Injury update

Since my last update, I went for an MRI on my neck and got the results.  The MRI showed that I had a bone spur on my C6 vertebra that was pressing on the nerve that goes down my arm as it exits the spinal canal.  It also showed some other minor disc issues, but the bone spur is what seems to be causing the issue with arm numbness and pain.   The orthopedist said a bone spur in that area is actually pretty common, and if we did MRI’s on everyone over 40 (which I’m not), then we’d see it on over half the images, but since I’ve had a pretty active life it’s not unusual at my age.  For lack of a better word, he said it was basically some arthritis forming.  Yeah, yeah, just go ahead and say I’m getting old doc.  THANKS!  He thinks that with a cortisone injection the inflammation will go down, and the numbness and pain will get better, and surgery won’t be necessary.  Thank God, because I’m not really sure that would be an option I’m willing to consider.  The pain would have to be really bad before I am willing to go that route, and luckily I’m not in a lot of pain.  As a matter of fact, most of my pain is now gone, so it’s mainly just the numbness that is bugging me still.

On August 30th, the orthopedist referred me to a pain management doctor, but the doctor was to call me.  After a couple of days of not hearing from them, I stopped by their offices on Sept 4th, and I was able to schedule an appointment for tomorrow Sept 10th.  However, the appointment is only for a consultation to discuss the injection.  I wanted to go ahead and schedule the injection as well, but I was told that I had to wait until after the consultation to do that, so hopefully, I can schedule the injection by the end of this week or next at the latest.  My husband keeps telling me that I’ll be self-healed by the time I actually get the injection, and I’m beginning to think he may be right.  At least I can make it to about mile 3 or 4 now on my runs before my arm goes numb, and it doesn’t usually hurt anymore when it does, so my half training is getting back on schedule.  I still can’t bike though, and I’ve been told to stay off my bike until after the injection and preferably  until all numbness is gone.  I’m hoping I can return to biking by the end of September.

My DBS has been put on the back burner for now since I’ve been dealing with my neck issues, but I really think the slow down in everything has probably helped it as well.  I haven’t been able to do all of my exercises for it since some of the positions aggravated my neck worse, so it’s been a vicious cycle, but I’ve been taking my running return slowly, and I’m using the run/walk method doing a 4:1 interval right now.  I’m not back to the speed I’d like to be, but my mileage is almost back on track for my upcoming half marathons this fall, and my hip is holding up.  I was able to do a long run of 8.5 miles yesterday, and I still feel some tightness in it, but no pain, and that’s what counts!  I also ran the Big Peach Sizzler 10K on Labor Day, and even though I did it as a training run and wasn’t trying to PR, I was able to PR it since I hadn’t actually ran a 10K since last August which was my first 10K.  I could have definitely ran it faster and it wasn’t a PR I’m thrilled about, but it was a PR none the less, so it did make me feel better about my half marathons starting next month.

~ Train smart & have fun people!

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Dry needling for DBS

This has been a VERY busy week, and I’m moving forward pretty well in training mode thanks to the dry needling on Tuesday, so it’s just getting even crazier than it already was!  The first time I heard about dry needing I was really pretty skeptical.  It was last year when I injured my calf.  I’ve never been a huge proponent of things like acupuncture or chiropractic adjustments, but the PT suggested it, and my thoughts were that it couldn’t make my injury any worse, so why not.  However, I really didn’t think it’d help either.  It took 3 different dry needing sessions on my calf muscle to get rid of the nagging pain I was dealing with, and even then, I was pretty doubtful as to whether it was the dry needling or the time off was just finally sufficient for the pain to be gone.  I wasn’t convinced either way, but when the PT suggested it on my hip, I figured I’d give it a go again.

Dry needling (http://www.neurosportphysicaltherapy.com/services/dry-needling) isn’t really a pleasant experience, but it’s not unbearable either.  They insert needles into trigger points, wiggle them around until it hits the right spot, your muscle tightens up like it has a bad cramp, pretty much immediately relaxes again, then they do it to another spot.  My calf was always really sore the next day, so I was expecting the same from my hip & glutes.

