Monday, August 19, 2013

Ian's Rehab Summer of 2013

So I had some plans for this summer. Train, train, train and then run a marathon. I had no plans to race, just train. But sadly my hip had other plans. Seems my stellar early racing season pushed my limits just a little too much, and I didn't head my own advice and rest enough to deal with the stress of racing.

I had hoped that some rest after my early racing season would be enough. Then I hoped I could solve things myself by working out the main causes of the problem. That again, sort of helped (see last post) but not enough. Then I hoped that massage and Active Release therapy would fix things. And while they did help immensely, I needed a little extra help getting to the route of my hip problem.

So off to Physio for Ian. I went to see Anita Connors, whom I had met while training in the RE:201 running program earlier this year. At that point she and her husband had located some of my weaknesses and given me exercises. I did them, though probably not enough and as happens to many people, I let them slide away as the season went on.

A new thorough exam and we came up with a plan of attack. The constant pounding of the mileage I did this Spring coupled with a hip imbalance finally led to internal bruising and super tight muscles in my glutes. Rest and exercises would do the trick, but we could certainly speed things up with some fancy physio equipment as well.

What can one expect doing physiotherapy? Well of course it all depends on what the injury is and how well you respond to treatment. But I will explain my therapy so that you can get an idea of what you might expect, realizing also that you can decline any part of a treatment if you feel uncomfortable or skeptical.

After a full exam we started with a series of small exercises. These were to address some of the rotational issues I was having. We also did some physical manipulation of the muscles (which I had been doing with my chiropractor as well). Some stretches are rather difficult to do by yourself, especially ones that need to be held for longer periods of time and or need to be progressive in how much effort you put into them. These exercises were generally done after some from of heat treatment to get the muscles more able to accept the stretch.

I would also do these exercises at home and as the sessions progressed I was given more exercises to deal with the growing strength I was developing. These included single leg squats which morphed into up and overs, 2 legged squats with an exercise band, hip abductor side leg raises, crouched side walks, and side planks.

Now all of those can easily be done at home and I did that, but it does help to know when it is time to start each exercise and when I did these exercises in front of Anita or a staff member they could critique (very handy) and they could also add in a muscle stim device to get better results.

Now what else did I learn? Swelling is a sign that too much blood is getting to an area to deal with damage. More blood is a good thing, until too much gets in and basically gives you too much of a good thing. So getting the swelling down and getting good blood flow restored is a must. Ibuprofen will help, but should be limited in its use. So at physio we use heat a lot and there are different ways to get that heat in. First we started with hot/damp heat from heat pads, then we progressed to short wave, which send short wave radiation (like radio waves) deep into the muscle and man does that heat up. In the early sessions we also used ultra sound which I was told would help reduce swelling as well. This was eliminated in future sessions when it was apparent that the deep swelling was done.

I ended each session with acupuncture, which is really quite harmless if done by a trained professional, but completely conditional if you are truly needle phobic. Acupuncture may help in the reduction of swelling and inflammation, it may increase nerve action in areas where muscles aren't firing correctly or it may do nothing. The rest of the treatment certainly was helping and all  the needles cost me were an extra 15 minutes. Plus they were cool, so I did it.

During the process I also continued to ride my bike and take strength classes with Jeff Zahavich at his new gym, Kinesic Sports Lab. I also would run once a week. Before treatment each run would end with a sore hip. Now I was running a little further each time until this last weekend when I ran a pain free 18 km's.

So my marathon plan is shot for this year and that is okay. I wasn't ready for it obviously. Another half in its place? Yup, though no way near ready for a personal best run, just a nice day out in Iceland.

Got a problem running, biking or doing another physical activity? Don't think it is the end, so many issues are just simple fixes (sure they might take a bit of time) and you can be back to training again. And don't train or fight through pain, just see someone.