Why I Endorse Alex Tapplin
Tuesday, November 6, 2012 at 10:14AM
John Koenig

Many of you are familiar with my stance that Active Release Therapy is playing a major role in keeping this 58-year-old CrossFit / weight training / Tough Mudder / “I can do that” body in the gym on a daily basis. Alex is my guy. After months of mounting shoulder pain, keeping me from any overhead work, an MRI revealed several tears in my rotator cuff and a subluxed bicep tendon. My general practioner doctor, a man I trust and have been with for years, recommended a referral to a surgeon. I declined.

Alex is a Doctor of Chiropractic, certified in ART, with a CSCS as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist. He belongs to Appleton Crossfit. What an intriguing combination of skills and interests. In other words, he walks the talk. When I texted Alex last Saturday morning to ask if he had an opening for me that day (to help with my injury of the week), he was on his way to Minneapolis for a seminar. He’s always learning.

This mindset is important for patients; Alex is unlikely to tell you to stop working out! Rather, he gathers information, closely examines the portions of your body causing issues, and works to solve problems. His hands (and thumb) can make a distinct difference in how your body functions in short order. I’m not promising a pleasant time on his exam table; you’ll work hard and probably feel some pressure and pain. But the release, the new range of motion, the sudden lack of pain when you move, is something to embrace.

Alex Tapplin is not that chiropractor who ends every session cracking your spine and twisting your head, just for chuckles. Rather, he works closely with your current workout protocol, setting you on the road to recovery. You’ll leave his office armed with homework, that should you practice, will make a terrific difference. And you’ll know a hell of a lot about your body and situation you weren’t aware of before.

Back in 1999, while writing and editing for Testosterone (now T-Nation) magazine, my co-worked Chris Shugart conducted a life-changing (for me) interview with Dr. Michael Leahy, the creator of Active Release Therapy. Not long afterwards I ruptured my left rotator cuff, and being aware that surgery was a crap-shoot and would keep me from competing in powerlifting possibly ever again, I found one of the only three (at the time) ART-certified chiropractors in Wisconsin and over time found healing and relief. I’ve been a believer ever since. 

This spring when I damaged my right shoulder, I didn’t seek treatment for months as my life was busy, summer was coming, and I knew I could muddle through with modified workouts and enjoy most of my activities. Clearly it was fate, as Alex moved to the area late in the summer, joined Appleton CrossFit and came into my sights. As soon as I heard there was a certified ART guy here I invited myself for a free exam!

Through the course of only four sessions I'm once more overhead pressing, experiencing near full recovery in my shoulders. I'm overhead squatting and snatching after months unable to do so (not heavily yet, but still...). My push press and strict overhead press is nearly back to pre-injury status. Better yet, no pain, no impingement! Alex studied under Dr. Michael Leahy, the originator of Active Release Therapy. Tapplin is the real deal, smart as hell, curious and eager to learn. When I threw Leahy's name at him before my first appointment, and he told me he'd studied under him and was certified by Leahy, I was excited.

Here’s the real point of my ramble: don’t just take my word for it that ART therapy will assist any hard-working gym rat to keep on with your workouts and sports. In the current Nov. 5 issue of Sports Illustrated, in a profile about how the Denver Broncos keep Peyton Manning and other athletes of an advanced age (!) with injury histories continuing to play and perform at the highest level, guess what one of the major factors is:  Yes, Active Release Therapy, at the hands of Dr. Leahy himself. Let me quote writer Peter King -

“Today the Broncos employ Michael Leahy, a Colorado Springs - based specialist in another branch of muscular science, Active Release Therapy, to see players weekly. On game days he spends 20 to 30 minutes with Leahy...” Manning isn’t the only believer on the team. “I get Active Release Therapy every Wednesday,” says 35-year-old Chargers linebaker Takeo Spikes. “Soft tissue care has been huge for my career.”

Read this story; look for it online. Use medical science to enhance your time taking part in life, whether you train hard in the gym and in sports, or just want your body to work properly and are willing to take some responsibility for yoruself.


Alex Tapplin is Valley Spine & Sport (and my friend). Call him at 920-585-6849, and check him out at valleyspineandsport.com.


Article originally appeared on Stuff I Like, Spies & Espionage, Books, Nutrition, Training (http://www.johnkoenig.net/).
See website for complete article licensing information.