Saturday, February 27, 2010

What Seems To Be the Problem?

Well, many of you may think that I should have gone years ago but I've finally done it, I'm in therapy.

I've got a couple of busted knees and haven't been able to really run since my 22k three weeks ago. Normally I would have just said, "Thank gawd. Now I can go back to eating and watching 'Friends' re-runs". But I'm committed. There's money down. I'm racking up the air miles. I have to push through it.

So I've sought help. Namely an Athletic Therapist (for making me exercise even more??) and a chiropractor for Active Release Therapy (for punishment??). The Athletic Therapist did an initial assessment and discovered all sorts of quirky problems. Based on her description – one hip higher than the other, one shoulder higher than the other, one arm more raised than the other, knees turning inward, one calf fatter than the other, one butt cheek flabbier than the other – I have this vision of myself as looking like some kind of Dickens villain.

Simultaneously, I’m having my body beaten into submission with ART. My chiro told me to book 30 minute sessions (as opposed to 15) because of the amount of work required. And because I need long breaks. Basically, he takes his thumb, puts it right on the muscle, and proceeds to throw his whole body weight into it as I flex. SO PAINFUL. We’ve set ground rules that he can’t hurt me on purpose and I can’t kick him. Not surprisingly, I have bruises everywhere and I’m getting worried looks in the locker room at the gym.

Like in other therapeutic situations, the origin of the problem is never what is initially presented. You think you've got issues with your sister when it's really about when you got lost in the shopping mall when you were five. Same thing with the knees. They're hurting me but it turns out the problems are all in my hips and butt. Not all that surprising since I've had a tumultuous relationship with these body parts for years. Apparently, ample does not equal strong, and strong makes all the difference.

The body is so interconnected, working synergistically to make it all happen. Our muscles in particular. And when one part slacks off it affects everything else. My body has a classic therapeutic situation going on: dysfunctional family. My butt and hips are the third child, knees the eldest, and my quads and hamstrings are the long-suffering middle children. My brain as the parent is letting the baby of the family - my butt - off the hook. It doesn't have to do any work, it gets to sit around and do nothing. My bossy, first-child knees are not happy and are making it known. And my quads and hamstrings are just trying to keep it all together, keep everyone happy.

So the therapy is trying to change the dynamic. It's training my brain to step it up and parent my butt and hips. Not nag, just firmly tell them to start chipping in more. In the meantime, it's coaching my quads and hamstrings to take a break, spend some time on themselves and not worry about everyone else so much. It's not their job to make everything work right. And my knees...well, they probably won't stop being bossy and voicing their opinion. But hopefully we can work it so they'll only pipe up when it really matters.

I've still got some months before the marathon so that should give me enough time to get things sorted out. The dysfunction makes me a little nervous, though. On a day-to-day basis it should be manageable but a marathon is like a family road trip. It's close quarters, for an extended period of time, people get hungry and irritable, lots of stops for the bathroom. All the idiosyncrasies could come out and old patterns emerge.

Fingers crossed.

No comments:

Post a Comment