Wednesday, December 31, 2014

11 days out from my fifth Prolotherapy treatment

It's not yet two weeks out from the fifth treatment, but I'm really feeling better. I think a lot of the discomfort I was experiencing was stemming from the damage to my rib cage.  It's also pretty amazing how much my shoulder has changed after just one treatment to the shoulder capsule.

I don't know why, but Dr. Fullerton kind of ignored the shoulder capsule this time, even though I was pretty certain I could use another treatment.  He asked of I could hold a plank now, and I said something like, "Maybe??"  I didn't really know how to respond because I haven't tried doing a plank/push up since the last treatment.  ...I now realize that I should've simply said that, but for some reason I felt nervous and just didn't know what to say.

I'm still pretty impressed with how much more I can decompress my left ear now.  It's pretty much identical to the right ear.  Also I haven't felt as near as much need now to try to crack my neck, so that is obviously a good thing.

I still feel the need to try to roll out some areas in my upper back, like where the upper trap attaches to the shoulder blade, I think?   One of the hardest things about this whole process is that because it's my back, I can't easily point to it.  Like I can only approximate the location.  I think next time I will have to roll out and then turn around and show him where my skin is red.

I've really been tempted to go early this January and get a treatment just for my hips, but I think I will probably just wait it out for the next time.  ...if my shoulder/back is still giving my trouble I will book two sessions a week apart, and go from there.  So I guess I'm betting that I will need a sixth treatment on my back.  ...That's kind of sad, but I keep getting so much better after each session.

We will see;  we will see.

Fifth Prolotherapy treatment.

Sorry y'all for not having been more active, my laptop has been down for a month and I really didn't feel comfortable using my work computer to upload blog posts (government security and all).  Anyways, it's back and so am I.  Here's the vid I took right after my fifth treatment.  We had a major breakthrough in that it seems my ribs were "looking pretty rough" under the ultrasound.  When I had the injection at my chest it felt like a huge pressure/weight had been lifted. It was a type of pain I didn't even know was there because I was simply so used to it.

Anyways, here's the vid:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Two weeks out from Fourth Prolotherapy Session.

Concerning the shoulder/backI'm still pretty weak/sore in the shoulder. Like grabbing and holding onto a soup can doesn't feel good.  It's weird how much it's affecting me. Like I rolled over onto this shoulder in my sleep and the pain woke me up.

I'm halfway there to re-starting weight lifting. Going to do rehab (phase 1) until it doesn't hurt anymore, then doing phase 2 until I feel good with that, then on to sprinting and lots of Pilates Barre method classes. I know I know, a dude doing pilates and barre. But they seem like a really good solution to working my core in the correct manner, and will help me get proper mechanics down.

Once symptom of the laberal tear is my shoulder gets reall tired with constant pressure. Like if I try to hold a plank or a downward dog it really wears out quickly.  So I'm really looking forward to see if I improve in that area.

I'm really interested in seeing how this past session changes things. I think he really got the remaining muscles that were bothering me, especially my serratus.  I'm really looking forward to trying out deadlifting again. I've never done deadlifts without hurting my back, so if this works it will be pretty damn amazing.

I just really hope that my back is done, that I can move on. I accept that the pit in my shoulder capsule may need a few more treatments, but as far as the muscles go I really hope everything is set.  I just wish the Doc had started treating the tear in my labrum, the pit in my capsule, sooner.  It still makes me pretty mad that he hadn't addressed it until now. Hopefully I can get some pity points and he'll do it for free while he works on my hip. 

Speaking of my hip, I'm definitely feeling different. Although it's hard to tell if it is the PRP because four days after seeing Dr. Fullerton I had a varicose vein removed in the same leg.  Well, not removed, but burned shut with a laser that was placed inside the vein.  While my body reabsorbs the burned up vein, I'm experiencing a lot of pain in my groin, not unlike what I was feeling before I started up dry needling.

I do find though that bringing my knee up doesn't hurt like it used to. I am now realizing how much I used to brace myself for pain while bringing my knee up, say to cross my right leg over my left.  It will be interesting to see how squatting will feel.   Can't wait really.

So I'm only two weeks away from being able to try out my new body, albeit I will have to approach things conservatively.  Still, there is a possibility that I won't need another treatment. The pit in the capsule could be completely healed, and it could be that the tissue in my hip Dr. Fullerton addressed is really all I needed. If that turns out the be the case, I will be overjoyed. Of course, if I need a fifth treatment I really won't be mad because I have been experiencing such progress over these past nine months.

As I read what I just wrote I see so much hope and excitement for what's to come. I can't help but think about how I've been excited for what's to come for years now. Heck back in '09 I was pumped because I just needed to figure out the pain in my shoulder and hip and I was good to go.  I wonder if this is normal, or if I am just really, really strange.  I guess I have to be constantly optimistic, otherwise I would just get beat down and wouldn't be able to keep going forward. Yes it's been a long journey, and yes I always think that I'm just one step away from being completely healed, but I figure as long as I keep getting better then I'm doing something right.

And I am getting better all the time. Every step I've taken has made me feel better. I guess my body only allows me to feel as certain level of pain, and as I fix one thing or another I realize how much pain I was actually in.  I am still surprised that I had so much wrong going on with my back and I was still able to crossfit.  Or even walk, for that matter.

For the first time, when I left Dr. Fullerton's office two weeks ago my neck/ear felt completely normal.  This is obviously a good sign. I just hope I don't need a second treatment for the shoulder capsule.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Day after Fourth Prolotherapy Treatment

I have to say I had no idea so much was wrong with me. Everything that Dr. Fullerton treats is getting way better, it's just there so much stuff that he can't treat it all at once. Each session takes like four hours of him probing around with the ultrasound wand, figuring out precisely what to address. Every time I see him and he's working on me he comments that he should use the ultrasounds he's taking for an upcoming presentation. Yesterday I finally asked him why he always says that. He replied that because of my musculature, the damage is really easy to see on the monitor. So that was a nice stroke of the ego. This time he looked at my back again, but for the first time he looked at and addressed my right hip.

