A Vignette on Pain

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  • By Susan "The Wife" Bartley
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A Vignette on Pain

A vignette on pain


On the plane coming home from Boston I planned out my next months’ worth of training.  This will be my second month of putting forth the effort to follow a training program with specific goals in mind.  Like most lifters, once I have a plan, I am all in so we got back on Monday and on Tuesday morning I started lifting. 


This month I am adding in deadlifts and that was what was on tap for Tuesday.  I have not deadlifted in a long time but somehow thought it would be a good idea to jump back in, post-holiday with 185 lbs. for 5 sets of 5.  In true Russian programming form, I did not just do 5 x 5.  Instead, knowing that was 25 reps I did a varying amount of reps per set until I reached 25.  I think I did 3 the first set to test the waters and then 6 and then 8, then 5 and then 3.  My training currently is focused on my breathing and I do not wear any gear.  The training went well, I was pleased until later in the day.


Late Tuesday afternoon my hip started hurting.  I know enough about my body to know the difference in a muscle pain and a nerve type pain and this was nerve pain.  However, I have also had sciatica and it didn’t feel like that.  The pain was all around my hip.  If I could draw a line it would be from the top of my right glute, through the muscle and coming out in the lower corner of the pubic bone area.  Of course, I thought it was just a fluke and if I activated and stretched it would be okay.


I activated and stretched before training on Wednesday and then did a heavy day of squatting.  Squatting went well, but again about an hour after the workout my hip was in distress.  And I STILL thought if I just activated and stretched if would all be fine. On Thursday it didn’t feel great so instead of deadlifting 225 lbs, which was what was scheduled, I just did sets of 5 with 135 lbs and did a lot of stretching and activating in between.  Thursday was a weird day.  My system was depressed.  Some work stuff happened, and the pain in my hip was beginning to worry me.  Needless to say, that night my pain had shot up to about a 9 on the Richter scale.  Marc worked on me before bed and got me enough relief that I could sleep.


On Friday, I woke up and my hip felt decent and for once I thought I would be smart and hold off on the training to see how it felt.  That afternoon I had to do some work in the woods close to the gym and while out there my hip sort of “gave out”.  I was walking along and then BOOM had a pain level of about 8 with pain shooting through my hip with every step.


That was it.  I limped up to the gym and got my keys and drove straight to the chiropractor.


Quick aside


We have used the same chiropractor for 20 years.  He is the best.  For years, however, my lady friends who also go to him have been talking about how when he tests them, he reaches down into their pants to palpate right under their glutes.  Most of these women are uptight folks, so I just figured they were misinterpreting.   Whenever I went the lowest, he would go was the base of the sacrum.  Not really a big deal.  I had begun to feel a little unworthy that he wasn’t palpating my lower butt area too. I mean, was my butt not worthy of palpating???????  Marc has thought I was crazy for years, but on this day the lower butt palpation became a thing and now I am in the club.  Hooray!


Okay, back to pain


Apparently, I was out of place in the Right Ischium, which is the lower hook part of your pelvis area.   Not many people get out of joint at that area, my chiropractor said he only sees it rarely, but the way I described the pain made him pretty sure that was my issue.  He popped me back into place and the pain was almost instantly gone.  He simply got me in position to put me in place and it popped back on its own.  Then he adjusted my lower back to get all of that goodness to relax.


(This is what your Ischium looks like)




The next day, I decided to do my normal Saturday hour long walk and got as far away from the house as possible and my hip started to light up again.  To get home I had to walk about 20 steps, stop and breathe, stretch and then I could go another 20 steps.  It took a while, but as soon as I was home I drove straight to the chiropractor and that same spot had slipped again so he popped it back in place and I was cured.


At the end of the weekend, on Sunday night, after a full day of feeling somewhat normal I had a pole dancing class.  Not sure if you have ever tried pole dancing, but on the off chance that you haven’t there is a lot of hip action.  I was nervous about what would happen. But I made it through class just fine…even learned to climb the pole and slide down it like a somewhat bad ass.  No real issues with my hip and when class was over I felt almost 100%. I guess the adjustment plus the stretching and use during class had solidified the changes and my hip was normal again.


(My bad ass pole dancing skills)



The Lesson


The lesson here is don’t ignore pain.  Don’t train through it.  If something feels really wrong, then figure out how to make it feel really right again.  The Be Activated/RPR that we do has helped both Marc and I be even more in-tune with our bodies.  Without that I probably would have limped along for a few weeks just hoping it would get better.  We are surrounded with several great professionals that we can call on for help.  


In thinking through this story, I realize that I have probably been slightly out of alignment in that area for quite some time.  For the past year I have gotten this pain in my hip flexor area, but I knew it wasn’t my hip flexor.  The pain ran diagonally behind the hip flexor and the whole hip would kind of “catch” when I walked.  I didn’t seek treatment because when I did my activations the pain would go away for a day or two.  Had I not ignored that and gone to the chiropractor I would not have had to endure the pain last week.  Live and learn.


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