Monday, 27 March 2017

Weekly Training log

Monday
Rest

Tuesday
20 min walk including a while in the river for Boomer
30 min elliptical
PT routine + other overall body weights- gym was friggin hot

Wednesday
2 mile run with Boomer- run itself felt good but I was sorer for the rest of the week
Smiley face after

Thursday 
1 hour walk

Friday
45 min elliptical 
PT routine + Ab work

Saturday
Rest

Sunday
40 minute swim- pool was cold as it had just rained but it felt great.
30 minute walk
PT routine


General recovery from piriformis syndrome
Running is really frustrating me. I feel fine when I run but after my piriformis muscle tightens right up, despite stretching, and I have to back off running for days afterwards. I'm happy to be getting some general fitness back but I'd like to be able to run a little, even if it was only enough to run 5ks for the next few months.

I'm thinking of getting new shoes, maybe the switch (even if it was months ago) to a stability shoe (very slight) is not helping. It'll mean switching away from Brooks but I'll try anything to help at this stage. Thinking of Altras- neutral, low drop, lets the foot do what it wants, vegan friendly (a bonus) and has a varying of cushion levels in their shoes. A lot closer to my discontinued PureConnects. Anyone have any experience with these?

I'm sticking to my PT and lots of daily stretching. My left Glutes, abductors etc. are probably 95% of the strength of the right side so those exercises are working. However, my sciatic nerve was not innervating muscles all the way down to my feet, meaning those muscles need rebuilding. I've been adding in exercises to my PT routine, like calf raises, that I normally wouldn't do. This week I'm adding in some exercises for my feet and ankles.
Sorry for the horrible feet but can you see how little I can raise my left big toe compared to my right, no Bueno.

Going to do:
Being barefoot as much as possible
Towel pulls
Standing on one foot
Walking on toes

All easy things to do around the house , even while doing other stuff! Any suggestions?

Anyhow, I'll keep truckin on and hoping I'll continue to improve but right now the memory of the pain I was in is still strong enough that just putting on shoes and socks by myself makes me grateful for what I can do!!


Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Weekly Training


A tiny bit of an easier week. Everything felt good! Loving getting back to moving. I always feel happier and more like myself when I can work out.

Monday
1.5 mile run during the daytime that felt good.
Evening- Full PT routine + legs +upper body 

Tuesday
I got a massage and unlike the last time I wen this one did not make me want to cry :)
45 min walk.

Wednesday
My last PT session. I'm gonna miss Jim my pyshiotherapist.

40 mins elliptical- longest one yet
30 mins walk

Thursday
3 walks - throughout the day that added up to 6 miles.
PT routine

Friday
30 min walk

Saturday
Get to the Green 5k in the morning -38 mins
30 min walk in the evening

Sunday
30 min walk
30 minute swim- first outdoor swim of the year. Outdoor pool felt great.

We had Bailey, our friends cocker spaniel, as well as Boomer Thursday to Monday so lots of walks to keep the pups nice and sleepy. Since I've been really bad at taking workout pics here are some cute pics of the dogs!








Monday, 20 March 2017

Get to the Green 5k, Columbia SC

It's my 3rd year running this race. This year they had the usual 5k and 10k but added a 15k to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the race. Every year I get slower :p At least this year I have a good excuse! I aimed to run half and walk half of the race, since 1.5 miles is about the most I've run comfortably since getting piriformis syndrome in Jan. However, I didn't have my watch because I've not been able to find the charger since Jan (a sign from the universe lol). 
Lots of green

The course was similar to the last two 5ks I ran with the only real difference being the finish point. I walked all the hills and regularly took walk breaks to check in on my back/butt. The finish was on a long straight stretch of Divine Street where you could see the finishers timing clock for almost a mile. Here I forced myself to walk a good bit. I felt good the whole time until I dropped my sunglasses almost at the finishers chute and bent down to pick them up. Ouchie! That hurt a lot and I was really afraid I'd pushed to hard and hurt myself again. Based on how I recovered, yes maybe I pushed a tiny bit too much, but barely because after a rest I felt fine. Judging by my pace I either ran really fast (unlikely) or ran way more than I should!

