Alright well I'm feeling pretty good about what just got treated over at proloaustin. Dr. Fullerton had me flex my back, noticed some atrophy on the left (painful) side, injected some suspected points of injury with numbing agent, and had me flex again. The difference was pretty substantial, as shown in the pictures. The pain went away and I felt the muscles in my upper back relax. Nerve blocking, as I believe it's called, is quite the diagnostic technique.
So he addressed the serratus and perhaps some of the rhomboid or lower trap. What he treated was very substantial, and it felt like this is what is is causing the remaining discomfort I'm feeling. I don't know if I'll need a second treatment of this area, but this area definitely needed to be treated, so I feel good about that.
With the hip, I showed Dr. Fullerton the exercise that I performed that caused all the damage to my hip. That proved to be really helpful, and so he wanted to check out my hip flexors. The psoas actually seemed to be in good shape, but the iliacus was a different story. He also found some lingering damage with the rectus femoris. I think the iliacus was the last piece of the puzzle as well.
I feel really good, feel really hopeful right now.
Friday, November 25, 2016
So just checking in on how I'm recovering from getting my serratus and iliacus treated with PRP injections
First, I'd like to say that I'm changing up the format of my vlog here. I started out recording this as like the "torn labrum" chronicles, but as I've progressed I've found that the torn labrum in my shoulder was just one, kind of small, piece of the pain puzzle. So now I'm focusing more on just how a PRP treatment affects me in one specific area.
For example, I've come to realize that Dr. Fullerton works best when he knows what action causes pain. If I tell him "It hurts when I do X" it is much, much, more helpful than saying "It hurts here all the time"
Realizing this, I went in to the last treatment saying it hurts when I do overhand lat pull downs, especially wide grip. This led to him having me flex, where he saw some asymmetries. Here's a pic of me flexing. Then he numbed out the serratus in certain areas with injections of lidocaine and had me flex again. Here's a pic of that. There was a pretty big difference in appearance, and the pain went away when he administered the numbing agent. This technique is called nerve blocking, I believe.
So with this info he did the PRP injections in my back in those places. Low and behold, when I went got back into the gym and tried overhand lat pull downs, they no longer hurt. I'm also noticing improvement with my overhead press being more symmetrical. I also just feel better in general. Like I'm in less pain.
My point with all of this is that the treatment was a success in treating the issue that I presented to Dr. Fullerton. However, it seems like there are still some more underlying issues, as I'm still in pain some all the time, just less so. The motion that really sets me off is pulling my scapula down, which is what I'm going to present to Dr. Fullerton for next time.
After getting a PRP treatment my body is usually really tight, the muscles respond to the trauma by forming these big knots/adhesions. These are painful, so I try to get them treated with soft tissue work. I've tried dry needling, which has proven pretty helpful, but I'm still left a bit unsatisfied with my PT. So I try other modalities. Like I have seen a chiropractor, and that was really helpful once because they found a rib out of joint and when they put that back in there was substantial pain relief.
The latest modality I'm trying is rolfing. She came recommended by my sprinting coach, so I figured she was legit. She was definitely legit. She just looked at me and with a glance was like "ok your serratus needs to be worked on". She knew all the problems with my upper body were on my left side. And boy did she find things. Apparently my neck is "special" and she tried very hard to get my sternocleidomastoid to release but wasn't able to get it to release completely. So she recommended that I see an acupuncturist, as the mastoid/neck muscles tend to respond really well to that kind of treatment.
So I went and had that done, and the acupuncturist also did some cupping, and when he placed the cup on my mastoid it provided the most relief I have felt in some time. The day of and the day following I was completely pain free, it was amazing. Sadly some of the pain has come back, but not completely. So progress is being made, and I'm happy with that.
So with regards to the upper back/neck, I feel like there still might be something going on in the front, something that may be causing my sternocleidomastoid muscle to tighten up. Dr. Fullerton has found damage in the first and second rib as well as the sternoclavicular joint, so perhaps something is still lingering there. The rolfer found some issues with my pec minor and with the levator muscles on my front side. Maybe this is all in response to the issue that I have in my back, but perhaps not. This is the frustrating thing, I can't be sure what's the cause and what's the effect. But I will document my symptoms here.
With regards to the hip, I definitely feel better in some regards, my feet now line up symmetrically, and I no longer have that pain in my hip when I go to raise my leg in walking (which was the pain I described to Dr. Fullerton). So I think the iliacus was the culprit with some of the pain in my hip.
However, I tried doing windshield wipers the other day and the rotation sent a huge, HUGE, shock of pain through my side. So whatever muscles are used with that motion, there's something really wrong with that. Perhaps my obliques? I don't know, I'll take it up with Dr. Fullerton when I see him next.
