Wednesday, January 5, 2011

No Pain, No Gain?

ART anyone? Active Release Technique is the latest physiotherapy treatment I am trying. I've heard good things about it from just about everyone I've spoken to, and it was recommended to me by my RMT as well. So finally, I bit the bullet and made an appointment. I wasn't really looking forward to it because I'd also heard it is REALLY painful, but I thought it was worth a try.

If you read my post a few weeks ago about my first attempts at skate skiing, you'll know that my chronic groin pain from old scar tissue, has been flaring up to the point of limiting movement in certain activities. My RMT thought that not only was my quad involved, but I also had tight psoas and adductors. She suggested I try ART to release the psoas and see if that would help the problem. She thought that a chiropractor trained in ART should be able to get rid of the scar tissue and hopefully, the pain.

At my first appointment with the chriopractor, she listened to my story and did a few movements tests to see where the problems arose and she told me that the scar tissue is at the spot where the Pectineous attaches to the hip bone.

But she also says that Psoas and Adductors are very tight and so that is what she worked on. I snagged these photos from an awesome website called Get Body Smart, where you can look at, and learn about, all of the various muscles in your body.

She had me lay on my side with my lower leg straight and my sore upper leg bent half way at the knee, and then she dug into my side, close to the hip bone in order to find and isolate the psoas muscle. She "pinned" the muscle down, had me bring my knee closer to my chest to make sure she had it, and then I had to slowly straighten my leg and bring it back behind me while she held the muscle in place. This was nothing short of excrutiating.

After, she pinned the muscle again, slightly further down and we went through the procedure again. She did this about 5-6 times, inching her way down the muscle. It hurt. A lot. I had to hang onto the table and swear and by the time she was finished, I was sweating like crazy. The good news is that the pain stopped when she let go.

Then she did a similar thing with the adductor, holding the muscle in place while she had me move my leg through a series of motions. It hurt too, but not nearly as much as the psoas.

Since there was still a lot of scar tissue and the muscle was quite "ripply", she took out her medieval torture.... er... I mean "Graston" tools, and proceeded to rub them up and down my stretched adductor and pectineus muscles. This was also a little uncomfortable, in a burning muscle kind of way. And then, 15 minutes after we started, she was done.

She said I'd likely be bruised for a few days (I was only slightly), and that I could do all of my normal activities, so long as nothing hurt and I found I was able to run, ride, and ski as normal. I still couldn't do the regular yoga though, at least not the stuff that stretches that hip.

Between sessions, I was to do 3 stretches, 3 times a day, and hold each one for a full minute. (Psoas, adductor, and quad stretches).

I came back for more, about 4 days later, expecting it to be a little less painful because I was better now, but each time she dug a little deeper. Ugh. This time, she had to bring in her assistant to move my leg because I was unable to do it myself (it hurt too much).

I have a 4th appointment tomorrow and one more booked for Thursday. Hopefully by then I'll be all fixed up. I'd like to say I'm already feeling better but to be honest, my range of motion in that hip still hasn't improved. I'll know I'm better when I bring my foot up to tie my shoes without pain.

That's all for now folks. :)


Pamela Hutchins said...

I had great results with ART for ITBS (knee/thigh), and decent results with it for plantar fasciitis, although I think they also used something called Grafton? The only difference between ART & Grafton was that ART hurt like a bitch and Grafton hurt like a mother f**ker. Sorry. You can't use polite words for that kind of pain. Worse than childbirth. Worth it tho. Orthopedist told me for both injuries to "quit running." WTF? NO WAY. Bring on the pain of ART & Grafton, and run girl run, I say! Good luck to you. Hope it works great.

Kabekona Tri Girl said...

Hey, it'll all be worth it if it works, and if it doesn't? You learned something and hopefully there will be something else to try. On a side note, I met someone on FB thru your podcast, she lives near my inlaws cabin so we're going to run this summer. :) thanks!

take care and get well!