Sunday, March 26, 2017

Here's to Starting Over: Take 2

As I said in January, I was ready to make the sports doctor appointment. So I did it. And I've been officially sidelined for 2 weeks now. I'm bitter. I'm angry. I'm depressed. And I'm in pain. I have a love-hate relationship with running, as you know, but it keeps me sane. Somewhat sane. But I'm not going to talk about my lack of mental health today, I'm going to talk about the running injury that I have been stricken with.

Apparently, or should I say allegedly, I have Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction. I say allegedly because we don't really know. I was sentenced to recommended for Physical Therapy for 6 weeks and if no improvement then an MRI. 

What would an MRI be looking for? Mind you, I'm currently an Ortho nurse and I had to ask my physical therapist this yesterday. The answer is super peachy: a slipped (or herniated) disc or a fractured vertebrae/Spondylolysis (which is clearly the least likely). 

But, knowing my luck, an MRI will show  nothing.  Because typically, that's just how I roll.

I completed my 4th PT visit yesterday, and I think he's a little surprised I've made no progress. I'm honestly a little surprised myself. First visit he gave me SIJ (sacroiliac joint) stretches and told me to do them about 6x a day. I haven't managed 6x a day thanks to the pain, but I do them 3-4x without too much trouble other than tolerable soreness. He told me my left leg is longer than my right because my pelvis/tailbone is tilted (which when I saw a chiropractor many moons ago, I was told something very similar). He's been working on correcting this by pulling my legs (haha, get it? No seriously, he grabs my ankle and pulls my leg!) Then he measures and compares the height of my pelvic bones and (I think) sacral bones. None of this is particularly painful, just somewhat uncomfortable. 

All was going along, without notable improvement, and I went in on Friday morning after a 12 hour shift. I always work 12 hour shifts and usually they don't bother me too much, but the last two (in a row) got to me. Wednesday night every step I took on my left leg was like a jolt of discomfort. Pain, maybe? I can't really say "pain" because it wasn't intolerable, but noticeable. On Thursday night my entire left leg was achy. When I went into see PT Guy I told him about this and we went through my usual exercises, but I was unable to relax my left leg like I needed to. He suggested ultrasound and electrostimulation, which is basically a sonogram TENS unit combination kinda thing. Some people say this feels good I hear. To me it felt like pouring water on my lower back/hip and sticking a 9volt to my skin. It wasn't bad, it wasn't great, it was.. strange. And prickly. The theory is that it shocks the muscles and makes them relax, because when you have inflammation in an injury the muscles stay contracted. I don't know if my muscles relaxed or not, but I do know I still hurt. And this makes me very frustrated and sad. 

He also told me he wanted me to try a trochanter or "SI Belt" and to wear it all the time unless showering.  It's kind of a pain to get, and keep adjusted in the right place, but otherwise it's not uncomfortable once you get used to it. I don't, as of yet, feel any change in the way the leg feels though. I don't know how long before I should expect to see results, but I would think once in proper alignment, the pain should subside fairly quickly. I'm day 2 of wearing it. 

I don't recall if I talked about symptoms of SI joint dysfunction, or at least MY symptoms. In case you're curious or think this could be an issue you're having or have had here you go:
  • Aching, began occasionally and progressed into constant, in my lower back/left hip area/down back and outside of left leg. Seems to stop around my knee.
  • Lower back aching. Mostly on left, slightly on right.
  • Left side pelvic pain, sometimes through left buttock and down back of left leg. Sometimes this is a very sharp, quick, shooting pain.
  • Waking up from sleep frequently because of pain/discomfort. 
  • I can't sit or stand in the same position long without discomfort.  
  • Leaning to the right (as in an IT Band stretch) causes pain. 
  • Sitting to standing hurts the worst.
Sometimes the pain is sharp, sometimes it's cramping, but my leg/hip is constantly aching now.

I have no suggestions to help feel better yet, but I will update as this new.. challenge.. goes along.

This effectively removes me from two, maybe three, of my scheduled half marathons. Including my beloved St. Louis. I'm still  going  but I won't be running. 

Have you ever experienced this? Do you have any advice? 

1 comment:

Hannah Adamson said...

I dealt with hip bursitis all last year. PT is what finally did the trick for me, but it took close to six months of doing my exercises at least every other day to have a day with no pain. I switched to running only every other day and adding in biking, swimming and strength. Basically I became a triathlete.

I hope you get some relief soon! (Oh...I had two cortisone shots too.)

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