A proper treatment plan is a key to staying active despite chronic pain- Staying in the Game

“I can’t believe the progress I have made.” This is what she said as I entered the treatment and examination room.

The timing was perfect. The Beach to Beacon 10-kilometer road race was the next day. She felt very confident she was now going to have a good race. She told me her goal and she wanted to set a personal record, even though her training was hindered.

She gave me a substantial history of right lower back pain and hamstring issues. It started a year ago, when she ran the Beach to Beacon. During the race she pulled her hamstring.

Prior to last year’s race she was having pain. It was aggravated by lying in bed on one side or the other too long. It would make her hips ache.

The pain was interfering with her running. Sitting at her desk at work also caused pain on her right sit bone, which is part of the pelvic bone.

She had tried a number of different treatments. She had a cortisone shot in her spine, physical therapy, acupuncture and sports massage. She was somewhat better but still in chronic pain.

She feels she is too young to feel this way. She wants to be active.

She can’t remember a single incident that lead to her chronic pain issues. She does give me a history of several sprained ankles.

I examined her and found her to be very fit. She has a slight bow in her legs, the left more pronounced than the right. She had muscle spasm in her right lower back and buttocks muscles. Her pelvis was rotated with a locked sacroiliac joint.

I could feel scar tissue in her right hamstring from when she pulled the muscle last year. I also found substantial loss of range of motion of her right ankle. Neurological testing for disc and sciatic nerve issues were all negative.

My diagnosis was mechanical joint dysfunction of her ankle and pelvis. This was causing motor and muscle imbalance, and it was the cause of her chronic pain.

I needed to restore the motion to her ankle. This change would alter her running gait and put tremendous stress on muscles like her hamstring. I also needed to balance her pelvis.

I manipulated her ankle and got an excellent release. I also used a special table that flexes and distracts the lumbar spine and pelvis. This helped balance her pelvis and unlock her sacroiliac joint.

I also performed deep tissue cross friction massage to breakup the scar tissue in her hamstring. She was given exercises to do at home.

She started care four weeks prior to the race. Her pelvis was more level and balanced. Her ankle range of motion was much better. Her hamstring still had a knot in it from the old pull, but it was less pronounced.

I got an email from her with an update on her results. Even though the day was very humid and her training was limited prior to the race, she broke her personal record. She was very pleased.

She was a little sore after the race. This she expected. She is going to take a week off to recover.

Chronic pain can be so frustrating for athletes and non athletes alike. It interferes with work, play and family life.

There are many causes to chronic joint and muscle pain. Finding the cause and developing a treatment plan can yield tremendous results.