Apr 13, 2011 2:52 PM
I wanted to share my recent experience with the Graston technique in case anyone with pain similar to mine thinks it will help them.
Up until October 2010, I was running about 25 miles per week and doing various core work exercises. One day immediately after a 4 mile tempo run, my son needed a ride to school ("sorry mom, I overslept!). It's only 4 miles away but about 80 minutes round trip in stop and go Brooklyn traffic and a manual transmission car. Between not having an opportunity to stretch after my run, to putting alot of pressure on the left glute/hamstring every time I pressed the clutch pedal, I developed extreme tightness in the left hip, hamstring, and that famous butt pain that many runners are plagued with.
I tried yoga, stretching, heat, cold. foam roller, NSAIDs, sitting on one of those memory pillows at my desk, but nothing seemed to relieve this pain. Sometimes it felt as though the pain was coming from inside my thighbone, sometimes the pain felt like it was migrating to my lower back and right hip. The tightness in my hamstring affected my stride. I reduced my running to about 12 miles per week and I did low impact step aerobic tapes and core work instead.
By chance, I read about Active Release Technique on Active.com and I actually found a two man stretch on Youtube which I asked my daughter to do with me. (Search Youtube for "Fix your own hip pain with the Rossiter System"). That stretch did wonders for me in just 5 minutes! I was sold. I then went online to search for a therapist who was certified in ART. I found one not too far from my house and I was able to get an appointment for the very next day.
Dr. Sindo was great. I told him I found him from the Active Release Technique website and I told him about the Youtube video and he was actually interested in hearing about it! What I thought were tight hamstrings he diagnosed as weak hamstrings and weak glutes! He proved this to me by having me lay prone on my stomach and lifting my legs one at a time...first with legs straight, then with legs bent. Also, my range of motion was actually normal and I have good flexibility. Where I did have tightness was in the IT band and the plantar flexor muscles in my calves and feet! He said he could do ART on my legs but he also thought I could benefit from the Graston technique. I wasn't really familiar with it but I was up for anything that could help me. I'm not going to lie and say it was a pleasant experience because my eyes were tearing my hands were clenched into tight fists and I was a little bruised afterwards. You also have to put all modesty aside when the therapist goes near the gluteus medius and maximus...just so ya know. WOW! I left that first session last Friday feeling almost as good as I felt last summer. There was a tiny trace of "tightness" when I went for a run the very next day but it didn't impair my running at all and I really felt good for the first time in a very long time.
After so many months, I now have a better understanding of why I'm plagued with these lower body muskuloskeletal issues. I understand that knots and adhesions in the muscle fascia need to be taken care of because they can have an adverse effect on blood flow and circulation and they can prevent you from healing properly. Also, sitting all day at a desk without getting up to stretch or walk around is a recipe for disaster for athletes (and for regular folks too). I've also learned from my reading that poor running form can lead to weak glutes and hams.
Just a few days ago, at age 48, I thought I'd enter my golden years in chronic pain and possibly, I'd have to give up running. Now I have hope that these running injuries won't get the best of me. The Doctor said I could come back every one or two months for maintenance if I'd like (I was already planning to!).
I'm sharing this because I've read many threads where folks are suffering from lower body issues similar to mine and they haven't gotten better after months of various therapies. I would definitely recommend the Graston Technique.
My therapist is based in the Coney Island/Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn. He's Dr. Daniel Sindo (www.smpt.us)