On Tuesday, the PT stretched my hip flexors and hamstrings, then she had me go through my exercises to see if I had improved, and if I was doing them correctly.  I had improved, so she gave me an additional step to do on each exercise, then it was on to the dry needling.  Since it was on my hip, we moved into a separate room where she had me lay on my side facing away from her.  She mashed around on my right hip some to figure out which trigger point she wanted to insert the needle in….basically where ever was the most painful for her to mash on was where she was going to insert the needle to cause more pain.  :-/  The first couple of spots that she did were about like my calf, somewhat uncomfortable, but not too bad.  She had one more spot that she wanted to get, so she inserted the needle into it, found the spot, and my muscle, piriformis I think, felt like it tightened up and didn’t release for the next few hours.  OUCH!!  This dry needling session was definitely more painful than on my calf, but it still wasn’t any worse than a really bad cramp, and with the results, I’d definitely do it again.  That muscle felt tight for the next few hours, so I tried to stretch it several times, and then that evening I rode 20 miles.

Wednesday was an off day, but Thursday morning was a scheduled run, so I headed out at 5AM with my running buddies for a 3 mile run/walk.  I pushed myself pretty good that morning because this whole run/walk thing and my slower times on Sunday and Tuesday were aggravating me.  I decided to do a 4:1 ratio Thursday morning, and I was able to average an overall pace of 10:19/mile which is where my short run training paces were before I got injured.  Towards the end of the 3 miles, I started feeling my hamstrings tightening up, but my hip felt great at the end.  The tightening of the hamstrings is definitely not a good sign though because that means I’m probably still using them when I should be using my glutes, so I will still be working on my PT exercises for a while to continue strengthening my glutes.

Today is Friday, and I’m still pain free in my hip, so I’m very hopeful to be back on my regular running training schedule soon.  However, I will be seeing the PT still because she has to start looking at my neck on Tuesday which the dr believes is pinching on a nerve making my arm go to sleep due to some compression in my neck on an x-ray.  UGH!  I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle at times, but at least this is just affecting my bike riding which isn’t as big of a deal at the moment because I don’t have any major races coming up on the bike right now, but I’ve got to get on schedule for my 2 upcoming half marathons!

 

 

 

 

Road to Recovery

It’s 5:15 AM and my alarm clock is blaring.  Am I really ready to jump back into running?  Will this morning be a waste of time and effort, or will my hip hold up?  Well, the only way to find out is to try!  Out the door I go at 5:45 AM to meet my running peeps for a 3 mile run/walk followed by a 20+ mile bike ride!  I’m feeling rather skeptically optimistic.

Beautiful Day!

Beautiful Day! Post run & ride

There’s a group that has been using the Galloway method (http://www.jeffgalloway.com/), and their plan is to run 3 minutes and walk 1 minute, so I figure I’ll give it a go today and see how that works.  I stayed with 2 other ladies who are currently dealing with injuries as well which was kind of neat because when these two are healthy, I don’t have a prayer of keeping up with either one of them, so I got to talk to them about their injuries and road to recovery as well.

One is also dealing with DBS, but hers is much more severe than mine due to several underlying problems that already existed.  She’s been out for about 6 months, and she’s just now been released to start a run/walk program.  She’s hoping to run her 2nd marathon in November, so she has 2 under her belt before she runs Boston in 2014.  Yep, that’s right folks, she qualified for Boston on her 1st MARATHON!  Like I said, I don’t have a chance to run with her normally, so it’s nice to have that opportunity now.

The other girl has a calf injury and her PT is wanting to do dry needling on her, so she was asking us some questions about it since we’ve both had it done before.  She’s hesitant to try dry needling (http://www.neurosportphysicaltherapy.com/services/dry-needling), but due to the results I had on my previous calf injury with dry needling, I’d try it anytime a PT thinks it might help!  It’s a strange sensation, but basically a small needle is inserted into trigger points in the muscle.  You don’t really feel the needle much, if at all, when it is inserted, but when the PT finds the right spot, the muscle feels like it contracts tightly like a cramp or charlie horse and releases immediately.  After having it done on my calf, it was sore for a couple of days.  I had to have 3 sessions on my calf before it was better.  I will have dry needling for my DBS on Tuesday.

