Monday, February 6, 2012

Will This Story Have a Happy Ending?

How my pelvis feels right now.....
Once upon a time there was a runner who liked to say she really hadn't ever dealt with injury. True, she'd had a pesky Morton's neuroma in her foot. But that was (lucky her) easily fixed and hadn't bothered her in a year.

But....she did have this Occasional Pain in her lower back....that sometimes shot down deep into her bottom...and even sometimes down her hamstrings...especially on the left side. Since she'd had it for more than five years, though, she was almost used to it. She didn't talk about it (except to her husband some mornings when the act of climbing out of bed made her feel 90 years old).

Then one Saturday in late January, after she tried to up the intensity of her core workout just a little teensy bit, the Occasional Pain spoke to her. "You know," it said, "I've been here for five years, whispering softly because I'm polite that way, but all you do is ignore me. You ignored me when I asked you not to perch those kids on that left hip, even when they were getting heavier. You ignored me when I told you, 'Not THAT core workout.' You ignored me when I asked you to maybe please not run so much on concrete. You're still ignoring me. So now...I'm gonna YELL at you."

Trying to be respectful, she took two days off running and skipped her weight training class. But the Occasional Pain had had it with her. It refused to go away. She ran easy. She foam rolled. She carried a tennis ball in her purse and sat on it at inappropriate times, like at work.

To no avail.

So she did the last thing she could think of to placate the Pain (which a little over a week later was no longer Occasional).

She went in to see her doctor at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine. The same doctor who had saved her foot. Who had been disappointed in a 2:50 marathon in Chicago last year.

Inside the exam room she donned a pair of voluminously unflattering hospital shorts. Her doctor asked her lots of questions. She mentioned her twin pregnancy, her C-section, carrying babies and toddlers around on her left hip, and how each and every time she had tried to focus on her core the Pain had come back.

"Does it hurt when you run?" he asked.

"Sometimes," she admitted. Oh, how she hated saying that out loud!

Her doctor then had her stretch out on the exam table. He manipulated her legs and hips and back. He said her left leg appeared to be a bit longer than her right (she had no idea) and that her "high hamstrings" were very tight--especially on the left.

He looked at her training plan for the Spring of Speed. He told her it was good things weren't going to ramp up too quickly.

He prescribed six weeks of bi-weekly massage (she could almost feel the Pain cheering)....and six weeks of something called "dry needling" (neither she nor the Pain were so sure about that). He gave her a link to a different core workout and stretching routine.

He didn't tell her not to run.

In fact, he told her she will probably be able to run faster once she deals with the Pain.

If that's the case, she doesn't care how many needles it takes, dry or wet.

She's going to turn that Occasional Pain into a Distant Memory.

41 comments:

  1. Aargh - but so glad you got in when it escalated. I'm sending Dr. S to your doc (achilles problems every since a knee scope) so please send me his info. Happy ending coming your way!!!

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  2. As someone who has suffered the ass pain, even if it's different then yours, I sympathies. However the fact that you've been ignoring it for so long has me thinking shame on you. :)  But only because in the last couple of years I've decided it's easier to take care of things when they start then to let them linger. So glad you have fantastic doc and sounds like you are on the right track. 

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  3. Ouchie, girl....I'm so sorry that pesty Occasional Pain guy make a reappearance but if these treatments are going to cure you and make you speedier (and bonus points that treatment doesn't entail a banned substance or drug dopping), then bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

    btw, I had dry needles in my calf with my whole PF thing, it's not bad at all!  :)

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  4. Oh...hehe....me again.  I just clicked on your new core and stretching link...that is the same myrtl routine from Coach Jay Johnson that we use with the cross country and track kiddos.  Jay is a friend of our head coach and coaches Brent and Sarah Vaughn (Sarah is in the pic :))....Brent is a graduate of our high school and was coached by our xc coach (gives me hope that maybe my son may one day run faster :)).  Just one of those small world stories I thought I'd share!  I do that routine every single day!!!  :)

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  5. I love the way you told this story - even if I don't like the pain part. ;)  I hope the massage and needle treatment (that sounds scary!) help that pain become a distant, distant memory!  Yay for still being able to run!

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  6. i was thinking about you today and wondering how your appt went.  All-in-all it sounds very optimistic.  plus - a bi-weekly massage sounds great!  AND  "probably be able to fun faster" and be pain free - exciting!  :)

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  7. This will have a happy end...ing.  Hey, do what it takes to get healthy and get after it again.  My wife's kind of going through the same thing,  Hers, too, was exacerbated by a core workout.  She does a lot of stretching now and it's helped.

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  8. I am so sorry that you're having your pain issue...that sounds terrible!  I hope it heals up asap.

    But I must admit, hearing about the bi-weekly massage, I did get a little jealous!  I would love to have a massage that's covered by insurance!

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  9. raina_smalltownrunnerFebruary 6, 2012 at 11:04 PM

    Way to get on top of it! You will be so very glad you did. I didn't even realize you had kids- twins!? Holy moly, you deserve a medal for that :)

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  10. Yes it will have an happy ending...I believe it...you need to do the same..I bet that if you do all that the Dr prescribed you will beat that pain.