What was found

Where do I begin? There was some damage going on with the lateral part of the QL, and there was also some damage to where the serratus meets up with the lat. That part seemed to be really the last part of my back that hasn't been addressed. I also talked to him about how holding a plank or downward dog
The (hopefully) final
few areas that were addressed
hurts my shoulder, and how maybe that was due to the labrum tear? He looked at the shoulder again, and despite the fact that he didn't find anything the first time this time he found some debris and a pit in the capsule. So it looks like I'm actually going to get that tear in my labrum repaired as well.

He took a look at my right hip and found some damage up in the high quad/pectineus area.

When he administered the injections to pretty much every area, that body part responded by twitching like I was going into a gand mal seizure. Concering prolo, the twitch seems to signify that there was damage in that area. The more the twitch, the more that muscle/ligiment/tendon whatever needed help. So it seems that all these new spots that we addressed today were really needing help. So I'm hoping to continue to see great improvements over these next few months.


The pain right now isn't that great. I feel like I have some pressure in my back, like a hot water bottle is lodged underneath my shoulder blade. Uncomfortable, but not painful. I am really limiting the use of my right arm though. I find myself lowering my head to meet my hand when I shampoo my hair. I was walking the dog and pulled the lease with my left hand and I felt a sharp pain somewhere in my back. It kind of felt like an adhesion breaking up but I found it to be really unsettling so I am trying to use my left arm as little as possible right now.
My leg feels pretty good right now, the day of I was walking with a limp but now I think I can walk alright, even take on stairs without too much of an issue. 

Mental fortitude

I'm 9 months into this treatment and I have to admit that taking this upcoming month off is going to be frustrating. I was just starting to get some real strength back and I was also making some important strides with my technique in sprinting (get it?). I hope I won't lose too much strength/muscle memory when I get back into the mix, but I don't like being on the sidelines.
Hope this is the last time he will treat my back, but if it isn't I'm not going to be mad because I am making so much progress. Now that my body is becoming hale again, I think I'm going to look into some kind of soft tissue treatment. Like I might go back to a DO that does manipulation, or find a massage therapist. I'm not really too convinced that the rolfer I saw is the answer, because he treatments were so temporary. Of course, perhaps things will be different now. Who knows.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Excited for treatment of my hips.

Something I haven’t really talked about on this blog is my left hip. My right hip is the one that has gotten all the attention. It’s the one that had the torn labrum, it’s the one that seems to have some ligament damage. It’s the one that got PRP from Dr. Hauser. But it was my left hip that kept failing the ober’s test while passing the Thomas test, indicating the femur was hanging out in the front part of the hip socket (not a good thing).

Dr. Fullerton discovered a pit in the left hip capsule. He said it was in a very strange spot, in the front, right where the rectus femoris inserts into the capsule.  A hole right there would make sense. That would give the femur space to move out into the front of the socket.  As Dr. Fullerton has treated the pit, I’ve noticed a couple of things.  First, when I do lunges my left hamstring and glute feel much more… stretched and involved.  It definitely feels like the femur is sitting farther back in the hip.  Secondly, and this is exciting to me, when I squat I no longer have knee pain while doing it.  When I front squat I would always feel a little bit of pain in my knees when I hit depth. Now I no longer feel any pain in my left knee!!! It’s pretty amazing.

I would hazard a guess as to the source of knee pain in my right knee. I think because of the ligament damage in the hip my adductors are pretty tight, including the adductor, longus, magnus, and gracilis.  I can see these muscles pulling my kneecap in a little bit, altering the mechanics just enough that it puts some time of unpleasant force on my knee.  I’m willing to bet that once the ligament damage is fixed, the knee pain will go away as well.

The thought is very exciting, and to be honest I can’t wait for the end of August to arrive!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Why I couldn't deadlift much weight.

About three years ago my Oly coach noticed the musculature of my back and commented that it was indicative of using the middle of my back as the fulcrum, not the hips.  This is one reason why I can’t seem to deadlift more than 225 without my back hurting for the rest of the day.  I’ve tried, desperately, over the years to fix this. I’ve been working on core strength, making sure I keep a rigid spine when I lift, and yet things fall apart when the deadlifting starts to get heavy, no matter what.

As I’m getting my back fixed, it’s starting to become apparent as to why that’s the case.  Dr. Fullerton addressed my left QL, and now that it is starting to work properly it is taxing my spinal erectors even more, and they are not happy about it.  I think perhaps they are tight and painful because they are damaged, just like pretty much every other muscle in my back.  I am amazed at how many layers of damage my body has.  One muscle gets fixed, and that makes the others act up.

It’s also an interesting sensation because the pain is becoming more accurate.  As opposed to this blob of pain in my lower and upper back, I now feel my infraspinatus being tight and painful, as well as my spinal erectors.  I mean, I can’t even do more than 30# kettlebell straight-legged deadlifts without setting off my back right now, so deadlifting is out of the question.

Fortunately, I’m sprinting and that (if done properly) will work the hammies and glutes.  I’m also front squatting to work on my quads more and give my posterior chain a bit of a break from the sprinting. Speaking of squats, I can feel my QL/erectors wanting to give out on me when I near depth on the squat. I always could feel my core trying to unravel at that point, but now I have a more direct sensation as to what’s going on.  It’s like I’m seeing my body with a finer resolution.  Hopefully this will all go away with another treatment, and I’m praying that my infraspinatus is just damaged and it’s not the labrum tear that’s causing the infraspinatus to act up. Almost one more month until I can find out. Yay?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Six Weeks out After Third Prolo Treatment

Well it's been six weeks since my third prolo treatment.  I have again been seeing a lot of results/improvements.  When I try to decompress my ears, it actually works on both sides! This has been a huge annoyance and I'm really happy this is no longer the case.