The race itself was well organized and busy. The start area had packet pickup. On course there were lots of marshals as well as two aid stations. The finish area had lots of food and water. It was the second race this year I could have run with Boomer but only realized it when I was running :( I saw dogs running and doggy bowls out at the aid stations.
 I really like this race as a fun healthy way to mark St. Patricks Day, which was my grandads birthday, without getting caught up in the chaos of drinking. They always have great tshirts (cotton for the 5k), medals and if you do want to party the race entry includes entry into the day long festival.
The rest of the day was really exciting because my friend had gone into the hospital the night before and we spent until that afternoon waiting with Bailey (the cocker spaniel) to find out that she was a big sister to a healthy baby boy. Another St. Patrick's Day birthday!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Back to light training

My PT for piriformis syndrome is tapering off. So I decided that I should push myself a bit more with activity this week, to gauge if I was ready to get back to working out, before I lost the safety net of a physiotherapist to tell me what levels of pain are normal at this stage.

Monday
2 mile run- a little tender/nerve pain...too much. 

Tuesday
45 minute swim with my new waterproof iPod. The time passed much faster with music. I got out of the pool because I was tired not bored.

Wednesday
1 hour and 15 min walk in morning with my pregnant friend.
35 minutes on an elliptical which felt fine.
Full PT routine plus upper body weights.

Thursday
PT appointment- so I did my workout here. Talked to my guy about running and he limited me to increasing mileage by more than a quarter of a mile at a time so I won't run to the point of nerve pain. Treated myself to lunch at the market next door afterwards...nom.

1 hour of yoga. Surprised by how much I could do! I only sat out a few of the more advanced moves. A tiny bit of nerve pain towards the end but not bad so I think I can manage another class next week.

Friday
Pretty sore so a rest day.

Saturday
1.5 mile run. Felt great. I think this might be my sweet spot for the next few runs.

Full PT routine + upper body + a few new lower body weights (to see if I can)

Sunday
Rest.

So I've discovered that it's really only running that's a problem right now. Low impact exercise feels fine, it just leaves my weaker side sore but just workout sore rather than nerve pain. 
I think running is a problem because my joints and muscles are still healing/loosening up. It's frustrating that it's taking so long to heal up. The sciatic nerve is HUGE, so even if the piriformis muscle is not impinging it, it'll take a long while to fully settle down. I do not want to go back to sciatic pain so running will be a slow progression for a while.
I'm still really excited to be able to do as much as I can. Being limited in movement for a while really makes you appreciate the little things a healthy body can do.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Piriformis Syndrome Week 7

Let's start with I ran this week, woohoo! 

Earlier in the week I tried a short jog back from the gym and it felt so weird. I felt like a mangled baby giraffe. Probably because all my leg muscles are weak and tight. So I spent a few days focusing on stretching more. That irritated things a little. Tiny bits of nerve pain and muscle soreness but nothing dramatic. 
I've really missed working up a good sweat so I then decided to try the elliptical. Low and behold I was able to manage 20 minutes with no pain. When I did that I figured I should be able to run as long as I'm careful.

So off I went for a 1 mile run. I stopped a few times to stretch and check in to see of there was any pain. All was good, I'm just terribly unfit right now. I wish I could have ran for longer but I think this is one time that at least for a few weeks I need to ramp up running slowly. 

I've so little pain that I can work out more, so I think I'll slowly mix in running but with lots of elliptical and swimming so as to not overload tight joints right now.  I ordered a waterproof iPod which should arrive tomorrow which I'm excited to try out and see if it encourages me to swim more frequently or for longer. 

I have two more weeks of PT, but only x1 a week, to focus on stretching and getting my hip mobility back. 

I'm so excited to really be on the road to pain free fitness again!





Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Piriformis Syndrome Week 6 Report

This week was amazing! My lower back, hip, left leg in general are extremely tight but wait for it....not painful. It's like something really changed last week and I just continued to get better this week. It was so nice to do stuff, like get out of bed, without having to brace myself or figuring out the best way to do it without hurting. I knew I was really onto the homestretch when my PT started adding more weight for exercises and showing me dynamic warmup drills for running. 

The real test was our trip to NYC. We had to drive 2 hours to the airport and then sit for two hours on the planes (and the same on the way back). Of all of that the worst was the first drive. A lot of walking and a few air squats got the blood following again. 
Then Saturday we did a ton of fun sightseeing, easily walked ten miles and went up a million subway stairs. Our last stop of the day was Central Park and I got a little limpy there, but not painful, and hopped into an uber back to my friends place rather than walk more for the subway. More walking Sunday but I felt fine even after the trip home.  

Then yesterday my PT said my next session might be my last. Holy crap! That's really exciting but I don't feel ready :) I guess there isn't much more he can do now that the worst of this is over. It needs time and work to get back to full functionality. I have all the tools I need now to do the rest on my own.

I guess that means I can try a short run. I'm going to wait a few days to try focus on getting some of the really knotty parts of my leg to loosen up. A lot of what I need to do now is get confidence in my body back and not worry that this is going to revert backwards for no reason.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Building a new runner

Being stopped in your tracks by blinding pain kind of forces you to evaluate how you treat training and injuries. 5 weeks with piriformis syndrome (and still not recovered) are a real motivation to start from the ground up and pay more attention to the little details.

I think I was moving in the right direction, last year; Taking a break when I needed it, including cross training and strength work more than I had in the past but it obviously wasn't enough.

In 2017, I want to work on core strength and mobility and not ignore, or run through, smaller injuries.

My PT training is covering about as much core work as I can handle right now. However, now that I'm free to move around a bit more I can focus on mobility before I'm back on the road. 
I noticed Dr. Kelly Starrett book at my PT appointment and decided this is exactly what I need to get me started with assessing my mobility. The book runs through self assessment tests for all the major joints involved in running and provides techniques to help mobilize problem areas or to carry out maintaince on good ones.
Some I cannot do right now because of my injury. For others I need to buy some bands or different size balls but I'm getting started on what I can do. I'm also looking forward to getting back to my Body Pump classes for extra strength work when I'm confident I can do all the movements without pain.

It's funny how motivating this whole 'episode' has been. I'm never going to be a competitive runner but I want to focus on feeling better and stronger while I run. That can only make it more fun!!




Sunday, 19 February 2017

Piriformis Syndrome Week 5 Report

I've had much the same low level pain as last week. However, I've had more good days than bad. Maybe because Sunday night/Monday morning were so awful, I caught a break with the rest of the week.

I had a reoccurrence of nerve pain that night. Not the 'I'm aware of my leg/ankle' pain more like the I'm in so much pain you could stab me if it would stop this. It wasn't nearly as bad as when I first got piriformis syndrome but the pain and only two hours sleep that night did not make for a pleasant version of myself.
A quick trip to the PT for a back adjustment, normal PT and dry needling set me to rights. For a couple of days after I stopped being so stubborn and took ibuprofen (which I've been avoiding) for a break from the low level pain just so I don't lose my mind, ha ha! Lots of sleep this week to make up for Sunday night.

In case you can't tell my mood is pretty up and down depending on how I feel that day. On bad days I feel like I'll never be better (pain free, full mobility and running) and on good days I'm high as a kite because I realize I'm getting better even if it's not a completely linear or fast path I'm on. 

Other than that the rest of the week has been pretty good. I've not had any 'leg failures' on steps. I've sat quite a bit, for outings, and while it was uncomfortable it wasn't super painful during or after. My last heavy PT session (by myself) on Saturday night felt good. I got 3/4 of the way through my exercises before my glutes got really fatigued, so all in all, it's a slow recovery but the fact that I'm getting stronger is really encouraging.


