February 17, 2012
By Rebecca Gladden
In 2009, four-time NASCAR Cup champion Jeff Gordon let the world in on a secret.
At age 37, Gordon had been suffering chronic back pain for over a year and was seeking both a diagnosis and treatment for the condition.
An MRI performed midway through the 2009 season showed what was described as arthritis. Gordon underwent a series of injections in his back to help alleviate his symptoms, along with a regimen of stretching, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments and more.
While the course of action apparently worked well enough to allow Gordon to remain in the car and be competitive, he did acknowledge in ’09 that “there have been times, especially last year, but even this year, when I’ve been thinking about my back when I should be thinking about the car.”
Such an admission from one of the sport’s superstars was no doubt alarming to those involved with his team, especially in a sport like NASCAR, where sponsorships can run in the double-digit millions of dollars.
There are typically no ‘sick days’ or ‘pinch-hitters’ for injured NASCAR drivers, particularly when an injury is chronic in nature. Drivers either learn to cope with the pain and its effect on their performance, or are reluctantly forced into early retirement – something which Gordon said had crossed his mind when the pain was its worst.
Of course, Gordon’s situation is not unique in the world of motorsports, where high-speed, bone-jarring impacts, repetitive stress injuries, and routine exposure to massive G-forces can result in both acute and chronic injuries.
Gordon is just one in a long line of drivers in the six-plus decades of NASCAR to race through pain and injury. While race-related traumas may or may not ultimately shorten a driver’s career, pain can clearly be a distracting, performance-altering concern, as Gordon himself admitted.
That’s where Dr. David Levine comes in.
Dr. Levine, a New York-area chiropractic physician, has developed what is (by all accounts) a unique and remarkably effective pain management technique that he believes could be a game-changer for professional athletes, including NASCAR drivers and team members.
The technique is painless and noninvasive and does not rely on the use of pain medications, most of which cannot be taken by drivers or team members under NASCAR’s strictly-enforced drug policy.
"The technique basically involves examining the patient and searching for muscle spasm, areas of pain and tenderness, restriction of motion, and inflammation. Once the treatment is completed, usually within 30 minutes, the patient will often begin to quickly notice relief," said Dr. Levine. He does this simply through the use of his hands and what former NFL players Tom Skladany and Benny Ricardo call a “gift” of healing touch.
Dr. Levine notes that most patients with chronic, even intractable, musculoskeletal pain receive almost instant pain relief, though several treatments may be required to achieve long-lasting results. He reports a success rate of about 90% in patients he has treated with this proprietary technique.
When people first hear about Dr. Levine’s methods, most are understandably skeptical. But a visit to his website..
www.drdavidlevine.com..boasts some pretty impressive video testimonials from professional athletes that he has treated successfully, including several NFL and NBA hall-of-famers, Olympic athletes and more. He also volunteers for a program called “Healing Hands for Heroes,” using his treatment method to help veterans with painful post-war injuries.
Former All-Pro NFL linebacker Lance Mehl states on his video, “I played with the New York Jets from 1980 through 1987. I’ve had numerous injuries and especially my knees have really been bad. This is the first time since 1986 that my knee does not hurt. I’m amazed! My neck feels better, my lower back feels better – amazing! This is the best I’ve felt in years. I can’t believe it, but it works. I can imagine what it would do for today’s players if they could go see (Dr. Levine) and get rid of the pain that quick – how fast they could get back into the game.”
Helping competitors get “back in the game” is where Dr. Levine believes he could play a vital role in NASCAR.
“I think this technique may be useful for a NASCAR driver because it is so fast-acting, non-drug and painless,” he told me in an exclusive interview. “It could help to speed up the turnaround time of an injured driver and assist a driver competing ‘hurt.’ For example, if a driver is about to enter an event and is experiencing pain or discomfort, this treatment can work literally on the spot so a driver can function more effectively, thereby helping to improve his or her performance without the potential side effect of medication. In addition the treatment may also confer a ‘global’ release of pain, muscle spasm and tightness throughout the body to further improve agility, dexterity and performance, which may also result in a competitive edge.”
Dr. Levine notes that most of the professional athletes he treats have already tried and failed numerous conventional and nonconventional treatment methods, including surgery, narcotics, physical therapy, therapeutic massage, traditional chiropractic adjustments, and so on. His technique may be used as an adjunct to conventional treatments.
As with any approach in the art of healing, results are contingent on the specific condition being treated, its severity and duration.
Still, Dr. Levine has had remarkable (some say, miraculous) results on a variety of patients and medical conditions, from sprains and strains to arthritis pain, herniated discs, post-operative pain and more.
These days, NASCAR teams and drivers are looking for every possible competitive advantage, from personalized workout regimens and nutrition programs to consultations with sports psychologists and more.
A healing technique such as Dr. Levine’s could prove invaluable, not only to the drivers and pit crew members, but their team owners and sponsors as well.
But don’t take my word for it. Visit Dr. Levine’s website and listen to the video testimonials for yourself.
“The feedback I have received from some former pro athletes is that this treatment may be somewhat unique in the country,” said Dr. Levine. “If that is remotely accurate, it could be advantageous to NASCAR drivers who would like to avail themselves of a potentially revolutionary treatment. The treatment can not only help to reduce pain and discomfort, increase agility and range of motion, but ultimately may lead to an improvement in a driver’s overall performance.”
In a sport where competitors routinely ‘play through pain’ and races are won by thousandths of a second, Dr. Levine’s healing touch could make a world of difference.
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