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  11. I hope you get this all worked out and the pain goes away soon!!  Do you ever see a chiropractor?  I have an SI disorder in my lower back which causes it to move out of place and causes pain and tightness in my hamstring and one leg to be longer than the other.  Just a suggestion, but it sounds very similar and is a very common problem

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  12. Good luck with the your new pain abatement plan!  I am sure it will disappear in no time!

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  13. Good for you for getting this checked out. So glad you can still run! I had some pirifirmis pain a few years ago, and it worried me to deal with it because I was also afraid of what they might tell me. After some various treatments I've been mostly happy & healthy. SO worth it! All the best to you as you work through your prescribed treatments.

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  14. So sorry to hear you are having pain! But you can still run...yay! P.S. I like the approach to this post. Very clever :)

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  15. Oh, bummer it's acting up and yelling at you!  But that definitely sounds like a hopeful ending... I'm glad you have someone you trust, and that you can keep running.  Running faster would be a nice benefit of dealing with it, too!  Good luck!

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  16. Oh no!  I so hope the massage and dry needles work.  I have a PT friend and she is a fan of dry needling.  I really don't know what it is but she says it works.  Good job for listening to the pain and going to the doc and super hooray that you don't have to stop running. 

    Oh and thank you so much for the sweet thank you note!!  Girl, we need to pick a race already and meet up!

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  17. it will end good, i know it!  you are no longer ignoring it.  i hope massage and dry needling work.  
    i think my right leg is slightly shorter than my left, which accounts for a lot of what i feel sometimes.  
    stay strong and positive!

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  18. Dry needling sounds kind of like acupuncture. I hope it helps!

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  19. I think it is, Sarah! Word to the wise--be nice to your core after your little girl arrives. And don't carry her on just one side, especially when she gets bigger. :^)

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  20. I hope you're right. I admit, I'm OK with six weeks of insurance-covered massage. :^)

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  21. Definitely! Bolder Boulder? Or is that too crazy (or too soon)?

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  22. Thanks, Laura! I really like my doctor. He's always optimistic and I know he would never tell me not to run unless I really shouldn't. Besides, six weeks of massage....not all bad.....

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  23. Thanks, Corey! I just saw that the new Runner's World has an article in the format of a letter from a guy's bum knee. But I honestly didn't read that until this morning after I posted this.

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  24. Thanks, Christi! I hope you're right.

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  25. I haven't ever seen a chiropractor but I know a lot of people (live and in blog land) who swear by them. My issue is what will my insurance pay for. :^)

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  26. You can bet I'm going to follow his instructions to the letter!

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  27. Thanks, Raina! I maybe deserved a medal for the first three years, but the last two have been easier than having two kids of different ages (at least from what I can tell :^) ).

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  28. Yeah, I'm not totally sad about that, I must say! :^)

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  29. I will be at the Bolder Boulder! But it is a totally crazy race. We will have to pick a spot to at least say hi, right???

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  30. Yes, we can meet afterward in the massage area or some coffee shop near campus! It would be fun!

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  31. Thanks Trent! Glad things are going a little better for your wife. I kind of wonder if this doesn't happen to a lot of women (those of us who don't have coaches) after they have kids.

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  32. Yeah, Cynthia, I'm not feeling horrible about it at all. When he said massage I kind of cheered inside.

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  33. Thanks, Mandy! The pain part is almost entirely my own fault for being stupid. I'm glad I went to see him before it got worse.

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  34. Yeah! Sounds like a plan. You know you are going to have to wait around for an eternity until I'm finished. ;) I might actually go into Boulder one Saturday to the Newton's clinic again. I will let you know if I do and maybe we could meet then.

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  35. Ahh man, I hope the OC goes away!  I too have an occasional pain in my lower back, hip, and butt area.  My SI joint just won't stay where it is supposed to and it drives me nuts!  

    Dry needling and acupuncture are all good things; I hope they work well for you!  

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  36. I think you are on the right track !!  Distant Memory is where pain belongs.  

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  37. I really appreciate doctors who understand runners and try to come up with solutions besides "Stop running."

    He's right. You will come back stronger. You will come back faster. I'm sure of it!

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  38. jessica (pace of me)February 7, 2012 at 8:21 PM

    oh jeesh, this sounds so familiar to me. you are smart to go to the doc and he sounds like a good one!  i want bi-weekly massages! i hope that OP becomes a very Distant Memory SOON!  i really enjoyed this post - so cleverly written and fun :o)

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  39. Lacey Sue - N.Y.A.R.MFebruary 8, 2012 at 8:18 AM

    Oh Terzah!!! I am truly hoping it heals up quickly- you'll have to let me know how it all works out- I have had a similar pain... *sigh*

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  40. That is very interesting!  I had never heard of a Morton's Neuroma, and I wonder if I had one.  My podiatrist said it was an unusual metatarsal stress fracture, but he didn't sound too convinced.

    And I hate stretching, leg exercises,  anything like that.  I KNOW I should do more. I once had a flexibility test and the person told me I was perhaps the least flexible person he had seen in a month.  Ugh.

    Good luck with the routine, and am curious how the leg/cooldown exercises go.

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  41. Injuries....CURSES!  But good that you (er, I mean she) is addressing this beast.

    And you'll "probably run faster"?????  (insert heavenly shining light)

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