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February 01, 2012

I Heart Graston

Sort of.  I thought I knew what pain was and I was wrong. Pain that leads to good things, like change and loosening and healing, is tolerable. I can endure pain that leads healing. Yes, it would be nice to run, enjoy this snow-less trail season, and ride my new trainer. Still, this is a long-term plan; I've been down before and feel that this time if I have to be out of the game for awhile so I can heal properly—I'm in.
(The heart is made up of the bruised pink area on my hip.)

After a few weeks of PT at The Off Season Sports & Physical Therapy, I can say that I know pain. I also know my part in what caused some of my situation: Hello my name is Emily and I need to stretch.

I am also getting Active Release Therapy (ART) and Graston Technique (GT), which are basically the same thing but GT uses metal tools. They kind of look like these tools from the film Dead Ringers.
I "like" the Fascia Buster or whatever it is called. My PT guy laughed when I called it this. When he informed me he was going to do a little GT on my hip, I responded, "Oh, I've been curious about Graston; I want it."  He looked at his colleague with a shocked expression, chortled, and joked, "Let me remind you that you said, 'I want Graston.'" While I am not a glutton for punishment, I feel that drastic measures are necessary to loosen this tight ball of tendons and fasciea that has become my body. After some GT,  I WAS more flexible. I also bruised A LOT, which I didn't expect. That was scary. 
 Bragging rights. Next Day.

 These tools resemble what was used on me.
  
Now I am routinely getting a bunch of deep tissue manual therapy (sans GT tools) on my ITBs and it is exceptionally painful. It hurts as much as the tool. I have come to accept it, welcome it and am figuring out a way to continue to get it when my insurance PT visits run out. 

Harvard Pilgrim HC is not great for Physical Therapy. They do not want me in a PT office. I am so upset by our healthcare system. HPHC approved 25 visits in 60 consecutive days, per condition—PER LIFETIME. So if I ever get "x" condition again, say in 10 years, they will not cover it. What a shaft, especially for athletes.  The insurance folks think that after a set number of visits one should be able to learn the proper methods and employ them at home. Ok this is true to an extend BUT sometimes the special equipment, heat, expertise of the therapists, and ice/stim. cannot be  replicated outside of the office. I put a bunch of Flex money away and will shop a la cart if need be.
 Healing very nicely, a week later.

The metal Fascia Buster (I also call it the Fascist, for comic relief) is not part of my program right now but ART is (not the kind with pretty paint colors either.)   Who know someone's thumb could dig that deeply into my thigh? When they get a good "golf ball" they break it apart, roll it around, try to lessen its hold. happy happy joy joy.

One of the many things I learned from my PT guy is that after he does the deep tissue manipulation of my ITB that I must roll on foam roller in the following days or the "adhesions will reattach." "RE-ATTACH" is a word I do not like to hear. They will reattach over time so stretching and rolling are important in delaying that process. The weird thing is, my ITB was not hurting before I went to PT (went for my hips) but I now understand its connection to feet, pelvis orientation, etc.
 
What's wrong? Apparently, a lot. I am in the process of healing
bilateral hip tendonitis and bursitis and an out-of-whack pelvis (technical term) and something they can't quite identify deep in my hip socket. I will probably end up going for an MRI on the hip thing because that still hurts today as much as it did before I started the physical therapy. Still, the PT helps my flexibility and I can move my hips and legs a lot more than I could three weeks ago. It is awesome! So along with a daily stretching program, to which I am committed, I am on the mend!

3 comments:

Kristen Donegan said...

Em, have you looked at orthopedics? help you stay in alignment in between tx.??
I have been getting treated for shld. tendinitis/bursitis impingement and feel for you

xo

Adam Wilcox said...

Yikes! I've recently started stretching for an hour every morning to work out some leg and hip kinks, from basically no stretching before. After seeing this, I think I 'll keep doing it, even if/when the pains go away.

trailgrrl said...

OMG you are one tough cookie..seriously Em..that bruise was mighty cringe worthy holy purple cow! I am glad you have found something that is working, but I hate to see those bruises sweetie