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Cupids Chase 5k

Cupid's Chase race is in aid of people with disabilities and its run in many different cities/states. I'd signed up for the 5k, here in Columbia SC, ages ago before I got injured. There is no way I'm ready to run but I decided to walk it instead. The race was very walker friendly with many strollers and puppies on course. 
I picked up my packet right before the race. There was a nice area set up for this and the post race party. I indulged in a pre race Diet Coke since I didn't have to worry about stomach problems walking.

The 5k course was a familiar mismash of other local 5k courses, a mix of flats and rolling hills, with one aid station along the way. 
I woke up feeling good (injury wise) and my hip/leg behaved for the walk. I walked fast compared to my normal amble and finished just under 53 minutes. The only time I had any major injury problems was after I finished and tried to step up on a curb and my stupid muscles did nothing but hurt bad. Luckily that only lasted a few seconds but I swore out loud in front of kids, in the South, whoopsie! After that my previously non functioning glute (root cause of piriformis syndrome) was extremely fatigued but not too painful. Surprisingly, I was exhausted. My other muscles weren't sore/tired but I had the kind of extreme sleepy feeling I normally only get after a really hard workout. I guess functioning through pain is hard on the body.

I was really happy that I went out and did this. I didn't want to miss it but I could have been too proud to walk a race. I was functioning to the best of my ability, giving to a good cause and getting my cardio fix for the day..all good things. I didn't even feel bad about getting a medal when I saw the dogs getting them too, ha ha!

No more races until April and definetely no more signing up for them until I'm back to regular pain free running. 



Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Steady progress

Where am I at a month after developing piriformis syndrome?
The good
I have sciatica type pain only when my hip is at its worst. Muscle pain is reducing steadily. So much so, that now and again I'll forget about it until it gives me a sharp jab to remind me to slow down.I still don't think I'm ready to run but the overall pain level has gone down enough that walking and swimming are enjoyable. 
The bad
Certain movements I can't do because my mobility is very low; My hamstring in my left leg is SO tight but I can't stretch it. Walking on slopes and up steps frequently causes my hip muscles on the left side to give up on working.

This week 
Monday-Wednesday: feeling good-excellent, Thursday: back to being pretty sore Friday: sore, Saturday: good Sunday: sore. So I'm having 4 out of 7 days feeling pretty good, a change from a few weeks ago!

My PT has stepped up this week:
Everyday I do my nerve glide, back extensions, bridges and (x3times) stretching.
Now added  X 3 times a week
-squats (2 sets body weight, 2 sets + 10Ibs) with an elastic band around my thighs.
-lateral walk with band
-resistance band at shoulder height from the side, under tension....push in and out with arms, followed by a set of side steps, without letting my back or hips rotate.
-lateral leg raises
-clamshells with a band (discovered in PT I've been doing these wrong, so much harder when my hips are properly stacked).
-Step ups (small step) with 10Ibs
-(Baby) deadlift type movement

Friday, 3 February 2017

Slowly getting better & planning

So besides an awful doctors visit, which annoyed and upset me, I've been getting better in little steps. 

I've noticed this week, that while my left butt/hip area is pretty much always sore, the really annoying pain going down into my leg and foot is gone more often than its there. The numbness is receding too. I'm starting to get small stretches of time where even my hip doesn't hurt, it'll be tight but no pain. 

Now that the level of pain is going down:
I feel more like doing stuff
I can drive for around 10-15 mins when the pain is low
My normal appetite is back (I wasn't really eating a lot)
I'm not so grumpy

Inevitably, the muscle starts to spasm again and then the pain in my hip is intense but in the last couple of days stretches have been added to my PT. A very uncomfortable minute of light stretching seems to make it stop most of the time. I see the light!!
Mini stretch 

This week I've had a massage which was ouchie. Then two sessions of PT on back to back days. The first day was working out, bridges etc. The second day was scraping, cupping and dry needling. The scraping and cupping were very light so it basically felt like 45 minutes of my butt cheek getting massaged by a guy I hardly know, so it was a little weird but I chatted my way through the embarrassment. The dry needling was awesome for pain relief as usual. 

