Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday Workout Update - Physical Therapy is Also Mental Therapy

I went to physical therapy twice last week and felt like it was helping.  By my second appointment, on Friday, my hamstring pain had lessened quite a bit - I was given some exercises to do at home after the first appointment, and I think they helped (along with the treatments they gave me during the session).  The PT I saw on Friday was more of a sports specialist, and we talked quite a bit about how I run (speed, intervals, goals).  Because of how much better I was feeling, and because of the Astym procedure that I'd had done both visits, she encouraged me to go ahead and run on Saturday.  Apparently your muscle tissues heal better after Astym when you are doing regular activity.  If I felt a lot of pain while running (some muscle ache was acceptable), then I could just turn around and walk back.  I was very happy and encouraged to hear this, as you might imagine.

So bright and early on Saturday morning, Amy and I started our run, taking it easy and going slower than normal.  We ran our usual 2:1 intervals for nearly 3 miles (and were even paced by a tiny kitten for a while - so cute), but once I started feeling the hamstring pull, we began to walk more than run, especially when we came to the hillier parts.  By the time we got through the fancy neighborhood, I told her that I was ready to turn back to the park - she was fine with that, and we ended up doing 5 miles total, with much of the last two miles spent walking.  The hamstring definitely got more and more tender, but weirdly, the pain started moving around the front of my quad, and that ended up hurting worse than the hammy. 

I stretched and iced it as we were waiting for the other runners to return, but along with that pain, the arch of my left foot started hurting a lot, and my calves were also cramping up  (which I'm sure was due to going from zero to five miles).  Apparently I'd inadvertently changed my gait just enough to compensate for the hamstring, and that affected other parts of my leg.  Great, just great.  Now instead of one thing, I was dealing with multiple issues.  As the day went on and I would get a sharp stabbing pain up high on my quad any time I twisted my foot or stepped oddly, I got more and more upset.  I felt like I had a big setback and was beating myself up inside for trying to run.

Monday was especially bad for me, mentally.  I was not only depressed, but mad.  Why do I keep getting injured?  I'm not running too much.  I'm not pushing myself for speed.  I had barely gotten into the longer miles when my hamstring injury happened.  I run intervals, for crying out loud.  I'm not competitive, I don't go for PR's when I run, I just like to run for the sake of doing something fun with my friends.  My patience was wearing thin, and honestly, my hope for getting back to running was, as well.

Yesterday I had another physical therapy appointment.  I went in expecting to be told how much more I'd screwed up my body, but instead, my PT listened to my litany of pains, got me on the table, pressed and pulled and stretched and did some trigger point therapy (ouch) and all of a sudden I felt so much better.  The sharp stabbing pain was gone...she said it was the iliopsoas muscle in my hip flexor area, and yes, that came about from running too much on Saturday.  What a relief to know that things weren't as bad as I thought - I'm a pretty positive person in general, but I'll admit, I had been awfulizing quite a bit since Saturday.

It's so funny how getting something "fixed" in the physical area can help so much with the mental area...I feel like I'm getting a bonus with my PT copay - therapy for both my body AND mind.  Considering how low I was feeling, it's absolutely worth every dollar.  I go back again tomorrow, and I already have my appointments scheduled for next week.  Now, I'm a little more hopeful that I will feel normal soon and won't miss out on running our goal race. 

29 comments:

  1. Can't tell you how relieved I am that your hip problems were only caused by the run and that it's not another problem for you. You have so much bad luck with your body, I feel for you. You love running so much, you deserve a couple of years of running injury free and just have fun! I still keep my fingers crossed for you for that!

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  2. AHH I CAN RELATE.
    when I got my back pain lessened I felt like a new misfit mentally too.

    xoxoxoxox

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  3. Ahhhhh yes, the changing the gait thing. Hmmmm, wonder where I've heard that before?

    So glad your PT is helping to where you want to keep going back. I'm sure with PT and being careful you'll be healed up in no time!

    You know, I have a lot of injuries compared to other runners too but I've decided just like with weight loss (why does she get to lose so fast and not me - unfair!), I'm no longer going to compare myself to other runners and just go with the hand I've been dealt.

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    1. Sounds reasonable, but sometimes, the hand you're dealt just stinks while you're holding it.

