Thursday, September 30, 2010

Injury Update: I'm effed up in 3D!

This whole diagnosis and physical therapy has been quite the process so far, let me tell you (which, I guess, is what I'm doing).  The cliff's notes version goes a little something like this:

My Rx for PT was "right leg ITBS", ironically, the opposite leg from a few months back, which immediately made me skeptical of my treatment.  I put some faith in those who do this for a living, and went along with it, but still remained a little reserved since I know what I feel, not them.

One morning in the middle of September, I woke up with a stiff right lower lumbar (the same problem area that has been haunting me for years), and rather than discomfort, I had absolute pain.  Like the pain where when you get to work at 7am (and I'm not talking about the pain associated with being at work at 7am), you realize you can't even work, and make a call to your doc at 7:01am and say "Whatever you prescribed isn't working."  Fortunately, "stress is the fertilizer for creativity", and I walked over to my gym, and (I quote myself here) "rolled the hell out of my right glute" with the black/hard foam roller (not that I like large hard cylindrical things near my glutes, but desperate times call for desperate measures I guess).  Why the foam rollers?  Not sure, just seemed like the best thing to do for some reason.  After 15 minutes of rolling out, where my perspective was "the more it hurts, the more I roll" (primarily in the piriformis and Gluteus Medius), I stood up, and 90% of my stiffness went away.

hhmmm... I'm onto something here.  I think ART is in order if the Foam Roller worked that good.

Fast forward to Monday, I walk into PT at 7am, and tell the director and my PT about my Friday crisis, and the session turns into a re-assessment.

Here's the theory:

Because training for endurance sports demands so much from my body, any inefficiencies or discrepancies are exacerbated through big training.  Because my right leg is shorter than my left leg, my body has compensated by anteriorly rolling my right pelvis down in the front, effectively "lengthening" my right leg.  Because the right anterior pelvis rotated down, the rear part rotated up, which is what causes feelings of pressure and compression in my right lower lumbar.  The below picture shows whats happening with just my right side:

(I don't know abnout you, but at a quick glance, the arrow almost makes the photo anatomically correct, except well, mine's not red ;)

On the other side of my pelvis, as another means of compensating, my left pelvis has rotated forward, but in a different direction.  If you were looking at me from above, my left pelvis has rotated from 9 o'clock, towards 12 o'clock (fortunately, it hasn't gotten that bad yet, or else I'd look really funny).

In other words, I'm effed up in 3D.

So what does all mean?  A LOT more PT, a lot of stretching, and a lot of me making sure I don't revert back to poor mechanics.  Once I feel comfortable (mentally anyways) with re-introducing biking and running (which is on-hold at the moment), I will make core and strength work (as in, a lot of what my rehab is) mandatory.  For right now, the only thing I'm focused on is getting better.

Also, I already have had 2 ART sessions, and let me tell you - this stuff is the REAL DEAL.  I know of numerous people getting ART who rave about it, but I was skeptical - more in the sense that I didnt want to get my hopes up.  No way - I'm sold now!  Some funny things to note:
  • I was told that rather than having knots in my muscles, I have golf balls
  • The doc was working on a "golf ball", and the only thing he could say is "Dude...."
  • I need so much work, that he has hurt his thumb both times so far (bragging rights, I say, and we laugh about it)
  • When I told him that when the foam roller just doesn't cut it, the lacrosse ball works wonders.  His response "that tells me a lot about the type of person you are".
While the above bullet points are comedic, the results are amazing.  For the first time in about 6 years, I have no feelings of pressure in my back on a day-to-day basis.


ps- To all those racing and watching Kona next Saturday, have fun!


Chuckie V said...

Dead lifts! Remind me to e-mail you after Kona with the details. In the meantime work the muscles that will bring your pelvic bone back to a more neutral position. (Low ab work.)


ron said...

Keep doing the ART, and upgrade from a foam roller to the RumbleRoller (

Tawnee Prazak said...

GREAT POST. Thanks for sharing all the details.

1) I'm so glad to hear ART is working for you... My ART guy said I had "golf balls" too when I first started going haha. Bottom line, ART works!

2) I was freakin cracking up at the red arrow hahahaha.

3) You say, "Because training for endurance sports demands so much from my body, any inefficiencies or discrepancies are exacerbated through big training." <-- that hits the nail on the head!

Ben's transcanada said...

In terms of the leg-length discrepancies, would a 'quick fix' be to simply place some kind of block under your right cleat, so that it evens you up? Probably a stupid question as it felt too obvious to be of any use, but there's my 2c.

Are they not meant to be red?