Since we last talked running, I've had four physical therapy appointments in the span of just one week. It feels good to finally feel like I'm doing something to help my back recover.
The place I'm going for PT is Body Mechanics, which is conveniently located less than a mile from where I live and also from where I work. It was highly recommended to me by several runners who I greatly trust so I felt really good about making an appointment with them. I felt it was important to work with someone who understands runners because the last thing I wanted was someone who would tell me that I can't run for XX weeks. Although I can't run the way I did before my injury, I'm still trying to at least maintain some semblance of fitness so that when I'm able to train hard again I'll be in a better position to do so.
The first few days of PT I got off easy and didn't really have any at-home exercises to do besides a cat/cow type exercise and massaging/stretching my lower back through my abdomen area. I also started sleeping with a pillow pushed up against my sit bones.
Starting this week I have more at-home exercises to do. In addition to the ones from last week, I'm doing a core strengthening exercise as well as one that will hopefully help re-align my back.
yesterday's appointment we tried dry needling, which seemed to
really help! If you've never had dry needling, it is the oddest
sensation. It doesn't hurt when the needle goes in, but after a few seconds you feel peculiar twinges - almost like a vibration - going through the area. And it hurts! But pain is temporary and it's nothing as bad as the back pain I've felt on some days. The best thing is that I
instantly felt more mobile than I've felt in quite awhile so I think it
was a success. My PT explained it usually takes a few sessions for the best results. Since I feel like the first session went well I'm looking forward to seeing how I feel after the next few.
As for training, I've been really listening to my body and if it tells me I need to take a rest day, I do it without question. So I haven't been getting in my usual 6 days of running per week but I've averaged around 30 miles per week, which I think is decent for an injured runner. I've been able to do this by really backing off pace when necessary. For example, I've noticed faster strides irritate my back so I've stopped doing them. Unfortunately gym work is out of the question right now but I've been using the time I would normally spend at the gym to work on my PT exercises.
Being an injured runner requires a lot of faith and belief that things will get better. I've become a bit soft these past two months - gaining 5-8 pounds will do that to you! - but I'm trusting that I'll recover and be back to my usual tough training self soon. Focus on the positive and push the doubts aside!
Tell me: How do you stay positive when training isn't going your way? Also, have you tried dry needling? If so, what was your experience?