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  4. I LOVE physical therapists! As a group, I think they are the kindest people in the medical profession. Did she say that the pains were caused by changing your gait, or just coincidental? That really interests me. And I agree too. It seems like you get a lot for your money with physical therapists, compared to some other medical treatments. off to check out that astym!

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    1. Changing my gait and compensating for the hamstring caused the new set of pains. She had me doing an exercise and I literally could not move my right leg because I was supporting it with my bad hammy left leg. Really showed me how weak it is; no wonder I ended up using other muscles to propel myself along!

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  5. Pain is the WORST. Especially when you feel like you are not pushing it. I had re-injured my back -SEVERELY- (to the point of limping) and it started with a hamstring injury and the pulling wound up hurting my back. After many doctor visits, I went to a PT who said that the piriformis stretches are KEY to keeping everything from tightening up. I do the stretch on the table (do a google search of piraformis table stretch) and just standing like that, without even doing anything else, makes a HUGE difference and the tightening is gone. I have since been told that this is often forgotten. Btw I LOVE your blog and am just starting to get myself back into shape. You inspire me!

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    1. Thanks for the tip on that table stretch - I found an example online and will definitely work that into my stretching routine. And thanks for reading! :)

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  6. With everything you've been through these last few years with injuries, I think you should be awarded an honorary PT degree! So glad your mind AND body are recovering nicely :)

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  7. I think I've mentioned this to you before Shelley, but see if you can find this on demand or at your library. They are 30 minutes of stretching all different - some focus on the calves, some for the hamstring, etc.

    Whenever I start to feel the least bit sore, I go back to these on my DVR - I have 11 episodes recorded from May of 2012 and they are a godsend. I did the elliptical yesterday and my hip has been hurting since, so I plan on doing the hip exercise tonight in place of Insanity.

    http://www.classicalstretch.com/

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    1. Thanks for the link - bookmarking it now! :)

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  8. Feel so bad for you. But yeah 0 to 5 miles is a bad idea. When I ran too soon after my broken ankle, I wound up with a stress fracture in my other foot because I was favoring the foot with the broken ankle. Be careful.. Hope you are back running again soon!

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    1. I don't know what I was thinking, going from zero to five. Oh yeah, that I wanted to run so badly I forgot some basic principles of running! :(

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  9. YAY for the PT!!! So hopeful the injury heals quickly!!!! I know how much running means to you, and really hope you are back out there soon!!

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  10. Stay at it. This too will pass. I've had a broken foot since the end of April. It still hurts.

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  11. Blogger ate my comment. Blargh.

    Do you do foam rolling? That's definitely good for IT band and hammies.

    Chronic pain is no joke. When the body doesn't feel right, it really takes a toll on your mental health.

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    1. I don't foam roll enough, but am certainly changing that now.

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  12. I hope the bottom of your foot feels better too. Good for you for listening and slowing down. I passed on a hilly run with friends this morning (I loooove running with friends) to hit the pool solo and take one more day off running. It's good to listen to your body:)

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    1. Thanks. I definitely need to pay more attention to my body than the running schedule, that's for sure.

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  13. So glad your body (and your mind) are on the mend! For those of us who once were not quite so physically active, losing that hard-won outlet can be demoralizing.

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    1. I think you've hit on it - with each week that goes by, I'm turning into my old self (at least, in my mind). Scary and not something I want!

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  14. I feel your pain! I really do!!! I am so injury-prone. It doesn't take much for me. :( Currently dealing with runner's knee (it's been a year). PT helped, strength training helped more. But injury still sucks.

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    1. You said it. Sorry about your injury, ugh. :(

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  15. I had to back up and reread your posts to see why you were in PT. :(
    I'm sorry. It sucks, sucks sucks.

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    1. Thanks. It does, and I know you know that.

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  16. I've heard of a few runners having a similar problem - changing their gait to compensate for an injury, only to have problems related to that. I feel the same way sometimes too, like why am I always straining something? I've been doing restorative yoga, and I swear I'm there for a different muscle problem every week! Glad to hear your PT could help though!

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  17. I am going through the same thing actually. However I didn't start PT yet, but I was told I had to due to a hamstring pull as well. I go in tomorrow and I hope I feel a good as you do when you see your PT specialist. My sports medicine doctor told me I can't run for two weeks, but I'm hoping I can get back to running soon enough. :)

    www.SlimIntoONEderland.blogspot.com

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