Archive for February 11th, 2013

Action heroes aren’t supposed to have recurring hip and upper thigh pain.

They’re supposed to leap into action at any whoop, sniffle or snort of impending danger.  Their fine-tuned bodies are a marvel of physical grace as they escape the jaws of doom or give bad guys a godawful pounding.

Me, I haven’t felt so graceful lately.  And I haven’t been under mortal physical threat. Which is a good thing ’cause on some days my left hip hurts while other days it’s just fine.

Remember how a few months ago I told you that I was in physical therapy for my left hip?  The therapy helped as did some nutrients.  Lately I’ve been a lot better, and that’s a relief because (1) I really, truly hate being sick or injured or physically limited in any way, and (2) Since the new year began I would have to meet a new deductible of $500 before my health insurance would start picking up most but not all of my therapy tab.

So I’m fixing myself on my own time.

And I do seem to have turned a corner.  I learned the hard way that babying my hip only makes it worse.  See, I’m an epee fencer, right?  Since I’m right-handed that means moving in a kind of crab-like weird way with my right leg in front, and doing lunges pretty much only on my right side, and so on.

Well, that kind of movement can throw any body out of whack.  Hang around fencers and you’ll hear a lot of chatting about trips to their chiropractors, doctors, and/or physical therapists.

So what I now do on my own are a lot of lunges on my left side, and I’ll go up flights of stairs using only my left leg to climb.  Of course I also do my little exercises that my therapist gave me to strengthen the little muscles I never knew existed.

But guess what’s the most important element in fixing my body? Stretching.  And I mean extreme stretching.  I mean stretching my left leg/hip from six to ten times a day.  Stretch till those tight little muscles and tendons and tissue and whatever else is in there scream in agony and then… slowly… relax.  And I can get deeper into the stretch.  And suddenly the pain in my hip/leg goes away and I can walk around normally again and not limp like Quasimodo.

See, whenever there’s been an injury to a joint (and my injury was cumulative over a long period), muscles around that joint shorten to protect it, and ligaments can retract, and the joint can become compressed.  I think this is called Adaptive Muscle Shortening, though I wouldn’t swear to it.  Sitting so much at my job hasn’t helped either, because that 90 degree position my body is in shortens some muscles.  One stretch I can do at work calls for lying on a big production table with one leg bent up and the other dangling over the edge. Obviously I don’t do it when co-workers are around.  Or when I’m wearing a skirt.

Anyway, my point is my body is slowly getting back to normal, but it’s taking a lot of effort.  How about you? I know some of you are in great shape but others have bad old limiting injuries.  Have you had any you’ve been able to completely heal?  I wish you the best if you’re hurting too.