July 15, 2018 – Am I pushing myself hard enough?

Let’s see. Today’s Sunday. Here’s a quick recap of what the last few days looked like:

Thursday

Before heading to the pool, I did the couch stretch on my right side, and then did some posterior muscle activation to hopefully teach my right psoas to freakin’ relax. Performed glute bridges, side lying leg lefts, and then some assisted single and double leg Romanian deadlifts.

Tried the sitting leg curl machine for the first time (in years, anyway). Could only curl 10 lbs on my LEFT (weak) side. Good grief. I would have tried less than that, but it was the lowest the machine would let you go. I mean, the 10 lb weight was literally welded to the bar. So. Did about 3 sets of 5 and left it at that. Kept it slow and gentle, because the last thing I want to do is pull or tear that hamstring. As I slowly performed the movement, I could feel pain as the muscle shortened and lengthened. It wasn’t horrible pain, and seemed unavoidable considering the lack of use that muscle’s had lately. Hamstrings are one of the most common things to injure. Amazing that hasn’t happened already in the craziness of this past year. It’s gotten visibly smaller and floppy.

On my RIGHT stronger side, I did 30 lbs. Is that normal? Seems low. That side seems chronically tight and tired every day these days though, due to it overcompensating for my other side. Decided not to do any complete sets on my right side, because I’m not sure if stressing that side is the way to go. Again, I don’t want to pull the doggone muscle. The thing feels rock hard most of the time anyway. And as I mentioned, tired, like its full of lactic acid.

Went to the pool and did my usual exercises.

Friday

Note: Right side glute med definitely sore. Did I overdo it?

Since I wasn’t sore from Thursday’s hamstring curling, I decided to try the machine again. At first, I set the machine on 10 lbs for my LEFT hamstring, cringed in preparation for the pain, and curled my leg down.

I nearly flew off the seat.

No pain. Huh. After a moment of looking bewildered, I increased the weight to 20 lb. Performed a curl. Only a fraction of the pain from the day before, along with the normal sensation of my hamstring struggling with the increased resistance For kicks (no pun intended), I then increased the weight to 30 lbs and performed one for two curls. Was tough, with a little more pain, although still not as much as the day before.

In the end, I set it at 20 lbs, delighted that I was able to double the resistance in one day. Performed about 3 sets of 10 lbs. Definitely tough, but only a little painful.

Just as a test, I set the resistance to 30 lbs for my right (stronger) side. Definitely felt easier than the day before. What the deal? I increased it to 40 lbs, it felt appropriately difficult. However, I again decided not to perform even a full set on that side because it feels chronically overworked.

After that, I did some bicep curls for fun in front of the mirror because they’re fun. Also, with my forearm crutches and crawling-like exercises I do throughout the day for my muscle slings, it feels like I’m constantly working out the back of my arms and back. I don’t want to ignore my biceps. Also, I’m just a bit vain about my biceps. Always have been. They look nice, and it feels darn good to feel a little bit positive about one part of my body.

After that I hobbled to the pool and did my usual exercises. Jacuzzi afterwards.

That night, I used the EMS (electronic muscle stimulation) unit on my left bicep to hopefully help it recover fast. In fact, I used one of the “muscle recovery” programs.

Saturday

Right side glute medius still a bit sore.

Left hamstring definitely sore from the day before. Feeling it.

Spent a fun day with the in-laws, so I never made it to the gym/pool. However, they have a jacuzzi, so I used that and did some light range-of-motion exercises. Felt awesomeย not to lose a day of physical therapy. Am I getting obsessed with my rehab? Yes. Has it taken over my life? Perhaps. But you know what else takes over your life? Being in constant pain and limping everywhere. So the way I see it, I might as well attempt to take some control over the situation.

Even though I didn’t officially “exercise” per se, I found myself physically exhausted by the end of the day. We took the boat out, and apparently, walking from their back deck down the sloped yard, down the down to the boat, and then back was alot on my body. I did a total of 3 laps, with 2 of them being on one crutch. The last lap I had to use two crutches because my legs were just plain tired. And then after eating on the back deck, I attempted to help clear some of the dishes, and seriously struggled after a few trips from the back deck to the inside kitchen.