So there we have it. Dr. Fullerton successfully treated all the symptoms that I told him was going on. It just turns out that there are other things/motions that caused pain as well.
Monday, August 22, 2016
So I feel like I'm near the end of my pain/prp journey. I know I've felt this way for, like, years now, but I really do feel that I'm nearing the end. ...In the beginning, after a treatment it felt like I had a new body, it was behaving so differently that I had to spend a lot of time figuring out how to use it. Now, it's starting to feel like I'm just no longer in pain in that particular area.
For example, after Dr. Fullerton addressed my glute med, I now squat with a symmetrical stance. It used to be my feet were always staggered a little, now my feet are both underneath me. But that's it. It doesn't feel like things are working completely differently, when I resumed squatting it didn't feel like all kinds of muscles were being used differently. I didn't get random DOMS in odd muscles. Now things just work better and I'm in less pain.
Pretty much the same story with my shoulder. I can now keep my scapula retracted while pressing, and I'm in less pain, but it's not like my tricep or pec minor is suddenly working differently.
If Dr. Fullerton were to retire and I couldn't see him again, I would be disappointed but I wouldn't feel doomed. The pain that I have in my shoulder is very manageable, though the pain in my hip does flare up from time to time.
For my hip, the location seems to point to the psoas. When I read the symptoms of an injured psoas, my symptoms check off pretty much the entire list. I have some nebulous groin pain, I have pain in my lower back, it takes some effort to stand upright, and the knee on the opposite side doesn't feel like it's working right.
For my shoulder, things are less clear. My upper trap and posterior scalene are tight a lot of the times, as well as my infraspinatus. But if I were a betting man I would say they are responding to issues lower down my back. Like the intercostals or my lat or both. Whenever the chiro works those muscles I feel like it's addressing the cause of everything. We will see when I see Dr. Fullerton again.
Now that I have normal testosterone levels, I'm really seeing gains in the gym. I've lost about 20 pounds over the past two months, and all my track times are going down (as you would expect with being lighter) and my strength seems to still be going up. So things are really awesome right now. I don't want to mess with this by taking a month off again, but this nagging hip/psoas pain is starting to get to the point where I think it will be worth it. I think once pool/track season is at an end I'll get my (hopefully) last treatment from Dr. Fullerton. Feel like a broken record saying that.
So that's where I stand: I'm in a good place, but I feel like I'm *this* close to being 100%, and that excites and scares me a bit.
Monday, May 9, 2016
Alright well went had had my trap treated. Like every other time I've had a treatment, I hope this is the last one. ...I imagine it really could be because a 40% trap tear HAS to be the main source of my pain/discomfort. I should also say that Dr. Fullerton treated my first and second rib, and that has helped with the discomfort I have in my neck. Here's the vid of me actually getting the treatment, very nice of Dr. Fullerton to let me record it.
Friday, September 11, 2015
So I just got back from seeing Dr. Fullerton. I saw him simply for diagnostic purposes, because I felt like he was a bit rushed in diagnosing and treating whatever he found, all in one session. So I thought to see him to just figure out what is wrong, and come up with a game plan from there. He checked out my shoulder, especially my upper back, and he found that I have torn my trap muscle, in the mid-back area. This is probably the main source of the pain I’m currently experiencing. He also checked out the shoulder capsule and the infraspinatus (a muscle that gets needled regularly). If he found anything he didn’t comment on it, but he was mostly excited about finding the tear in the trap. I think he was excited because he found it using techniques with the ultrasound that he had learned about earlier this year. Secondly, I think he was impressed at the extent of the damage. The tear wasn’t just in the tendon/ligament, it was in the actual muscle belly as well.
He also checked out my hip. While it is so much better than prior his treatments, it still bothers me to raise my right leg to my knee. He found some damage to the tendon that the adductor magnus attaches to, as well as some damage to where that particular tendon continues on up to the abdominal rectus. Hopefully the next treatment I get will be my last for that. …Story of my life right?
I’m not as hopeful that the next treatment for my shoulder/trap will be my last, mostly because I fear there is something going on in the front of the AC joint as well. Dr. Fullerton is only really able to address one thing at a time, so I understand his focus on the back. I just worry that I will need yet another treatment after this.
Because of the timing of things, I don’t expect to see him again until around January. I need to get some other things in order before I go see him again. But I have hope still; I think I can actually beat this.
Monday, March 30, 2015
Well, hopefully these next few months will be my last series of posts dealing with hip pain. I think I’ve finally resolved the last piece of the puzzle, at least concerning my right hip. I saw Dr. Fullerton this past Friday, and having been tired of him addressing my shoulder and then running out of time to address my hip, I decided to make this appointment all about the hip. He went through the notes from past visits, and asked to see my side lunge.
