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January 3, 2013

Therapist, Massage Thyself!

I walk a lot in my life here in New York City. I walk to work and I am on my feet all day for my job. On the weekends, we get out and discover the greatest city in the world - we may log in 2 to 4 miles a day of walking (see my prior post about the FitBit) on the weekends in our quest for lunch and adventure. As a result, I have developed hip pain. Specifically, the pain I have developed corresponds with greater trochanteric bursitis.

I feel it after we have walked in the city all day, or, more often, when I first stand up from sitting for a while. My solution is to stretch, targeting my iliotibial band and tensor fascia lata muscle. Unfortunately, I'm relatively flexible and I am having a hard time getting enough of a stretch through these areas. So, I've invested in a foam roller, which I've been meaning to do for years, but PT school got in the way. And the day I tried it out I almost cried. It is some kind of painful! But the results are amazing.

First I rolled slowly, from knee toward hip, supporting much of my body weight through my arms and opposite foot. Then I stayed on my tensor facia lata (TFL) muscle, surprised to discover how full of trigger points it was. As TLF and the IT band released, I could roll over these tissues with decreasing discomfort (though, honestly, the pain never really went away completely). I used the same technique to roll over my hamstrings on the back of my legs and on the quadruceps muscle at the front of my legs. All were painful, especially the quadruceps in my right leg. What was interesting was how the points of most intense pain were inconsistent from one side to the other, indicating muscle imbalances.

The benefit: no pain in my hips the next day and for an additional 2 days following that. I had more energy and elevated mood. Interestingly, I exhibited an increase in power and endurance for walking up hills (we have a lot of hills in our neighborhood - which protected us from the ravages of hurricane Sandy). When the discomfort returned I rolled around on my foam roller again.

Posted by linda at January 3, 2013 7:19 AM

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