My new strength work includes resistance bands. I had actually bought myself some in January to work on hip strength, it's a pity I didn't get to it before this happened. 

Next week....
More PT, adding in weights...woohoo this feels like progress 
Swimming- even though I was cleared to swim before now I didn't because I couldn't drive to the pool and I was in too much pain to feel like doing it anyhow.


Planning
Stupidly, I've also had a hard time letting go of the races I've registered for.
 There is a Valentines themed 5k next weekend that I can walk because the race includes walkers. It's short enough to be a nice test to see how much walking I can do. It'll feel like an achievement to get that far but won't be enough to damage my progress.

The hardest is what was meant to be my race for NY at the end of this month. There is no way I can do it and I think even walking 13 miles right now would be damaging and hard. Especially on top of sitting on a plane for two hours. It would be stupid to do it. Luckily this trip was planned mainly to go see a friend and for Martina to do some touristy stuff, anyway a trip to NYC is never wasted. 

There is another half here in April that I've registered for. I won't be able to run it all by then since I think I need to start at scratch and build up my cardio as my hip strength improves. I'm hoping that by then I can have a walk-run strategy that could be part of my training for a goal race. 



So as an incentive, I'm gonna take a small bit of my tax refund, when I have a better idea of where I'm at with running, and register for a race somewhere I really want to go. 
As much as I hate it, I think I'm also going to have to just suck it up and train through next summer. If I don't I'm not going to get back into the kind of shape I need to to run multiple halfs a year without suffering! Anyhow, I find the beginning of training, when I'm unfit, harder mentally than training in the heat. 


I think the fact that I'm thinking about running means I'm getting better. At least I'm not crying about being Sir Limp-a-Lot for ever :) 









Monday, 30 January 2017

Doctors visit

I'm so mad. This morning I waited 2 hours to see a doctor, for a follow up, who talked to me for less than five minutes. Most of the conversation was about what part of Ireland I'm from (really relevant) and how I'd have to give up running for a while...no shit Sherlock, and come back in a week and if you aren't better I'll refer you to a orthopedic specialist. I don't want any type of surgery, I don't want to be referred to a specialist after only two weeks of PT. most of what I've read suggests 4-6 weeks PT  minimum for piriformis syndrome.

I don't know if it was because all of this made me so mad but I've come home and cried my eyes out. I hate being in pain. I hate being trapped in the house not able to do anything. I'm scared this is going to turn into a long drawn out recovery. 

I don't mind not running for a few weeks. I'll be glad to put in the work needed to strengthen my hip and core muscles. Hell I'll do it all day if I need to, once I know what to do. I just don't want to be impaired by this long term. 

I think spending most of my time alone has made me moody, lol. I should be grateful that this is the most of my worries. There are so many people out there suffering through unimaginable pain and sicknesss and they do it with a smile on their face. #imtheworstpatientever

Friday, 27 January 2017

Sciatica Day 10

I've been getting frustrated. I haven't felt like I've progressed much in the last few days. 
However, in good news my PT disagrees. In the 3 days between my appointments he thinks I've improved a good bit. So I guess I'm just impatient and want to be free of any pain :)
Foot warmer or reiki specialist, he he.

Signs I'm getting better:
I have been able to sit for more than a few seconds without instant pain. I had a massage on Wednesday and had no choice but to drive myself. I drove with a pillow under my butt to help. The 10 min drive each way was uncomfortable, to say the least, but it wasn't unbearable. 

I'm getting weird sensations in my numb leg/ankle....like a drop of water fell on my leg. The nerve is doing something.



Right now I have two mobility exercises and after last night I'm starting to add some basic strength. Until my next appointment, I have to add in glute bridges, with more strength exercises to be added as I get better.
Last night I had dry needling on two muscles (lots of needles), my piriformis and another smaller muscle closer to the side of my hip..not as fleshy so those needles stung. The dry needling, although I don't like it, is very good for pain relief. I got off the table feeling like a new woman.

My PT thinks two week until I can start running. There is nothing like not being able to run to make you want to go out and knock out a few miles.

