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.