When I used to overhead press, I would feel one of my muscles snap over the other. It was super uncomfortable, and it told me that they were really tight and there wasn't anything I could do about it. No matter how much I foam rolled I couldn't get the knots to release.  Now there aren't as near as many knots.

I also used to crack my neck all the time, and really only on one side. It was the only thing I could do to get some relief (I've been told cracking will sometimes cause loss of muscle tone, which makes sense since that was the only way I could get the muscles to relax a little).

I also no longer have pain in my back/side, the lateral part of my QL. And I still feel muscles in my back working in ways they are not used to. They are starting to work correctly, I can tell because it's getting easier to keep my abs/core tight when I run, stand, lift, whatever.

So a week after that second dry needling session I went back (I mean, a visit is only $25 with my insurance plan) and told him how it tightened back up only after like six hours of relief. I also informed him about some pain in my mid-lower back, like right underneath the rib cage next to my spine.  I chalk this up as the result of becoming more active.  Concerning the infraspinatus, he tried addressing not just the muscle, but the nerves that control the muscle.  This was done by sticking needles in both the muscle and around my spine (c5 joint).  He left them in there, and then had some electrical pulses go through them. the idea is to address and calm down the nerves telling the muscle to fire.  Afterwards I felt.... different, and in a good way. It was much more subtle than when he addresses adhesions. But in this case it doesn't seem like I have adhesions, here I have a muscle that is too tight all around.

While he left the needles in my neck/shoulder, he then addressed the adhesions in my lower back. Dear Lord those were sensitive, and when he was done I felt so much better, I hadn't even realized how much discomfort they were causing.

I decided to do some Pilates that day, and that may have been a mistake. Afterwards my lower back started tightening up. My shoulder didn't feel worse, but I think I pushed it too hard with my back.

Fast forward another week and I'm at the fourth visit for dry needling.  I get the same thing done to my shoulder/neck, and then he addresses my lower back.  Holy hell did that hurt!!!!  Once when he poked me he "Gah!" type sound in surprise as my spinal erectors freaked out.  It was probably the most intense session I've had yet, and that is including the times they kept bending the needle in my groin because the muscles were so tight.

So yeah, here I am today. I've definitely made some gains in healing, but now as some muscles start working again it's revealing that other muscles are not healthy either.  It kind of feels like whack-a-mole: every time you nail one thing two others pop up.

So all kinds of muscles in my back/shoulder are feeling better, but right now my infraspinatus and some spinal erectors are clearly not right.  I imagine the spinal erectors will be an easy fix for Dr. Fullerton when I see him in a little over a month.  However, I'm concerned about the infraspinatus.  I think Dr. Fullerton has already addressed this muscle. And if it proves to be sound underneath the ultrasound then this might portend further damage that needs to be addressed.  My fear is that the instability in my shoulder joint caused by the tear in the labrum is causing my infraspinatus and tricep to tighten up in order to protect the joint.

If this is the case I'm going to be pissed.  Like, really mad.  The torn labrum is the whole reason why I started going to Dr. Fullerton, and he decided that my issue is not really the labrum but all the damage to the muscles around the shoulder.  If I do have to have the labrum treated this means I will have to pay for maybe three more sessions. Not only that, it means I will have to continue this cycle of two months on, one month off for perhaps six months, even more.

I just pray to God that the problem stems from the muscle being damaged, not the labrum.

Concerning the whole one month off, two months on thing, I think this time I was a little too aggressive in coming back.  I only did like three days of rehab before coming back to sprinting, and I don't think my body was ready for it.  I think I'll wait at least a week of doing phase 2 type stuff until I go back to sprinting.  So that means I'll only get like 7 weeks of sprinting every three months, and that makes me sad. But again if this is what I have to do then I'll do it.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself once I'm pain free.  I've made this journey such a part of my life, such a part of my self-identity, that I'm not sure what'll I'll turn to next after this whole mess is cleaned up.  I realize I might be worrying about nothing, that I'll always be dealing with this, but I wonder what I'll do when I will suddenly have so much more free time and money to spend.  Also, I'm really interested in what it will be to exercise with a body that is working correctly. How will it feel to deadlift with my spinal erectors working correctly? How will it feel to overhead press without pain in my shoulder/back?  How will it feel to be able to raise my right knee without discomfort?  I'm excited to find out.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

So Freaking Close

So after this third treatment of my back muscles things are feeling really good.  A couple of days after the treatment I got my back dry needled to address the adhesions that happen in response to the prolo injections.  That really helped but I still felt something not right, so a week later I scheduled another dry needling appointment and told the PT that I still felt knots in my back, right on the inside of the shoulder blade.  He checked it out and found out that the knots were in my rhomboids. ...I thought this is wasn't news, that I always thought my rhomboid needed to be addressed.  Apparently this was new to the PT because the rhomboid is almost never the culprit for knots in that area.  Doctors will often see that the pain is in that area and say "oh hey, strained rhomboid", when in fact is the upper trap almost all the time.

So yet again my issues are more unique/rare. And this is yet another example of don't just take what the expert gives you. You need to stand up and say "No, I don't think the problem has been solved" and still advocate for yourself.  If I hadn't spoken up I would still have knots in my rhomboid.

So having the rhomboid released, when I walked away from PT office I was feeling amazing, I had no pain in my back at all.  When I swallowed, my left ear decompressed like the right one.  It was so satisfying. It was like an itch had finally been scratched.

But later that night, I felt another muscle spaz and freak out.  It was a muscles that came down diagonally from my shoulder to my spine.  The next morning I was feeling almost the same.  I still could decompress my left ear like my right, but when I tried rolling around on the lacrosse ball I found some knots that would not release no matter what I did.

So one week later I saw the PT again, and when I gestured which muscle I felt tighten up he said that was pretty much exactly where the infraspinatus is and he checked that out in addition to all the other muscles around there.  When he stabbed the infraspinatus omg it was soooo tight.  Getting up off the table I had a real hard time using my arm at all, it was that affected.  Again though, it felt amazing in that my back was no longer in pain.