That night back at home, my hubby was amused at the sight of me sprawled on the couch, barely able to keep my eyes open (it was like 9:30pm). I was literally in and out of consciousness, mouth open and occasionally babbling. Seriously. I was also sleep deprived from the previous two nights, so yes, I was a mess.

Sunday

Glute medius still a bit sore. Dagnabbit. Seriously wondering if I overdid it. Did I put more stress on a muscle that’s already over-compensating and overstressed?

This is all such a mind-game.

Slept like a newborn-baby, so feeling good in that respect. My left hamstring is sore, but that’s not a bad thing. After a year of bizarre, severe pain on my left side, it’s nice to experience some normal DOMS. This may be a good thing. Perhaps I should incorporate seated leg curls into my routine 2-3 times a week. I wonder if I can try the movement with the foot turned in and out to target different areas of my hamstrings? Dunno yet. Don’t want to hurt myself.

Another thought: I don’t have extra pain from being on my feet so much yesterday at the in-law’s, so I wonder if I should push myself to get used to using just one crutch when I’m outside the house? One of my goals is to get down to one crutch all the time (as opposed to just inside the house), feel no pain while doing it, and not have to hold back while putting weight on my left side. At present, I can go short distances on one crutch, and most of the time I experience muscle pain in the groin/adductor area.

But it makes sense I’d need to go down to one crutch if I want to go down to one crutch. Ha. However, I don’t want to do it too soon or grind down the joint. Or disturb the stem cells that were placed there a mere month ago. I was trying to wait until I was in less pain, but maybe in order to get in less pain I’ll need to increase my activity level…which would mean more pain until my body adjusts.

However, I also want to appropriately push myself. Hmm. I’ll give it some thought.

The Role of Tissue Work for Pain Relief?

Apparently, much of my groin pain that has me limping may be due to trigger points/scar tissue.

Using my electric massager with the trigger point nozzle directly on the painful area while standing, hip hiking, and lunging, I was able to loosen up the area a bit and relieve some of the pain.

I think this is something I need to do everyday. It may be as important as my aqua therapy.

Good grief. Another thing to add to the to-do list. But totally worth if it leads to a level of pain reduction that lets me limp less. But it’s more than just the limping. It’s unlocking that area. Doing a simple hip-hike is extremely difficult at the moment, which carries over into how I move in general. It’s like I can’t move smoothly within my hips. I can’t use all those muscles, because pain hits me in the inner groin, and then my nearby muscles shut down. They don’t even want to contract.

Heck, maybe that’s why hamstring is so mushy. Perhaps I have some activation there, but due to the way in which I walk (er, limp), I’m just not mechanically moving in such a way where it gets used.

The fun never ends.

The Daily Grind – July 11, 2018

Whew, my muscles are a bit sore. Today will have to a gentle recovery day.

Do the couch stretch x2 for 5 minutes each

Dagnabbit, I struggle doing this twice a day. I just forget.

Then its off to Aqua Therapy

Take it easy today. Get circulation to your joints and muscles, but don’t tax them. They need to heal from the last two days’ excercion, for cryin’ out loud.

  • 10 minutes of “striders” in the pool – taking long, big, gentle steps
  • Hit the jacuzzi, relax, due some tissue work, as well as range of motion stuff.

Tissue Work

With my handy electric trigger point massager. Move around and do range of motion movements while you do it.

PEMF

Aim for twice, at 10 minutes at a time. Frequency 7-12.

EMS Unit

On left hamstrings. Also, right glute (as they are sore). Use the “recovery mode setting 3.”

Enzyme Therapy throughout the day

Wobenzym N + Serrapeptase + Nattokinase x 3

Strategic Sitting

Sitting on the couch with my feet on the ground, and then leaning forward and back engages my internal and external obliques, along with glutes and hamstrings. This involves leaning way forward, and way back.