I have to do a follow up with my doc this weekend. Then next week I have another massage and 2 PT appointments so I'm trying to hit this hard and do everything I can to get better!



Monday, 23 January 2017

Sciatica Day 7 some PT

Still much the same levels of pain etc. For PT I took things into my own hands and got an appointment this morning with the guy that checked out my shoulder for me last year.
Lots of evaluation and my left leg/ foot is significantly weaker than the right. I also discovered I can't raise the toes on that foot, fun. My back seems to be fine but he adjusted it to make sure it was as flexible as possible. He did 10 minutes of dry needling. Essentially this is accupunture needles inserted into the muscle and an electrical current is applied to force the muscle to contract and relax. It didn't feel bad but it was weird having my entire butt cheek contract. I'm not entirely sure what this is meant to achieve, maybe reteaching the muscle what it should be doing?
I have another appointment this week and two for next week. In the mean time I have two exercises to do and have the all clear to do some swimming as long as it doesn't aggravate my piriformis. I'm hoping I can sit for more than a few seconds soon because then I'll be able to drive myself and get out of the house.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Sciatica Day 5

Let's hope these posts don't run for weeks!

Yesterday was my best day, I was able to move around and try stretch out my piriformis muscle. Today I cut out the codeine painkillers. It kind of feels like I took a step backwards because I've been quite sore but at least I have a real idea of how I'm getting on and I'm not overloading my system with tons of different drugs. I'm still taking ibuprofen to keep down inflammation.
The only part of this I think I'm enjoying is the muscle relaxants are making the rest of me nice and relaxed and sleepy. Lots of naps instead of lying in bed/on the couch bored. Even tho I'm feeling better I still have a lot of numbness in my foot, so the nerve is still trapped. Looking forward to getting some physio done.



Thursday, 19 January 2017

Sciatica: Day 3, Day 2 with drugs

Today I am much better. I still get the occasional bad jab of pain and still have numbness, tingling and low level pain right down to my left foot.

However, I can get out of bed without screeching, I can kind of bend down a little to reach stuff if I do a one legged squat and most importantly I can also sit on the toilet without the muscle spasming (since I've had to pee about a million times a day). So if I can get to the stage where I can get into bed or lie down without my hip going nuts I think I'll be ready for some gentle physio. 

Boomer has been so protective. He also hasn't asked to go out once during the day, it's like he knows I can't take him.

Hopefully I'll see as big an improvement tomorrow!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Sciatica: down but not out

Hands down I'm in the worst pain I've ever been in. Not all the time but if I move from one position into another it's like someone has a knife in my hip and is twisting it. Peeing has become a danger sport lol.
The rest of the time it's painful but not crazy sore.
Nurse Boomer


How did I do this, you ask? I sat on the floor. 

I had some friends over on Sunday evening and sat on the floor having snacks and chatting. My hips have been tight for the last couple of weeks so when I got up and had a sore hip/leg I didn't think too much about it and went to bed expecting it to be ok the next morning. I had to go to the bathroom that night, around 4am, an adventure that turned into me crawling to bathroom.

This morning I gave in, when it hurt just lying on my back, and went the doctor. Crying the whole way from the pain of sitting. It turned out to be exactly what I thought (a piriformis spasm) that's trapping my sciatic nerve. Not exactly rocket science when I can feel the muscle twitching like crazy when I'm not in pain.
I have muscle relaxants, codene, ibuprofen to treat it along with ice and heat. On top of that I have to go to a physio and then a follow up with the Doctor. Much more of a longer term project than I thought. A bit bummed out considering I was getting back my mojo for working out! 



However, let's look on the positive:

-It's a muscle problem not a spine problem

-Trips to the fridge are a no no, so I'll only be eating what I'm given. It'd be easy to comfort eat but I refuse to. Even with reduced exercise I'm not giving up on my healthly 2017. 

- I've still not got to grips with my muscle imbalances in my hip area so physio will be good to improve that. If I can't run for a few weeks this will be my focus.