Now, as I write this, it's been one day since that session and my infraspinatus has already tightened back up.  The only other time I've had a muscle tighten back up this quickly was my psoas when I had the tear in my labrum.  I've been told I have a tear in my shoulder's labrum, so if this is the case I'm going to be pissed.

Why would I be pissed? I'd be pissed because a torn labrum is the whole reason I went to see Dr. Fullerton in the first place.  When I asked him about it he said it didn't seem to be an issue, that all the fraying in the muscles in my back seemed to be the issue.  Well, the infraspinatus proves to be structurally sound then I'm going to give him hell for not addressing it earlier.  I know I was giving myself by the end of this year to be patient with the treatment, but damnit I'm tired of taking these months off of my training.

Speaking of training, I get to go back to resistance training/sprinting in two days, and I'm super excited.  I will be doing like 3 days of the rehab and then it's back to squatting and benching with some sprinting mixed in.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pictures of Progress

So after every treatment with Dr. Fullerton I take a picture of my back with all the band-aids on it.  I do this for fun, but after looking at the three I see that each treatment has, in fact, addressed a different part of my back.  I am sure there are a few places that the band-aids missed, but I do think it's interesting to document the peeling back the layers of dysfunction that is my back.
January, April, and June

On another note the acute inflammation has died down a bit, so I suddenly feel like I've regressed in healing.  I know this happens every single time, but I really do seem to psych myself out when those old twinges come back, even if it's the slightest bit.  Just have to ride out this "prolocoaster" and in another three weeks I'll be back to exercising like I want to.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Day after Third Prolo treatment for Back/Shoulder

So this is the third treatment of my shoulder/back muscles by Dr. Fullerton. It seems that normally people’s issues are fixed after only just the first treatment so the fact that I’ve had three treatments makes me a bit of a rarity (something I already knew).  I can see why it usually takes two treatments max because everything that he has addressed is so much better than it was before.  The thing is, I have so much wrong with me that he can’t get it all in one session.  I don’t think this is lack of ability on Doc’s part, it’s just we are peeling back layers of issues and I happen to have a Goddamn lot of layers.
Each band-aid covers at
least two needle marks.

He addressed a lot of my QL, the one that made me think I had a kidney infection.  At one point when he was injecting me the area started spasming/twitching.  This is, it seems, is a sign that whatever he’s working on is really needing it.  So hopefully all of the issues with my lower back have been addressed.

He also felt around my upper back and worked on the rhomboids and upper trap area, to name a few places.  I believe some of the injections were directed to the inferior part, beneath the shoulder blade.  As with the lower back, I really hope that he’s done with the upper back as well.

Because most people don’t need a third treatment, they didn’t set out a huge block of time with me.  I told them that might be a mistake when we were scheduling it but they said don’t worry.  Well I’m a little peeved because I was really hoping they could address my hip as well.  Even though Dr. Fullerton was not able to address my right hip, I asked him to at least check it out with the ultrasound and come up with a diagnosis.  That, he obliged me with (and I thank him for that, this was at 7:30pm the day before he was travelling to Greece for vacay).

He checked it out, and pretty quickly came up with a diagnosis: I had some damage to a ligament or tendon right next to my femoral artery and femoral nerve in the inguinal crease.  He looked a little perplexed when he was checking it out, but that could be the face he normally makes when he’s checking something out for the first time (every other time I’ve been face down on the table so I’ve never seen this.)  Right now I really can’t remember the name of the tissue that is damaged. Right now I’m going with the iliolumbar ligament, though when the office responds for my request for info I’ll edit this post accordingly.

He asked me if I was having problems raising my leg, and I told him there was this drill in sprinting class where we have to lift our leg back and forth over a hurdle, and while I was solid as a rock on my left leg my right leg is super wobbly.  He said that’s probably the problem then.

While it’s nice that I now know what the issue is, I’m kind of wondering what to do about it now. Ideally, I would have had the injections performed and I would be back to working out in a month.  But now I have two choices. I can either wait three months from now and get it done and then take another month off, or I can try to get the hip treated ASAP and then end up taking like seven weeks off (his next available is like three weeks from now).

I’m think of holding off. To be honest my hip doesn’t really bother that much anymore now that I have the dry needling, and I am just starting to make friends at my sprinting group. I want to be active in that group, and the idea of me taking two months off really chaps my hide.  So it looks like I will probably have to wait a little bit longer to become 100%. I’ve waited so long, what’s a couple more months right?

Saturday, May 31, 2014

11 weeks out from second prolotherapy treatment.

It’s now less than one week from getting my third treatment, so it's been 11 weeks since my second treatment, and I thought to report in. As expected, things are getting better, things that used to work one way (incorrectly) are now working another way (correctly).  For example, when I do over head press now, I don’t feel my back muscles snapping over each other.

But the more things get treated the more stuff I find wrong with me. My lower back (seemingly QL) is really off and I'm coming to realize it's a factor
In what has been going on in my hips. Having a tight QL tightens up my piraformis, and that in turn tightens everything else up.  This may explain why when I’m sitting at the bottom of a squat my left hip is higher than my right hip: the muscles are tight in response to the tight/damaged QL.  I’m really hoping that this session will fix/treat everything.

I started squatting recently, and I wasn’t too excited because usually my knees hurt some.  It’s nothing I can’t handle but I always wondered if it was normal or if it was indication that something was wrong.  Well I think it was an indication that something was wrong because this time around my left knee didn't hurt at all, it felt... natural.  Hopefully I can get this going on with both knees.

This desire has led me to have Dr. Fullerton look at my right hip as well. I thought addressing my left hip would fix the right hip, but that doesn't seem
to be the case.  I'm hoping when the doc looks at my right hip he will see an intact capsule but some frayed muscles around it, since
I spent a lot of time and money fixing the capsule with Dr Hauser up in Chicago.