I do this while I work on my computer, so I’m essentially combining light, gentle physical activity while working.

Nutrition

Avoid inflammatory stuff. Eat well.

Might go to a celebration with lots of ice cream. I love ice cream, doggonit. I may break down and eat some.

Notes from the Day

I’m feeling yesterday’s workout, but it’s not a bad feeling. Sore. My right glute is the most sore.

Strategic sitting and aย regression of the Romanian Deadlift – Discoveries!

So, I started this yesterday, and I like it. It seems I’m able to train, engage, and exercise my core, hamstrings, and glutes. Better yet, when I get up after I do this, my left side feels stronger, and my left groin feels less painful.

Hmmm. Okay. I think I need to work this into my workday.

I will say that leaning forward while firmly pressing my feet into the ground causes some somewhat painful sensations in my left glute and hamstring area. Not sure if it’s bad though. Kind of feels like my body needs it. In essence, it feels like a super-regressed form of a Romanian Deadlife/hip hinge. I haven’t been able to engage/activate my glutes/hamstrings in this range of motion for months, so I think they need it.

More on the possible regression of the Romanian Deadlift. Woot! Although the standard Romanian Deadlift was recommended to me in order to ease my screaming adductor/groin pain, I’ve been unable to perform it. Hurts too much. However, sitting with my left leg extended and moving forward and backwards while making suer to press my foot into the floor seems to activate the hamstrings and glutes in a similar way. These muscles complain while I do the movement, but not in a way that causes me excessive concern.

Isometric Exercises – I should do more of these

I should really do more of these, focusing on my hamstrings and glutes. I do some of these while sitting with my legs stretched out in front of me on the couch, and pressing my heel into the fabric of the cushion to activate my glutes and hamstrings. Studies have shown that isometric holds can indeed build strength.

 

The Daily Grind – July 10, 2018

Do the couch stretch for 8 minutes

Dagnabbit, I struggle doing this twice a day. I just forget.

Then activate your muscles with gentle land exercises

  • Glute bridges
  • Side lying leg lifts – right side ONLY
  • Assisted Romanian deadlift movement – right side only
  • Assisted downward dog movement using couch arm

Then its off to Aqua Therapy

Let’s replicate yesterday, because while I got some muscle pain/exhaustion in the pool, I felt pretty darn good after getting out of the jacuzzi. My elevated muscle pain resolved quickly.

  • Use the yellow band again while walking
  • left leg swinging exercises (forward and back/side to side).
  • Walking exercises: normal walking, wide stance animal walking, and also side to side walking
  • Found some handy hand floaties, the size of large cookies. Used those for extra resistance while walking. Talk about a progression. It was tough.
  • Did some kicking with the noodles for support. Kicked harder than I ever have in the past. Totally felt that burn.
  • Jacuzzi afterwards. Really needed it.

Tissue Work

With my handy electric trigger point massager. Move around and do range of motion movements while you do it.

PEMF

Did it once for 10 minutes at a time. Frequency 7-12.

EMS Unit

I should try on my left hamstrings to try to improve my brain’s connection with them. Those things are darn floppy, although a little harder than a couple weeks ago. But still.

Enzyme Therapy throughout the day

Wobenzym N + Serrapeptase + Nattokinase

Nutrition

Avoid inflammatory stuff. Eat well.

Notes from the Day

This morning I am standing a bit straighter. I can feel my glute medius on my RIGHT side (stronger side) kicking in more. And on my LEFT side (painful) side trying. That’s all I ask, that it try.

If I stand up all the way straight, I can feel my glute medius kick in on both sides.

In addition, while sitting in a comfy lawn chair on the back deck while on the phone, I found myself doing light movements. I can’t even call them exercises. Just mindful movements, such as slightly leaning back and flexing my transverse abdominis on each side. Then together, trying to make the effort even. It’s been a struggle to wake up the left side, but I’m finally feeling it kick in. I also lifted each leg and stretched it out straight forward. Sometimes I would lean forward and see how far I can put my head between my knees. It looked like I was hyperventilating, but oh well.

