Tuesday, 30 January 2018

But My Back Feels Fine!

At the beginning of the year when my coach was setting my training plan up for the month, she got in touch to see how I doing generally and what my thoughts were about training. It was around the time I was under the weather, again, and as well as recommending I got checked out by a doctor she also strongly urged me to go and see an osteopath she visits herself, to see if she could shed any light on why I was being struck down so often.

I'd never have thought to have gone to an osteopath. They deal with backs right? My back feels fine! What's she on about? Anyway I gave Lower Earley Osteopaths a call, full of cynicism and phrases like "I'm not sure if this falls under your remit", "don't want to waste your time" and "my back feels fine". However the lovely Emma patiently and kindly explained that she takes more of a holistic approach to women's health, using a combination of lifestyle and exercise advice to complement more traditional osteopathic treatment and that an appointment would certainly be worthwhile. So that was that.

My first appointment was a bit of a wake up call. We started with a chat and a run through of my work. activity and medical history, my stem cell and white blood cell donations, an overview of my diet/supplements, sleep patterns and quality, hormonal and energy fluctuations. Laying it all out on the line like that in itself made me realise things hadn't been quite as stress-free as I'd made myself believe so it was no surprise when I was told that I had put my body under a lot of strain and it is running on reserves. Although not anxious stress, my adrenaline levels have been high for a sustained period of time and unable to fully recover.

Next she looked my my posture. The verdict? My spine is out of kilter towards the bottom and my right shoulder blade rolls forwards pushing some ribs out of alignment and compressing kidneys. My knees roll inwards and some prodding of my legs revealed that my ITB is fraying and a quarter of the size it ought to be! My poor posture is from years of working at a laptop (which I still do) and causing compression of some vital organs isn't allowing them to get as much blood as they need to work effectively which if  left totally unchecked could ultimately lead to autoimmune disease. Just to top it off, if not remedied my ITB could snap leaving me unable to race again. Gulp.

Emma then proceeded to do some work on my spine, cracking and releasing it. She stuck needles in my ITB near the knee and manipulated my kidneys and liver (!) to allow more blood flow. this left me with a feeling somewhere between ache and tingle. Finally she manipulated the base of my head and neck which gave me a snotty nose as things opened up. I also got a big list of "homework":

  • Get my running gait assessed to check for hip hitching
  • Roll my ITB twice daily until cursing her name
  • Try to set up a desk area with USB keyboard and mouse
  • But a peanut for lower back and neck release
  • Stretch my hip flexors daily
  • Pay attention to my posture and concentrate on sitting correctly with shoulder rolling back

The peanut
The appointment had put the fear of God into me and I did get quiet emotional over the next few days. But I'm doing my stretches, rolling (OMFG) and am typing this on a proper keyboard at the dining table as an interim measure. I've also got an appointment to get my gait assessed. On my second visit, things were much less scary. Emma could see some improvements in my posture already which was reassuring. I'm interested to see how quickly improvements with my ITB will happy and what difference all of this will make to my health and energy levels. To say I'm a convert isn't quite true yet but I can certainly see the logic behind what we've discussed. Watch this space to see what happens next!

Have you ever seen an osteopath? Was it for something you didn't think they could help with? Or has there been another "specialist" that helped you for something you wouldn't have originally thought to have approached them for?

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