However, who knows what will happen.  These are the various scenarios I envision:
Everything is fine, tight muscles are responding to other tight muscles, don’t need treatment
Capsule is fine, but there some fraying going on
I have a sports hernia
The capsule is damaged some
The capsule is damaged some and I have fraying in the surrounding muscles.

Going back to the issues with my shoulder/back. although I'm getting better and I feel like my upper back is like one treatment away from being completely fixed, I don't want to go back to being inactive. I've found a sprinting group and I really like that, and I've found a weightlifting partner and am enjoying getting back into the swing of things.  In fact, because of my weightlifting background I have been asked to teach a class on cleans/snatches for the sprinting group.  Looks like they will have to wait about a month, but I think that will be a great time for me to plan and prepare for the class.

So I’ve made all this progress, I’ve made all these friends, just to take another month off.

But if this is what it takes to get better, so be it.

However,  I really don't want to keep having these setbacks. My wife has noticed me leaning out since I've started sprinting, and I want to keep
Going, keep getting faster, stronger, and leaner.

Having said all that,  I know that if I keep going as is, I will just hurt myself further.  Prolotherapy is, for me, the path to becoming 100%.  Just need to keep focus.  My next post will probably be the day after I see Dr. Fullerton, so until next week!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Seven weeks out from second Prolo treatment for shoulder/back

So it's been slow, slow goings but I'm happy to report that I do seem to be making improvement.  I really don't feel my neck being as tight as it used to be.  I don't feel the need to try to crack my neck all the time like I used to (it was bad, like all the time).  I can also tell that my back muscles are starting to behave like they should.  It's hard to describe, but things just feel more... right.

My left QL, the one that once made me think I had a kidney infection, has been super tight since the treatment (I think the muscle responded to the trauma of the injections by tightening up), but still things feel better (especially after getting some soft tissue treatment).

I am in Chicago right now for some personal business, and it gave me the opportunity to go see Bobby my old massage therapist.  He worked on mostly my back and pecs, and at the end of the session he commented that my body seems much more unremarkable than it used to be. Muscles that used to take a really long time to release now release in a much more normal time.  It is good to hear from someone else that they are noticing a difference in how my body is acting, and one for the better.

When I do DB rows, I can feel the very bottom of my lat freaking out over trying to work.  I've noticed that my back is fairly asymmetrical, especially in my lats.  My left side just isn't as developed, and I think that has been because the injuries have been causing improper mechanics.  Now that I'm starting to be able to use my back in a proper way, the lower part of my lat is really getting a work out. I think it's pretty awesome, further proof that things are headed in the right direction.

Things might be headed in the right direction, but I am still unsure as to whether I've fully recovered or not.  I still find myself trying to decompress my left ear and I still have pain in my lower back, so if I had to go see Dr. Fullerton today I would ask for one more treatment, but thankfully I won't have to cross that bridge for another month or so.  Until then, I will keep working out and getting stronger!

Friday, April 18, 2014

One Month after Second Prolo Treatment.

So I'm 4 weeks out from my second prolo treatment, and I feel... better.

For the first three weeks following the treatment my lower back was killing me. I figured it was just the muscles all inflamed from the treatment. I didn't really stop to think about how that's really different from what I have experienced in the past, I just accepted it.

Anyways, this week my lower back was bothering me I decided to try to foam roll it out. I found that my back was seriously tight, and once I was done rolling out the knots, I felt 100% better. It made me wish that I had done this earlier.

My point with all of this is that the source of my pain could be addressed through soft tissue work.  I think it's important for me to do soft tissue work after a prolo treatment because my muscles responds to the trauma by tightening up resulting in adhesions.

I may feel like I'm worse off the week after a treatment, but if I roll out and break up those adhesions suddenly I can feel how my body has improved for the better.

Riding out this "prolocoaster" has been wearing me down. I'm just ready to get this over with, to be pain free and to get back to lifting like I used to.

I'm also hoping that past session will be my last treatment.  I'm still doubtful, just because I still don't feel right, but the Doc seemed pretty certain I would only need 2 sessions.

I'm looking forward to lifting again this weekend. Eventually I'll test everything out and squat with full ROM, and I'll see if my hips are in alignment now. Used to be off, with the treated hip going lower than the non-treated hip. Perhaps this is from tightness in the hip rather than a sign of how the joint is moving, I'm not sure.  I would be interested to see if I can pass my Ober test now with either leg, perhaps I'll ask my PT guy when I see him next.

...Also, I'm thinking to ask the doc for a prescription of PT so my current dry needling guy can address both hips/lower back. That would be amazing.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Second Prolo Treatment for Shoulder/Back

So Yesterday was my second visit with Dr. Fullerton. When I saw him he had me perform the same functional tests as last time, but this time I was able to pass a couple of the tests! Progress has been made! I Still have a pit in my left hip capsule, and there was still a lot of work to be done on my back.

In fact, more issues were found with my back muscles than last time. I don’t know if it was crossfit or
Band-aids where I got
poked. Also, I feel like
 my back is  really
high school wrestling, but something really messed me up. Thankfully, Doc keeps searching so that’s why he keeps finding things. I am very impressed with his thoroughness. They call this the “old couch new carpet” problem. When you get new carpet (fix one issue) you suddenly notice what you once thought was a perfectly good couch (some other body part) isn’t actually all that great (there’s an issue/pain).

 After he addressed issues with my back muscles the first time others issues became apparent. I didn’t really notice the pains just standing around, but when he poked and prodded me there were definite spots of tenderness that weren’t there before. Leaving the office, I was actually feeling pretty good. I felt stiff as all get out, and I definitely didn’t feel normal, but I have felt worse. I chalk it up to taking a Tylenol 3 with codine beforehand.