Then I would sit up and slowly lean back, kind of like a partial reverse sit up. Then I would pull myself forward, upright. This particular motion I’m only recently able to do. Hard to believe I’ve gone a year not being able to do a sit up because it would feel like my psoas/groin would light on fire.

Fidgeting is becoming my thing. My neighbors must think I’m nuts.

Then, when I went to stand and slowly straighten (still a challenge to stand straight and quickly), I felt more stable. And taller. And a bit more light on my feet.

Interesting.

For me, alot of it’s about playing with movement and playing it by feel. I don’t really sit still anymore. As most of my pain is in the left hip/groin area, if I find a movement causesย  me pain while sitting, I have to investigate it further. Sometimes, the muscle doesn’t want to lengthen because it just hasn’t moved in such a way in a long time. If I have my hand held electric massager with me, I’ll use it on the area that hurts, while gently trying to lengthen the muscle at the same time. If I can lengthen the muscle, I’ll then do some isometric holds to re-educate my brain on how to use it. Then I’ll shorten the muscle, and then lengthen it again, all while applying the massager. Often the pain will move, and I’ll try to follow it with the massager. I imagine there has to be alot of messed up scar tissue in there. Often, at the end of it all, I will have regain some range of motion, woot! Then I have to work on activating it throughout the day in order to cement it into my body’s memory.

But I also have to know when NOT to stretch a muscle, such as if it’s already being stretched and pulled due to the pesky rotation of my pelvis. This I kind of play be ear as well. In general, I don’t do any extreme stretching on the painful side.

As I get and move around in the afternoon, I noticed my left side tolerating more weight. Heck, a handful of times with my crutch on the right side, my left heel strikes the ground and roll’s through to the toes like normal. I nearly lose my mind.

Down the line, it would be fantastic to only need one crutch and be able to comfortably put my weight on that left leg…because then, it will be so much easier to restrengthen that side. I’d be able to somewhat comfortably put weight on it, strengthen the muscles even further, and focus on good walking form.

Then, I’d be that much closer to not need the crutch at all…

Man, I’m tired by the end of the day. Muscles are tired. I think the mix of land and water exercises did it.

Some symptoms coming from “good side”. Who would have thought.

Doggonit. My right side needs work.

So apparently my (mostly) non-symptomatic side RIGHT glute medius may be weak, lazy, and lengthened. Great. And here I thought that was the “strong” side. Well, it’s at least stronger than my left side.

So in addition to “couch stretches” for my tight psoas on the right side, I’ll need to add side-lying leg lifts. I should probably do some other other glute activation in that area, a la Upright Health’s recommendation.

The sequence would look something like this, twice a day:

  • 5min: Couch stretch on right side, using electric massager on the quads/psoas-ish area
  • Right side glute bridge
  • Right side side-lying leg lifts
  • Right side assisted Romanian deadlift

In a way, I should be happy part of my solution lies in strengthening my right side, since it’s far, far easier to do these exercises on my right side anyway. It’s just…who would have thought the side that doesn’t hurt as much could be such a key component to the other side’s dysfunction?

Perhaps I should cherry-pick exercises from The FAI FIX for my RIGHT side. Eh? Eh? They already mentioned the side lying leg lifts and glute bridge, for example.

Time to tackle the leg lefts for my LEFT side

Additionally, I should start working on the dreaded lying leg lifts (while I’m laying on my back) to strengthen the LEFT side psoas. I think it’s gained quite a bit of strength compared to how it used to be (could barely lift my left leg an two inches while standing), but I still struggle with lying leg lift, so there’s that. Granted, it gotten easier (I can get just barely an inch or two up off the ground when laying, and that’s HUGE progress), but still. It’s a struggle.

An overview:

Here’s an important part of the dysfunction we’re looking at:

Right psoas/iliacus OVERACTIVE/TIGHT
Right gluteus medius WEAK/LAZY/LENGTHENED

Left psoas/illicaucs WEAK/LAZY/LENGTHENED
Left gluteus medius TIGHT/SHORT (but probably also weak and atrophied).