I can’t say my second day in Canyon Ranch’s peak performance program started the way I like. After a 12-hour fast I had a 7:30 a.m. appointment for a blood draw.
Dr. Stephen Brewer, Canyon Ranch’s medical director, kindly invited me to attend the peak performance staff meeting at 8 a.m. I readily agreed, but wondered whether I would be tested while in a state of keen hunger.
I was introduced around, but names and faces began to blur as I spied the bagels and cream cheese (obviously contraband) on the conference room table. No doubt fearing the ravenous look in my eyes, I was told to help myself. I’m not proud to confess the meeting commenced amidst a blizzard of bagel crumbs.
The topic of discussion was shin splints, in honor of my presence and my recent bout with same. Dr. Richard Gerhauser, like most of the peak performance staff, is an impressive athlete in his own right, and explained the fundamentals of medial tibial stress syndrome.
I explained how I had treated my shins with ice and ibuprofen when Dr. Gerhauser suggested that reducing inflammation was not always the best approach to take.
Heresy! I thought. Thou shalt treat shin splints with rest, ice and Advil, sayeth the Mayo Clinic and every other shin splint advice column on the Internet.
But Dr. Gerhauser explained the role of inflammation in healing. Reducing inflammation brings relief, but it can also extend recovery time. Assuming you have no immune system complications, this makes some sense and may help explain the findings of the British Journal of Sports Medicine about ice baths. Participants who soaked in ice baths after activity reported more pain than those who did not.
I can’t say I’m entirely convinced, but a little research did determine that inflammation is a lot more complicated medical topic than I had imagined. My brilliant plan is to simply avoid it whenever possible.
Next up was my dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan. Find out next week how much I charge to haunt a house!