 At the end I commented about how Dr. Fullerton hadn’t addressed my labrum yet, and he said that he didn’t treat my labrum last time, and wasn’t planning on doing so since it didn’t seem to be causing me issues, combined with the fact that the tech report on my MRI was a little wishy-washy. I felt a little hesitant about this, but I’m not really in the position to boss a doctor around, especially while on painkillers.

Because he addressed so many muscles/points around my spine, both lower and upper back, I feel pretty stiff while typing this. I can’t really lean over to get anything, and even standing causes some issues. Thankfully I have a wonderful wife who is helping me out while I lay on the couch with a heat pad on my back as I watch the NCAA tournament. It could be worse.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Phase Two of Rehab from Prolotherapy

8 weeks out from the first prolo treatment. I can see why Doc wanted to space these treatments out 9 weeks apart.  I'm still feeling everything... settle.  I now really don't feel any of the pain that I felt after the treatment when I hold things, and I'm still not cracking my neck like I used to, so that seems to indicate progress is being made.  I've started working on strength and range of motion.  I think, for my shoulder muscles, using the Indian Clubs is pretty much ideal. It works on strengthening and stretching at the same time, plus it's pretty fun.  In addition to using Indian clubs (I use them as a warm up) I am now doing an upper body day and a lower body day, here's the program:

Upper Body (A)
DB Bench press (5 X 10)
Lat pulls (5 X 10)
DB Rows (3 X 12)
Tricep extentions (3 X 12)
Bicep Curls (3 X 12)
Shrugs (3 X 12)
Shoulder Raises (3 X 12)

Lower Body (B)
KB stiff leg deadlifts (5 X 10)
KB Box squats (light) (5 X 10)
DB Lunges (3 X 12)
Leg Curls (3 X 12)
Leg Extentions (3 X 12)

Note: one thing that is important to note is that I don't have any movement where I elevate my shoulder past 90 degrees. I'm still not ready for overhead movements like incline bench or overhead press.

The frequency of my workouts is Day 1 is conditioning (sprints), Day 2 is A, Day 3 is B, rest day, then repeat. It's three days on, one day off, like crossfit.

Leg day killed me, especially the lunges. On the second set my hammies cramped up so I just stopped.

I've noticed now when doing bench press I experience a clicking in the very front part of my shoulder. It isn't accompanied by any pain, but this might be important because Dr. Fullerton thought there might be something wrong with the front part of my shoulder. Who knows.

I'm still feeling all the normal pangs, but then all the pangs are not bothering me as much as they used to. I feel healthier. I feel like I'm better. I actually feel like I can get back to 100%, something I haven't experienced in over a decade.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Six weeks out from first treatment

So it's been two weeks of doing the scapular stabilization exercises. After the first day of exercise, my muscles were sore/unhappy for about 5 minutes, but then everything went back to normal. I get the same experience after each workout, but each time it's to a lesser extent.  These past couple of times I've had no increase in pain after working out, so I think now I'm going to start getting back to strength/ROM, so that means I'll get to work with Indian clubs, in addition to some other dumb bell/barbell exercises.

I think I've been babying my body for a while now. I've been really conservative just because I want to heal up ASAP.  But when I expressed my concerns to the Dr. he just said to let pain be your guide and to keep moving.

Letting pain be my guide has been difficult, because right now I'm back to being in pain all the time.  The amount of pain/discomfort that I'm in is less than before I started this, but it's still there. So knowing that my muscles are still frayed, is it ok to use them, to push them? It seems from Doc's advice that it is ok.

The pain/discomfort that’s going on in my back is... evolving. It used to be just this big knot of pain, but now I can feel each muscle separately and feel the pain in each one.  It's like a room of people has gone from everyone screaming and you can't hear what they're saying to everyone is talking loudly and you can now make out each conversation. Hopefully after the second treatment it will be reduced to a quiet murmur.

Concerning my hip. It's been... interesting. When I mentioned to one PT that I still experience hip pain despite the fact that I haven't squatted/deadlifting for six weeks he asked if I've considered the possibility that it's a sports hernia. I have, in the past, been given that diagnosis, but I think that is not what I have.  The main reason being that there are times where I do not experience any pain. I think because there are things that I can do to relieve the pain, it's not a sports hernia. I may be wrong, I'm not an expert on the subject matter. However, I figure it my groin pain is stemming from some type of structural damage then it should be fairly constant. That's how it was before I had PRP injections to treat the torn labrum in my hip (constant pain no matter what I did).

As of right now, when my groin/pectineus acts up I also have a tight TFL and possibly glute medius and piraformis.  I roll out on a soft ball, and it is amazingly painful but when I get that release in the back of my hip, the pain in the front seems to go away, or at least diminish greatly.

So it seems that my current hip/groin pain is coming from tight muscles in the back of my hip, and those, in turn, may be tightening up because of the structural damage to my left hip capsule or to the fact that my left spinal erectors don't seem to work very well right now.  In either case, that first week after my first prolo treatment for the left hip/right spinal erectors, I had no hip/groin pain whatsoever.  ...I hope this hasn't been too confusing, if there's any questions just leave a comment and I'll be happy to respond.

I've starting running hard for short bursts on the treadmill, and it doesn't seem to cause any trouble whatsoever, so I'm thinking it would be ok for me to get into sprinting. There's a sprinting group that works out nearby. I'd like to join them but I'll have to tell them that in about three weeks I'll have to stop going for about a month.  We'll see what happens.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rehab from Torn Labrum in Shoulder: First Day.

Excited because today I get to do resistance work!!!
Going to start out conservative, going to work on scapular stability.  I should point out that I'm not just working on recovering from a torn labrum, but I'm also working with damaged rotator cuff and various back muscles.

On a related note, I've realized what I'm doing is broader than just treating a torn laburm. Through this process I've found out that I have an injured rotator cuff as well. There are a lot of people out there that might benefit from avoiding surgery to repair their rotator cuff, so I'm going to make it easier for them to find some of these videos.  A torn labrum and damaged rotator cuff go hand in hand, actually. This might be one reason why surgery repairing a labrum only might be ineffective in relieving pain, it might be only a partial repair. Plus, if you have poor mechanics you're just going to tear it again.

