I think everyone should go to physical therapy at least once a year in my humble opinion. You most likely will be blown away at how out of balance your body gets with the normal wear and tear of daily life. I first went to a PT after I had my knee surgery four years ago. As I was doing my rehabilitation exercises my PT casually mentioned that it looked like one of my legs was longer then the other. Upon closer inspection she mentioned that my pelvis was twisted. In order to get myself in alignment not only did I have to do knee strengthening but pelvis stabilization exercises. I have always had hip issues and this was most likely due to that fact. I had also received an MRI about 3 years ago meant for the hip and you know how that goes. It’s like taking your car for an oil change and the mechanic says “yeah we changed the oil but did you know your radiator has a leak”? This was one of those moments. I go into for the MRI for the hip and come out with a slightly bulging disk review. Hmmmm. I know if I just don’t think about it, won’t the diagnosis magically just disappear…….
Fast forward to the present, the doctor wants me to get a follow up MRI. Since I have been having a few niggles here and there I was nervous about the prospect of the bulging disk because I still was having pain radiate down my right leg from time to time and of course the left knee issues. Good news – no bulging disk! It was gone. I was a little perplexed because the doctor told me if there was damage or the disk was herniated then it wasn’t going to fix itself. So he gave me an order for physical therapy to “fix” what needs fixing.
I love my PT! She first made me go through some exercises and evaluated me then measured my hips and said, yep your right hip is rotated 1.5″ inward. Amazing. So I’m way out of alignment and now I have to work to stabilize and bring the pelvis back. I asked about the bulging disk and she mentioned that if it’s no more than 9 degrees it can correct itself. That’s great to know. She also mentioned that the new running shoes I bought, the ones where they watched me run then made a determination on the correct shoe, were wrong! That sucks. Because my arches are so high the “stability shoe” I have is incorrect. So, I will need to purchase the right shoe before I get up into the longer runs. There is plenty of information and research on how the wrong running shoe has caused major injury and damage to the body. My personal mantra is you can skimp on everything else but never on the shoes. You don’t have to buy the most expensive pair, but a good shoe and one that is correct for you.
I’ve been attending PT for two weeks now and I can tell a difference already in my pain level during and after a run. It is really amazing. During my last session I mentioned that my right glute was really tight and I started prattling on about foam rolling and the PT says with a huge grin let’s do some myofascial release! Yay…uh what is that? As a registered yoga instructor I know about fascia. Fascia is the thin sheath of fibrous tissue enclosing a muscle or other organ. The collagen fibers that make up the fascia need to stay supple and be able to slide and move. When muscles stay tight, the fascia clings to them, and both can become rigid over time. That’s why it feels good to stretch, foam roll, tennis ball therapy and do yoga. You may even have purchased an instrument for myofascial release and not even realize it! For more on fascia read this article: A Body Part You Never Knew Could Be Making You Miserable .
Back to myofasical release. The PT tells me to go in this special room. I’m excited because I think I’m getting a spa treatment!! She comes back with a tool like this:
It looks like a shoehorn. I realize there might be people out there that don’t know what a shoehorn is….I’ll give you a clue…it helps you get your shoe on…Google it my friends. All the while I’m still smiling. She then hands me the tool to inspect and she speaks in a kind voice, “see it has a little serrated edge at the top almost like little teeth”. She hands it too me like a dentist hands a child the drill before getting a filling. See Jimmy, it’s really not that bad, and will be over before you know it! Okay….spa treatment! Then she smiles and says, “Oh yeah this might cause a little bruising”.
How could something so right go so terribly wrong! My sweet PT went from all smiles to badass in 3 seconds flat.
It was like a bad European women’s wrestling match dream. Spa treatment, spa treatment, spa treatment…I clicked my heals three times as I felt those little teeth digging into my right glute and I realized I wasn’t in physical therapy Kansas anymore. PT smiles and laughs ~ “you thought you were getting a spa treatment didn’t you”! I had to laugh…how the heck could she read my mind!
I’m not going to lie, it was damn painful. I’m still feeling the “release” as we speak. The only problem with PT is doing the homework. You go and have these sessions, but then you have to be disciplined enough to come back and do your homework. I would say I’m a C+ student at the moment. I am doing the exercises, but I could be more disciplined. Over all I’m pleased and hope this will make me stronger.
Running was good this week. Still hanging at the 6 mile mark for the long run. The long run was about at a 6 on the 1 – 10 scale with a pace at 11:57. Slooowww and hot. Logged 11.78 miles for the week. I have 6736.58 miles gratefully remaining. Even though it’s tough I had this song playing and so true. Happy Miles to You!!