As you all know, or may not know, I've been having physical problems since having the baby. My hips have been bothering me a lot more and my left heel started to hurt after (and even during!) my runs. These two ailments have put me out of training commission for far too many weeks, my hip issues have even kept me from running a race all together (Snoqualmie Valley Half & 10k).
These past few months have been frustrating and humbling beyond belief. From chiro visits, to sitting out many training runs, to getting a new mattress set, to trying new stretches and strengthening exercises. All to no avail...I was still plagued by horribly stiff, aching and painful hips and an increasing presence of heel pain that is now appearing in both feet.
I mean the pain was in everything I did every day. From simple things like walking, to picking up up the baby, every movement I made was painful in some way or another. I kept thinking to myself, something has got to give, I cannot live like this. I was desperate. I tried thinking of what to do next, what can I do to get myself out of this hell I was slowly sinking in to?
Then I had an idea. What about physical therapy? I had never really thought about it before, but I was in essence nursing injuries. Not because I did something bad, but because my body had changed during the pregnancy and afterwards, causing stress and pain in places I hadn't had before. So...why not? Why not go see someone who may have an idea as to what is going on with my muscles and see if there was a way back for me. My running friend had been going to a PT group for a couple of years now and thought the world of them and their efforts to help her, so I would give them a try, I called and made an appointment. No referral from a doctor, just decided to go myself.
The lady I was scheduled with just so happened to be a runner (bonus) and specialized in women's health and reproductive focus (double star bonus!), so she had some knowledge of problem areas for women who have given birth. The appointment was basic, getting background knowledge and information on how I developed my ailments, what causes them to get better or worse, etc. After that we did some basic range of motion tests and she did some pressure point work.
Okay, let's cut to the chase. My range of motion was CRAP! My hips did not want to go ANYWHERE! Everything was tighty, tight, tight and she was surprised at the lack of motion I had. The next thing we did was work on some exercises to start on and stretching and foam rolling (oh how I hate to foam roll), but she said that this will help loosen up my calves and help release the pressure on my heels because that is where lots of my pain was coming from, overly tight calves! ::smacking my forehead::
The last thing she did was some pressure point work on the muscles in my back and glutes. She found the sore spot on my right side, where I have almost all of my pain, and I winced in pain. She did a couple more digs in with her thumb in different spots, then...I felt it. The muscle relaxed and I felt the tension in that area release. HOLY CRAP! It felt SO GOOD! When I stood up to leave when the session was over I couldn't believe the difference I had felt almost immediately. It was so crazy, I was feeling better already.
I committed to coming back for more appointments to work on both areas and that is what I have been working on the past couple of weeks. I will tell you that the weekend after the first visit (which was on a Wednesday) I was in so much pain that I couldn't have gone for a run even if I was being chased. Well, maybe if I was being chased, but it wouldn't have been pretty. Then incrementally I started to feel better, stronger, little by little I was starting to get range of motion back in my lower back and hips.
Which brings us to this week, I am about to embark on my first run in a couple of weeks (feels a bit daunting, truthfully) but I'm curious to see how I feel after all the work I've been doing. It's going to be an easy run, not pushing anything. But I can tell you this, I am feeling stronger in my lower back and hips now than I have felt in months! I am no where near 100%, but I am infinitely better than I was two weeks ago where simple movements like getting in and out of a chair was painful.
I really wish I had thought of going to PT sooner, maybe more pain could have been alleviated, but I digress. I am glad I have started and we have a plan to work out my issues. Little by little I am improving, getting stronger and feeling less pain. If you have the ability to do it, I would suggest a consultation with a good PT group if you are having issues with muscles. I spent way too much time with my chiro trying to get my alignment back when all it would do was go back out of alignment a week or two later, because I wasn't addressing the issue with the muscles. The muscles, untreated, would continue to pull me out of alignment because they weren't getting the relief and treatment they needed. Now that I'm treating them, my alignment has been great!
So that is my training update, I've been working on my body to help get myself back to running. I may not get to the training goals I want/need to before the race weekend next month, but at least I know I will be finishing all three races standing up!
Now it's your turn: Tell me about injuries you've been dealing with/have dealt with and how you overcame them. Have you gone through sports related physical therapy before?