Pain to performance sounds like an elusive dream, buy this innovative treatment took me from bedridden to hiking Arches National Park in Moab, Utah.
Pain Doesn’t Just Appear
Despite what you might have heard, pain rarely comes out of nowhere. Just like the married couple that ends up divorced. It seems that more often than not, half of the ex-couple had no idea. They felt like it came out of nowhere.
Pain takes years. Small issues, small aspects of neglect, small oversights … they all have an impact.
Just like a married couple after years of small issues can suffer great pain and end up divorced; the same is true with our physical bodies.
Hip Pain – Trochanteric Bursitis
My pain showed up in my right hip. The accurate description of the source of my pain is called trochanteric bursitis. On the side of the hip is a bony surface called the greater trochanter where three important structures all come together:
- The Trochanteric Bursa – a fluid-filled sac that protects the bone
- The Gluteus Muscle
- The Iliotibial Band – called the IT band
The problem and pain I was experiencing was due to overuse injury to the bursa.
Foam Roll the IT Band
One very common suggestion for treating pain and discomfort along the IT band is myofascial release. This can be done with either a foam roller, a tennis ball, or through focused massage.
In the past I have found relief from myofascial release, but this pain was different. I had to be careful, gentle, when rolling the area. If I pushed too much the area just got more painful and more tight.
My Week – Pain to Performance
We had a normal weekend where we got out for a little hiking. Monday morning I got in a short kettlebell workout. Then during the day I did some kettlebell swings and used the stairs.
For me … nothing out of the ordinary. Nothing extreme by anyone’s definition.
But something was different. By the middle of the morning I could feel my right hip tightening up. It was getting more painful.
I went home … sick. I called in a sick day. It was painful and it got worse.
Tuesday morning I was able to get in to an appointment with a traditional physical therapist. They tried manual manipulation of the area and worked on trigger points. The goal was to alleviate tension in the area.
The results … more pain. Not good.
That evening I … found relief, relief that would take me from pain to performance.
From Pain to Performance
Too often the focus of both clients and practitioners is just to get rid of the pain.
Oh I can understand and relate.
But life is too short. There is life outside the cubicle to enjoy.
We had decided that the coming weekend would be a good time to escape to Moab, Utah. Hiking Moab and the world famous Arches National Park.
I was motivated. I wanted to not only fix the pain, but find a way to recover the performance I had before.
Dr. Higgins did it. He didn’t just start working on pain points. He wanted to see me walk.
That’s right before doing anything he wanted to see me perform. He carefully observed as I walked away from him and returned toward him. Then he said, “Okay, let me see you perform a squat.”.
Does he not know that I am in pain here? Still I knew he had a reason, a method behind the madness.
Based on watching my legs move during walking and squatting, he was able to identify the issue.
The Issue – rotated femur
The problem wasn’t trigger points longing for additional attention. The problem came from an outwardly rotated femur.
He adjusted, by focusing on my foot, ankle, and knee. Then he had me walk and squat again. It felt different, I could tell he saw a difference as well.
Performance Might Involve Pain
I will not lie, the treatment that Dr. Higgins performed next was a bit painful. It was painful enough that I reminded him that he was within arms reach and I could inflict bodily harm in return. Oh it was painful.
But once he knew the joints were moving properly, then and only then, did it make sense to work on releasing the tension in the muscles. He applied pressure to the trigger points while moving the leg through a focused range of motion. Again and again.
Eighteen Hours Later — NO PAIN
I awoke the next day not really feeling much different. I was stiff from sleeping. Dr. Higgins left me with homework; three fairly simple exercises to perform. I followed through, like a good student.
To my surprise my hip started moving and feeling a little better. As the day progressed the pain kept retreating.
It kept retreating to the point that around 18 hours after a single treatment the pain was gone.
Moab here we come …
Escape to Moab Utah
Don’t Get Stuck
If I have learned anything from Dr. Higgins it is that there are options. The body is an amazing intertwined system that can adapt and adjust. Perhaps more importantly, it can recover. It is possible to recover from pain, even long standing pain that developed through years of small issues. It is possible to recover from pain and enjoy performance.
Get over your pain, move to performance, and get out there to enjoy life’s adventures.