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.

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 :)