Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Recovery - Part 1

If you have been reading then you know I have been recovery from a pain in the a$$, also know as Piriformis Syndrome.  This post will focus on the background leading up to the injury & some soft tissue massage techniques that I have been using during recovery.  A second post will focus on the exercises & stretches my Physical Therapist has me doing so I can get those darn muscles strong again. 

NOTE:  I am not a doctor or physical therapist and I don't play one on my bloggy blog either.  This post is just me explaining my experiences so maybe you don't have to learn the hard way.  But if you are like me, the hard way is the only way to learn!   Oh yeah, this isn't a sponsored post either.  Nobody sent me anything to test.  I paid for all this crap myself. 

Background:  The first signs started back in July but the pain was more in my hip flexor when I rode.  I told myself to just get through my Oly on August 6th & I will take a break from cycling.  I had a pretty successful race & promptly stopped riding.  In its place I started ramping up my run mileage in preparation for the Iron Horse 1/2 marathon. 

During a 7 mile run in the middle of August I felt the muscle in my butt (yeah, at that time I thought there was only one muscle in your butt, duh) spasm....really badly.  It was so bad that I had to limp/walk the rest of the way home.  I decided to take a self directed 3 weeks off from running.  During this time I went to the Chiropractor, Acupuncturist & had a deep tissue massage.  At the end of 3 weeks I felt no pain.  It was a Wednesday & I had 5 miles on the schedule.  And yes, dumba$$ me tries to run the 5 miles.  Nothing like easing back into.  Well, at about mile 3.5 the butt muscle spasms again & I hobble the rest of the way home.  That afternoon I called UK Runners Clinic.  Just my luck they had an opening the very next day.  That is when I was diagnosed with Piriformis Syndrome. 

At that first visit they told me to take another 3 weeks off & then do a test walk.  They also gave me a bunch of stretches & exercises to do in the meantime.  After the 3 weeks off I did a test walk & still was feeling it bad.  I then made my the call to schedule PT and so started the recovery process. 

Trigger Point Therapy Techniques

Steve & I learned about the foam roller at one of the Endurance Base Camp Clinics at John's in 2009.  These days you can buy foam rollers about anywhere.  We picked up ours at Dick's Sporting Goods a couple years ago.
Don't mind Karma she just thinks the ball is hers to play with
When I first had the muscle spasm I felt I needed something better than the foam roller.  In August I picked up the Trigger Point Grid at John's.

The Grid works great on my IT band, hammies, quads, calfs & back but it couldn't dig into my hip & pirformis the way I needed it to.  After a session with my chiropractor he showed me how to use Lacrosse balls for my injury.  So off I went to get Lacrosse balls.  I entertained my juvenile self by sending my husband a text that said 'I am going to Dick's to get some balls'.  Yep, I may be 40 but act like a teenage boy sometimes. 

See that little pink ball?  That hurts so bad it will make you cry but holy crap does it help!  I bought 3 of those balls.  I have one at home, work & in my gym bag.  I get some odd looks at the gym when people see me put the ball under my butt & roll around on it & make weird faces.  No one asks what I am doing....I think they may be afraid of the answer! 

So here is the lineup -

It drove her nuts not being able to play with that ball!
I also have the stick that is good for rolling out muscles.  If I am lucky, my husband will roll out my neck & shoulders. 

I also have this crazy looking torture hook, aka Theracane, that you can use the ends to dig into a trigger point. It is great for the upper back, neck & shoulders. 

Here is a video that shows the top Foam Roller Exercises: 

Here is a link to Trigger Point Performance & their products:  HERE

The moral of this story is don't wait until you are injured to stretch, roll, & strengthen.  Add it to your daily routine & hopefully you won't end up on the sidelines for months! 


  1. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! I was just headed over here to pick your brain and you are one step ahead of me! I've tried the rolling and been doing the stretching but will need to get myself one of those balls I think! Looking forward to checking out your blog/the links and your next post on exercises!

  2. Geez, you got a lot of those things. I still haven't purchased me one yet but I need to get on that.



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