The side lunge is a stretch that I can do very easily with my left hip, but not so easily with my right side. I can’t do it on the right side because my groin is too tight, nor is it easy to balance. So after seeing the imbalance with the stretching, he then did some injections around my inguinal crease (some of the damage was underneath my femoral artery/nerve) and then had me try it again. This time I could do it a lot better because my groin wasn’t tight, but I still couldn’t balance like I could on my left side. He then performed some injections on the more outer part of my hip, and then this time when I tried it I could stretch my right leg just like my left leg.
It was ridiculous how easy it was to perform that stretch on my right side. I remember showing the asymetry to a PT and he was like “well maybe over the years your hip has adapted to various pathologies and now, that’s just how it works.” He made it sound like it was permanent and couldn’t be fixed. Well, it can be fixed, and Dr. Fullerton fixed it. It’s been a few days since seeing Dr. Fullerton, and my hip has clicked a couple of times with very slight movement, like shifting weight in bed. Of course I worry that I’m doing something to make the hip out of socket, but perhaps it’s always been out of whack that and now for the first time it’s starting to behave properly. I am also noticing some muscles surrounding my LEFT knee are spasming. I’ve noticed that when I get one muscle treated, if it’s been affecting another muscle, that other muscle will start spasming as it releases. So perhaps my right hip has been affecting my left knee. Pretty cool stuff.
Once I’m allowed back into resistance training, I’m planning on doing some pilates and yoga to work on these muscles. I imagine with a healed hip the movements will be much easier to perform. They say to help deal with injuries you need to work on core strength, but what happens when it’s your core that is injured? Anyways, I am looking forward to testing it out and will report back on how it handles. I’m not posting a video about this because my vlog is more about my shoulder recovery than dealing with my hips.
In a couple of days I will see Dr. Fullerton yet again for him to treat my shoulder, so I'll report back with that.
So it’s been about two weeks of resistance training after my fifth prolotherapy treatment. As I predicted, at the two week mark I started to get all of my old pains back. And, as I predicted, after that I started to get back to feeling better. As of right now, there are days where I don’t even notice any pain in my back area, and there are some days where I feel the need to try to roll out some knots.
I also think I’m starting to realize that the discomfort I’m feeling is stemming from the issues in the front of my shoulder. I realize that most of the discomfort I’m feeling is from tight neck muscles in the front of my shoulder, like the scalene and the sternocleidomastoid. So for the next session I hope for him to check that out and make sure everything is fine. I remember one session where he poked the front of my shoulder and it hurt a lot, and it made him go “Hmmm” but he didn’t do anything about it because he decided to address the damage to the back first. Perhaps it is time for him to try that again and see what happens. Wouldn’t surprise me if there was something wrong with the front of my shoulder too. Sigh.
Did a little bit of the phase one stuff, and nothing felt… rusty. Every movement came pretty easily. I still did real light weight and in slow, controlled movements. After all of that I then did a little bit of Indian clubs. I worked with the two pounders and there was one motion that stretched my shoulder and it felt… significant. It kind of hurt, but it was the pain that I’ve associated with adhesions tearing, and not injury pain. As soon as I stopped clubbing I felt fine.
It still doesn’t feel quite right in my left side when I try to pull down my shoulder blade, but perhaps that’s because it’s playing tug of war with my shoulder, it’s hard to tell.
I saw my PT that does dry needling, and he found a huge knot in my pec, probably from the trauma of the prp injection.
I really haven’t been able to push myself with heavy weights yet because I was in an accident and right now my car is in a shop. I can’t get to a gym so I’ve been using the apartment’s fitness center but they don’t even have a barbell so I’m kind of stuck. I’m hoping to get a temporary gym membership down the street but we will see.
I am able to do thinks like Dumbbell squats, and I have to say my core feels a lot more stable now on the left side. I used to feel kind of… wobbly. I also feel like I have more control over my shoulder blade, even if I keep finding myself with a forward-oriented shoulder.
…It’s been over a year now of seeing Dr. Fullerton, and I thought after a year I would just stop and give up. But because I keep feeling better each time, I keep seeing improvement, I don’t want to stop. Instead, I’m excited to see how much better I will feel after the next treatment. I’m sure I’m coming off a little strangely with this, but I’ve always been one to take care of things: My car, my chief knives, my butcher’s block, etc. But the most basic thing to take care of is my body, and it seems that I didn't do a good job of that earlier in life. Now that I'm a little wiser, I want to be pain free. I want my body to work the way it was intended to work.