Gravity. An interesting phenomenon. Remember those telephone books made from a billion trees that people used to use to look up contact information? I’ve been doing a lot of nerdy research lately and according to one source, the force of gravity on our skeletons is equivalent to having about 10 telephone books stacked on our heads. That’s a lot of force! That force can ultimately distort skeletal alignment, which is where my frustrations begin. Grrrrrravity.
I really hate complaining about pain. I’ve got a relatively high pain tolerance, so I can usually bear it, but feeling hurt for weeks on end is starting to wear me down. It started out with some sort of hamstring injury, which involved shooting pain up and down my right leg. And just as that pain started to disappear, a new sort of pain developed on my left side affecting the glutes, hip flexor, groin and knee. The weird thing about this new injury is that I could still perform well, but afterwards I paid the consequence. Mainly limping around, cringing every time I got up from my desk or out of my car, and waking up every damn time I turned around in bed (and I turn around far too many times to be considered normal). I had finally had enough of this gimpy lifestyle, so I reached out to friends to figure out who I might be able to see who could a.) diagnose me, and b.) ease the pain. I got contacts for chiropractors, massage therapists and physical therapists & in the end I decided to see a physical therapist, since I was able to pick up a last minute appointment from someone who had canceled.
Going to the appointment meant missing one of my key workouts, which would mean a big red (did not complete/follow plan) in my training program. One of my friends sent me a text and said “I got many red training days last year and djfkadjlk gets on you.” Gulp. It made me so mad to get off the plan, but I knew I had to do something, and soon. Otherwise, I’d be doing a whole lot of nothing for an extended period of time. Way off plan.
After answering a billion questions upon arriving at my appointment, my early diagnoses was that the pain was most likely originating from my pelvis/low back. I was given a heating pad for my lower back and for my knee, asked if I wanted to turn off the lights during the heating period (I said yes with no hesitation), and then I had too much time to think about things. This is when serious doubts about my future goals finally crept into my mind. Is this really what I should be doing? I didn’t even experience doubt after swimming 25 yards and panting by the end of it during my first swim lesson. If I was planning on doing triathlons, I would have to swim a lot further and be able to bike and run afterwards.
After the heating period, the physical therapist came in and told me flat out that there were no guarantees about diagnosing what was causing me pain. He was carrying his pelvis prop and started explaining to me how complicated the human body and mainly pelvis can be. Throughout evolution, females have adapted to have a little more flex in their pelvis’ because apparently it becomes important for it to flex a little during childbirth… Even events such as the onset of a cold or during your cold, your pelvis can tilt. I was just getting a cold. Maybe this was it? Oh, and the simple act of gravity can put substantial pressure on the pelvis, which happens to be our center of gravity.
|Ever wondered what your pelvis looks like? Well here ya go! The pElvis prop.|
After the demo, he began his examination. Let me warn you, if you ever go in to the physical therapist and suspect pelvic issues, make sure you empty your bladder first. With lots of prodding around my bladder (:O) and after moving my legs around in some strange ways, he was quick to tell me that a.) my left side was higher than my right side, and b.) my left side was very tight, which may have indicated low grade muscle spasms (a mechanism of defense against further muscle overuse and injury). Before actually doing any adjustments, he put his arm between my knees and told me to squeeze my knees inward as hard as I could. There was a moment of hesitation, which we both noted and he said that this wasn’t normal. However, after his magical adjustments (contorting my legs in weird ways and pulling my left leg downwards), I did the knee squeeze again but this time there was no hesitation and there was a lot more strength. I was also very loose. The most loose I’ve felt in a really long time. Amazingly, he told me I only had to take the day off from exercise because it takes your body about 6 hours to learn this new position. Tomorrow, I could get back at it again. He also warned me that I would most likely be very sore.
As I proceeded throughout the day at work, I also noticed that it didn’t hurt anymore to stand up from a seated position and I had only a slight limp that was fading away. My first night I woke up every time I turned around, not from pain, but from fear that my pelvis would pop back to its previous state and I would be in pain again.
The true test came during my longer run. I decided to run without headphones and instead focus on how I was transferring my weight. There were many times during the run that I had to try and loosen up my left leg. I did notice pain on my left hand side, but somehow it felt different than before. After 40 minutes it disappeared. And afterwards I was very sore. But symmetrical sore. And there was no pain, just the normal muscle fatigue.
Throughout this ordeal, I may have been a little OCD is researching ways to prevent pelvic shift and learning about gravity’s effect on the skeletal system, but ultimately realized for the most part it’s out of my control. Without gravity, we wouldn’t be able to run, our skeletal and muscular systems wouldn’t be as developed, we wouldn’t have balance, and our hearts would be smaller in size because it would be a lot easier to pump blood upwards towards the brain. I may need some extra words of encouragement as I get back at it again, but who said reaching a goal would be easy, right? This is only a very inconvenient obstacle that better go away for good.