Thursday, August 18, 2011

One problem, one visit. Not so much!


This year I have spent more hours in physiotherapy than any other year, and not really because I have been getting serious injuries much, but to find the root cause and “cure” some issues that I have been dragging along for years. One of them being very unhappy IT bands. Another being a painful shoulder/upper back. But when you train and race a lot, you inevitably end up with little aches and pains that could slow or even halt you training schedule. To most “non-training obsessed” people this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but for someone who might be border line anal about training and seeing physical progress, it can be very difficult when being told to rest for a week. A full week! I’m one of those people. But I’m also very, very lucky in that I have the best physiotherapist you can possibly have. A couple of years ago, running for longer than 20min on anything less than flat, would aggravate my IT bands in a big way. In some races I would cross the finish line walking without bending my knees and in others it would result in a DNF. Now I can run up and down a mountain without issues. And even though I sometimes silently questioned why I was working on my Barbinski reflex (or Barbushka as I like to call it), or why I was lying on the floor several times a day doing a modified version of a clamshell (which you only see rich women do in the gym in a desperate attempt to firm up their bums and fit into that swimsuit), I always religiously followed the exercise program that my physio prescribed. Over this past spring and summer, I would more frequently come into my physio appointment with more than one complaint, hoping that besides the main reason for the appointment, we could also chat about some other issues, like the pain in my ankle, the numb left leg, the incredibly sore butt and hip, or the burning shoulder. And over and over again, my physio would move around my body and tweak this and torque that, without ever mentioning that I would need to schedule a new assessment appointment. I admit that I might overuse this generosity at times, but I also do hold back in my visits. There have been times where I prioritize the aches and pains and pick the two worst ones and have those looked at and then I go home and complain about the pain in the arm (or wherever) that I never mentioned. Having just come out of Raid the North Extreme a few smaller things have popped up and I was really good for two weeks following the prescription of no running, but the other day when I had to explain that my knee caps really hurt when biking and found out that the best fix to the issue was not to bike and not to run up and down any mountains I got this dark sinking feeling in my stomach. What, more rest!?! But I have a training weekend with my team coming up and we were planning an 8hr run and trek, with some biking thrown in too….and we are only about 8 weeks away from the next race!  Isn’t there a magic little exercise that I can do at home to fix this quickly? So even though my appointment was pretty much over, my physio pulls out the needles and gives a loudly cursing patient some tweaking, he tapes up my knee caps and he revised his prescription to “give it a try and you know when to back off”! I love it! Just the fact that I can try it feels better than having to completely rest. How many physios get it in this way?! Part of my success in adventure racing this season is because of my physiotherapist and his commitment to his patients! I owe a huge thank you to Tower Physio’s David Holmes. Thanks for helping me and my team achieve great results!

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