Anyway back to my protocol for scapular stabilization.  My rehab will go through three different phases. First is endurance, second is range of motion/strength, and the third is speed strength.  Endurance will get those stabilizers back to strength, so I will develop proper mechanics. Then I can work on strength, like bench press. And after that has been worked some then I can work on explosiveness, like in Olympic lifts and sprinting.

Here is the document describing the exercises I'm doing for phase one. I'm planning on doing only 2 sets for the first two times, and after that bump it up to three. Also, I'm doing these every other day, adding weight bit by bit. Hopefully I can move on to phase two in two to three weeks, depending on how I'm feeling.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Ear Problem Solved??!!?!?!

Since High school, I’ve experienced discomfort with my left ear.  Not the outside, actual ear, but inside, like my eardrum.  I’ve always felt like there’s too much pressure in that ear.  In Ms. Sutton’s pre-calculus I was stretching my neck, trying to release the tension that I was feeling.  I pulled my head toward my right shoulder a little and I hear a “crack”, and felt some immediate relief.  That was the beginning of a 17 year habit of cracking my neck.  I always experienced a sensation of whatever muscle that was too tight in my ear relaxing.  I would also try swallowing, trying to get my left ear to decompress, it was a very subtle, but very constant nuisance. 

Today, instinctively I started pinching my neck, the part right under the jawbone, kind of near the glands Drs feel to see if you’re sick. I felt some asymmetry, some kind of lump on the left side. Pressed on it thinking it was a knot of muscle that needed to be released. I did not get a release I got something... different.  With a loud “crunch” I felt something give.  It felt like I put something back into place, or absolutely destroyed something.  I freaked out a little because of the severity of the crunch and its proximity to my voicebox. It was like I had destroyed a thin, airy wafer in my neck and I was worried I had hurt myself.

I said something and sounded fine, so I calmed down and realized that  whatever it was that was bothering me had disappeared. I felt the left side of my sinuses clear up a little. I feel my left ear open up a little (it itches some now as I type this), and when I swallow both sides feel the same, the same blessed feeling of normalcy.

This is awesome.  Besides the pain in my shoulder this discomfort in the ear was a major factor I decided to get the treatment. I don’t know if this was just a temporary fix, but it feels way better than it has in over a decade and it’s lasted for about an hour as I type this, much longer than any other treatment I’ve had. Perhaps this will be permanent, that would be amazing.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Post Prolo: First Day of Exercise

So it’s been two weeks since I saw Dr. Fullerton and I’m now able to do really low-impact stuff. For example, I can now walk on a treadmill for 10 minutes!!!!!! Sad as that is, I’m happy to be out doing something. …I’m also a little surprised how winded I get walking on a 3% grade incline.  As I understand it, if I feel good from today’s work then I can do 15 minutes 

We will see how it goes.  In another two weeks I will be able to do some type of resistance training. I’m already trying to plan out some stuff and when I have it all figured out I’ll post the protocol here for all to enjoy.  I’ve reached out to my friend/trainer/pt guy in IL who programmed my rehab for my hip in the hopes that he’ll do it again. If he does this will be amazing because his understanding of the body is amazing.  Here's the latest entry for the Vlog:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Seems to be a Connection between my Right and Left Hip

Interestingly enough, even though Dr. Fullerton addressed my left not-that-painful hip, the pain in my right pectineus has gone away.  I don’t understand the reason why, I mean how could a pit in my left hip capsule affect the front of my right hip?  But my right hip pain really isn’t there anymore. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was down to like .5, but now it’s where I forget that I’m pain free. It’s the kind of pain free where I haven’t thought about it, which is the ultimate goal.

I have to admit, I wonder how much of my struggles have stemmed from the injuries/weaknesses in my back.  I know the back muscles (especially the rhomboids) play a large part in stabilizing the torso with the front squat, and that was definitely where I would fail.  My legs could handle the weight, but I would still dump the bar on the way up because I’d lose my balance.  I’ve been doing dumb bell rows, and I’ve noticed it’s way easier to pull the weight with my right arm than it is with my left. The weakness has never felt like a strength issue, it’s always felt like a “muscle just stops responding” issue. Having a frayed trap/rhomboid/lavator will do that I guess.

…The fraying of the muscles in my lower back could also be a reason why I struggle so mightily with deadlifts. A common reason why people fail a deadlift is a weak upper back. If my lavatory, etc. are frayed and weak this could be the reason why I have so much trouble with the heavy pulls. Also, if my left spinal erectors are the ones doing all of the work, then that could explain why my lower back just kills me after deadlifts.  It’s never been a matter of leg strength. Never has been. I was doing leg presses (don’t judge) of 450# for 10 reps pretty easily right before seeing Dr. Fullerton, yet I’m struggling pulling 300# off the ground and doing anything above 230# with the front squat is killer.

All these things give me hope that once I’m healed I’ll have a much higher ceiling with the front squat, deadlift, pull ups, and rows.

And the Vlog continues:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

First Prolo Treatment with Dr. Fullerton

Fist off I have to say that I really like Dr. Fullerton. He's very professional and very thorough.  Heck even my wife likes him and now thinks that prolotherapy is a valid form of treatment.  The plan was to meet him on Thursday afternoon for an examination, and then friday morning for the treatment.  The first meeting went much longer than I expected. First, it took a long time to go over my medical history. It was fairly confusing for both the PA doing my intake and myself since I've seen four different doctors in VA and IL for the hip that I wasn't seeking treatment for, while having seen a PA in NC for the shoulder pain who gave the diagnosis of a torn labrum.  There's a lot of information there that can get jumbled up over the six years I've been seeking treatment.