Running is always more fun with friends to talk and keep you distracted.  The 3 miles actually went by really fast this morning, and we completed it in just under 36 minutes with our run/walk pattern.  It’s funny that when I started a year ago my first 5K time was slower than that, and I was dying at the end of it, but today’s run felt extremely easy which is nice because one of my main fears with having to take time off due to injury is that I’ll be starting completely back where I was in January 2012.  As I ran today, I did feel the muscle some, but it wasn’t a pain or stretching sensation.  It was just more of it being used like when I do my PT exercises, which is a good sign….I think.  I will say that I won’t be jumping up in distance really soon, and I think I may actually stick to the Galloway method for this season since it’s supposed to help with injury recovery.

After the run, 2 of us jumped on our bikes for at least 14 but maybe up to 28 miles.  I hadn’t rode after running in quite some time since I haven’t ran in forever, so I wasn’t sure how it’d go.  We rode a 14 mile loop, and it wasn’t very hilly, so it was a somewhat leisurely ride.  Instead of doing the 14 mile loop a 2nd time though, we decided to opt for an 8 mile loop, so we ended up with 22 miles total on the bike.

Overall, I’d say today was a pretty successful outing, but I’ll see if my hip agrees with that verdict later this evening since that’s when it usually starts aching.  I’m hoping this means that I can start back running with my running buddies about 3 days a week.  I need their motivation, and I miss my friends!  Running buddies quickly become more than just running partners.  Some of the best conversations about life in general happen while pounding out all those miles!

My butt is dead….

I had my first physical therapy appt today, and the PT thinks I have multiple issues, but the Sacroiliac joint is not the real problem.  It seems slightly different on the left versus the right, but it’s not too bad.  Instead, she said that I have “LAS, Lazy A$$ Sydrome.”  Say what?  I biked almost 100 miles last week and swam over 1500m.  What do you mean I have LAS?  What’d you do last week?  Lol, luckily, I had heard of Dead Butt Syndrome previously from 2 women in our running group, so I knew what she was referring to.  I also have tight hamstrings since they want to do all the work that my butt isn’t doing, and I have a tight hip flexor and tight piriformis muscles as well.

So, LAS and Dead Butt Syndrome are the same thing, and what it basically means is that your butt muscles aren’t firing like they should be and instead other muscles are compensating which leads to injury & soreness.  Fortunately, due to the urging of several running buddies, I went to the doctor before mine went on for months and got extremely bad.  I can actually still make mine work with a good bit of thought in one of my new exercises as shown in this PDF at least through step #3 http://www.emr.msu.edu/documents/rehab/gluteus_maximus_retraining.pdf.  I can’t go to step 4 yet because I still sometimes contract my hamstring first on the way up or release my gluteus maximus contraction before my hamstring on the way back down.  In my second exercise, the clam shell exercise shown here http://www.mikereinold.com/2011/04/the-hip-external-rotation-clamshell-exercise.html, I can do without much thought, but I don’t use the band yet because it starts burning pretty quickly, and it’s definitely targeting the area where I am feeling pain when running.  This isn’t something that develops overnight.  It’s apparently from a lack of my butt muscles engaging for a while which has also caused some/a lot of tightness in my hamstring as well since it’s compensating.

The good thing about today’s appt is that the PT came across much more optimistic about me getting back to running that the doctor did the other day, and it all seems to be muscular related rather than joint related.  That’s good, right?  I think so, but then again I’m not a doctor, so I guess that’s a question I should have asked.  Next week, I get dry needling done.  Can’t wait for that! ~note sarcasm

Anyway, all you runners out there, make sure you’re not a lazy a$$ runner and engage those glutes!  lol