yesterday, after two chiropractic treatments, I visited the range. Even though I am still a bit stiff in he lower back and hips, my shooting was much better than it has been over the past few months. With 80 and 88% A zone hits on the two targets, most of the C zone ones were caused either by my rushing, particularly on timed follow up shots, or by my own mistakes.

I need further chiro for another 6 weeks, 3 X a week for 2 weeks and then 2 X for the next 4 weeks. I have already arranged for 6 monthly follow ups after that.

So the lesson is that I will still need regular spinal adjustments if I wish to shoot to my potential in further competitions.

As pistol shooting is not a professional sport, except to those at the very top who can ask for sponsorship, speaking and tutorial fees, it seems most of us may overlook physical health and mobility (Damm, I'm just getting old and slow) in our match preparation.

For me, from now on, I will be looking at my spinal condition and probably seeking a checkup/adjustment a few weeks before those big competitions, as well as keeping myself hydrated throughout those long days on the range.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:05 PM
Toolguy Toolguy is offline
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A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson.  
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It's good to hear you're doing better! Take care of your back and anything else that needs attention. It's a quality of life issue, regardless of the shooting. If you don't have your health, it can be hard to enjoy anything else. Best Regards.
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:38 PM
Rpg Rpg is offline
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A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson.  
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Iím glad youíre doing so much better.

Iím pretty skeptical of chiropractic.

That said, lots of folks swear by it.

Your chiropractor seems typical of those Iíve encountered here: they all get the patients in for treatment quite frequently and forever, if possible.
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Old 04-19-2018, 11:11 PM
Crh1943 Crh1943 is offline
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A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson.  
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You and your family have been thru a lot!
Glad you found the solution to your problem, and even happier that you can continue doing what (I would assume) all of us here love doing - range time.
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Old 04-19-2018, 11:17 PM
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Kiwi cop Kiwi cop is offline
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A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson.  
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Originally Posted by Rpg View Post
Iím glad youíre doing so much better.

Iím pretty skeptical of chiropractic.

That said, lots of folks swear by it.

Your chiropractor seems typical of those Iíve encountered here: they all get the patients in for treatment quite frequently and forever, if possible.
I used to be sceptical of them too. I heard too many stories of chiropractors aggravating an injury. Even though my father saw one for quite a long time after a back injury I still went to physiotherapists.

Then a physio really aggravated an injury and I tried a chiropractor. The results were amazing. I ended up going to chiropractors for back problems until I thought it was muscular not mechanical injury. Turns out it was a bit of both but now it is mainly mechanical.

The only times I have been contacted for a follow up appointment have, in my case, been good patient follow through.
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Old 04-20-2018, 12:03 AM
Shotguncoach Shotguncoach is offline
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A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson.  
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Good to hear that you're feeling better Mr. Kiwi. It sounds like you and your wife have been through more than most people.....

For those of us who are closer to the end than the beginning and are not indestructible anymore, this is a lesson that really needs to be learned. Most of us will just 'press on with pride' when we don't feel good. It's easy to write it off as not getting enough sleep, something you ate, being out of shape, or just feeling old that day.

Shooting actually gives you a measurable result instead of a "feeling". Not shooting well? Check the gun, check the ammo, then check the shooter. Your body may be telling you something.

My story: last month was the Arizona state trapshooting championship. Six days of shooting, 300 shots on each of the first 4 days, then 200 shots on each of the last 2 days. My scores were OK, but not where they usually are. I'd shoot well, then I wouldn't be able to hit the ground with my hat, then I'd shoot well again. It was like that for the entire tournament.

I wrote it off as simply being out of shape.

Two days later I had a heart attack.

It's been 1 month and 2 days since the event and all the associated procedures (heart catheterization sucks, by the way) and I really want to go shooting, but I need to build up a bit more stamina first. People keep asking me how I feel. I tell them that compared to being 21 (or 30, or even 40!) it's pretty bad. But compared to not being able to use the bathroom without help, it's great!

Hang tough Mr. Kiwi.
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Old 04-20-2018, 01:43 AM
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Kiwi cop Kiwi cop is offline
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A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson. A painful lesson.  
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Taranaki, New Zealand
Posts: 678
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Liked 1,394 Times in 390 Posts
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Originally Posted by Shotguncoach View Post
Good to hear that you're feeling better Mr. Kiwi. It sounds like you and your wife have been through more than most people.....

For those of us who are closer to the end than the beginning and are not indestructible anymore, this is a lesson that really needs to be learned. Most of us will just 'press on with pride' when we don't feel good. It's easy to write it off as not getting enough sleep, something you ate, being out of shape, or just feeling old that day.

Shooting actually gives you a measurable result instead of a "feeling". Not shooting well? Check the gun, check the ammo, then check the shooter. Your body may be telling you something.

My story: last month was the Arizona state trapshooting championship. Six days of shooting, 300 shots on each of the first 4 days, then 200 shots on each of the last 2 days. My scores were OK, but not where they usually are. I'd shoot well, then I wouldn't be able to hit the ground with my hat, then I'd shoot well again. It was like that for the entire tournament.

I wrote it off as simply being out of shape.

Two days later I had a heart attack.

It's been 1 month and 2 days since the event and all the associated procedures (heart catheterization sucks, by the way) and I really want to go shooting, but I need to build up a bit more stamina first. People keep asking me how I feel. I tell them that compared to being 21 (or 30, or even 40!) it's pretty bad. But compared to not being able to use the bathroom without help, it's great!

Hang tough Mr. Kiwi.
Best wishes for your recovery.

As you say, itís easy to walk itís a bad day off to something other than your health or to age in general. But it is important to monitor your health and take steps when you donít feel right.
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