So after my intake was complete Dr. Fullerton came in.  Like I said, he was very thorough.  He had me do a bunch of different functional tests to see what was wrong.  It was very similar to getting an assessment from a PT.  He then used the ultrasound machine to see what was going on.  He also did palpitations to see if any spot hurt.  Using these methods he pretty much pinpointed the exact areas of pain in my back.  The lavator, the rhomboid, the trap, and the supraspinatus.  He said these muscles all looked "frayed". That's not exactly what one likes to hear, but he said he's seen worse.  This fraying is all in addition to the torn labrum.  He also found some weakness in the spinal errectors on the right said of my back.  If they couldn't do anything, perhaps my left side has to overcompensate, which is why I've always had a tight QL and pain on the left side.  He also examined my left him, the one that now doesn't seem to move as well as my right, and said there was a pit in the capsule.  That doesn't sound good.  He also found out that when doing internal rotation with that him it caused pain on the inside of the hip joint, the part right next to my junk.  I'm not sure what all of the diagnosis were or meant, all I know is that he found a boatload of problems and he had his work cut out for him.


Then I saw him the next day for treatment.  He had me do all those tests that I failed again. Then he injected me with lidocaine to numb the relevant body part.  He waited for the numbing agent to take effect, and then injected the body part with dextrose under ultrasound guidance.  After that he then had me do the test again, and I passed!  It was very strange how immediate the effect was.  For example, he twisted my hip into internal rotation and it hurt on the inner part of the joint. He then injected some solution into the outer part of the capsule, did the motion again, and it no longer hurt!  After he went over everything with Dextrose, he then did the injections of the blood.  He had 180ml drawn to be spun out, so I imagine he had a lot of PRP to work with, so I think he injected everything with the PRP as well.

There was almost no pain during the treatment. None.  The lidocaine really worked at making the real injections painless.  The pain that I did experience came from the pressure of having so much solution
Lots of band-aids after the treatment.
injected into my body.  The pain immediately after the treatment got a little intense.  It's not that the pain is really that severe, is that you know you can't get away from it, nothing you can do will alleviate the pain, and that's hard to accept.  They put an ice-pack on my back for 10 minutes (That's the max you want to do, and only the day of since you don't want to reduce any of the acute inflammation it's suppose to cause.) and gave me some Tylenol and I was good to go.

The injection sites feel like hot water balloons underneath the skin.  My hip didn't feel anything for the first two hours, but my back felt it immediately.  I was able to sit in the car while we drove back home from Austin, and then I went out and ran some errands and then went to the museum with some friends. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would've just stayed at home and slept, but I was able to do everything and anything I wanted to.

I really like that Dr. Fullerton was able to find so many things wrong.  Well, I don't mean to say that I'm happy I have so many things wrong with me, just that I feel that he was so complete that after these treatments I won't have anything unaddressed.  I won't have anything lingering.

I now definitely want him to examine my right hip once he has finished fixing the left hip, if the left hip proves not to be the source of the lingering pain in my right hip.

Given a choice between the two, I would rather go to Dr. Fullerton than Dr. Hauser. Dr. Fullerton's examination is much more complete. Dr. Hauser isn't really for diagnosing, just fixing.  So if there's something missed in the diagnosis, Dr. Hauser isn't going to find and address the problem.

Here's the part of my recordings the day of the treatment:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Beginning of the Vlog

Alright well here we go with the shoulder labrum tear.  I've decided to start a Vlog in an attempt to try to spread the prolo word through a different medium.  I'm still going to write about it, but the writings are going to be more of a supplementation to the videos.

Here's the prologue, where I lay down some of background for why I'm seeing Dr. Fullerton. If you want the absolute full history of my shoulder/neck problems they can be found here.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Modifications to make to your Trailblazer

I know, I know. Typically this blog is about crossfit/fitness, but it's been a slow couple of months so I'm broadening the scope of the posts to keep things entertaining.

I own a 2003 Trailblazer, and have done or am doing all of these modifications/fixes. Here are the things you need to do should you come across a trailblazer, especially a 02-03 TB.

Get it re-tuned from PCMforless.  This isn't a tune up in the sense of making sure the spark plugs work correctly. This is reprogramming the car's computer to enhance performance and improve MPG.  When I had this done it completely changed my car. It no longer clunked when shifting from 2nd to 3rd, and the MPG went up from 13 to 16, not to mention I got about 20 more horsepower.  Bang for your buck, this is THE upgrade to get. Also, it’s very, very easy to do on your own. You just need a wrench that will fit and about 30 minutes.

Replace the sway bar endlinks with Maxx Endlinks. The TB just destroys OEM endlinks, but these are so beefy
Left OEM endlinks, Right Maxx endlinks
they will change the way your TB handles all by themselves. When I had mine replaced it really changed the feel of the car. It seems on the 02 and 03 models they made the bushings of super soft rubber. Upgrading them to these polyurethane will really change how the truck feels.

While you’re at it, change your rear sway bar as well with the Hotchis sway bar. This will really help with body roll, plus it comes with a set of bushings for all four wheels that will also help out with the ride.

If you experience a groan/crunch/squeak when going over bumps or when braking, the most likely culprit is the lower arm control bracket. Especially with the 02’s and 03’s, the bushings in these brackets are soft rubber and get destroyed rather easily. Replace them with a bracket that has polyurethane bushings, and it will last much longer than replacing them with rubber.

You might also want to check out the upper control arm as well, they suffer the same problem of being made with soft rubber bushings.

Replacing the shocks is also a great idea. GM designed the TB to have 5 degrees of lean, with is pretty loose. Lots of people use the Bilsteins HD and like them. I’m going for something softer so I will be getting the Ranchos SRX shocks.

Concerning brakes, my research has led me to hear good things about the brakemotive set for the TB, when my current set of brakes wear out I’ll be replacing them with these.

That’s all I have. Do these and you’ll have a TB that handles much better than stock, and will accelerate and brake much better as well. Of course, if you have any comment/criticism, please let me know in the comment section.