Today I drove to Santa Clarita in the middle of the raging Sand Fire to get my treatment, so you know I am committed to getting better! I didn’t know what to expect, but R didn’t cancel and said he was fine when I sent a worried text on Saturday. Of course, I brought my camera in case I saw something interesting, and I did: the smokey cloud above. I also saw the fire and two water-dropping helicopters, but but didn’t stop to take a picture (the old me would have, back when I was up for adventure). And, luckily for R (and me) the fire was burning on the opposite side of town.
Last week the treatment went well. I was sore in a good way, feeling the excess lactic acid releasing into my muscles and bloodstream to be washed away. The pain was at its’ lowest Saturday morning, but by Saturday evening it began to return with a vengeance, so I learned that treatment once a week is not enough. This week I am going back on Friday. Hopefully we can move this pain, reduce this behemoth, get it out of my way and stop going forward and backward, back and forth, over and over and over like Sisyphus. Sisyphus was committed, but unlike him, I am trying new ways of reaching my goal.
I saw J again on Wednesday, and it felt like she was not doing anything to my muscles, except feeling around here and there. I’m sure there was more going on, but I couldn’t feel it. Then I felt better for a day or two, but then went back into lots of pain in my low back, butt and hip. It is so discouraging and extremely confusing. She said she is working through layers and that layers were coming up. I asked her to explain what she meant by that, but she just said that muscles get spastic from the inside out, and that Thomas (Griner) talks about layers. Later, I went to look it up in his book. He says that you have to work through layers of spasticity to get to the core muscle spasm underneath. So it’s not that layers are coming up to the surface, but that deeper layers become more accessible. That makes sense. But I have to wonder, is she really doing that? How do I know? How patient should I be? The treatment is costly and I have to drive for an hour in stop and go LA traffic to get there, which really hurts!
So, I am going to go back to R who is a chiropractor who does this treatment, is covered by insurance, and is easier to get to. I have been to him many times before, and he wasn’t able to help with the chronic pain, but I think I had him working in the wrong areas. When I have him work up and down my back, I don’t feel better, but when I have him work on my hip, glute and psoas muscles I do get some relief. I have a tentative appointment with him tomorrow, and I booked it as a double session, which for him is an hour. My intention is to be very clear and articulate about what I need, and to ask him to work through the layers and to give my feedback about what he notices about the progress of my muscles. I think my core problem is coming from my right gluteus muscle. Minimus, medius or maximus, I am not sure, but anyone who works on me can feel it. In the words of one chinese acupuncturist, “Your ass is ANGRY!” Please imagine that said with a thick chinese accent and you will understand how awesomely funny that was.
I am working with Thomas Griner’s protege, J*. This feels like the most promising treatment so far. She seems to be able to see and feel the contributing patterns of muscle spasticity, not just through my low back, but throughout my hips and torso. She told me that I tend to tuck my pelvis under and that may be the problem that lead to my pain. I have been to so many physical therapists, but no one has ever mentioned that to me or told me it is a problem. J. stood me in front of a mirror and showed me how to easily adjust my posture in a natural way by moving my weight further front onto the balls of my feet, and release my butt/lower back letting it “drop”. I could feel my whole body align without holding it stiffly into a so-called “good posture” stance. This felt more relaxed and healthier. She also showed me how to sit in a way that kept the curve in my lower back. To my surprise, sitting this way didn’t add to my pain the way most sitting does. Why had no one told me this before?
During the treatment, she worked in the usual low back and butt area, but also worked on my ribs and my psoas muscles.
My pain is down from last week, and I have been able to enjoy longer walks (up to 30 minutes if it’s not too hot out)!
Each morning I stand in front of the mirror and lean slightly forward onto the balls of my feet, and feel 10 years younger.
*I will give more information if this treatment works. It is my policy to publish names and information for people who help me, and just initials for those who don’t, and I need to take time to see if they will. This is to protect well meaning practitioners who aren’t able to help me.
I can’t believe it’s been 4 months since my last post. 4 Months! Where does the time go? The moments, days, weeks, months all blend into one glob of pain filled days. Time stands still. I get tired of talking about life with chronic pain and wait for good news before writing again, yet then I miss out on telling you about the journey.
I am no longer seeing Dr. M. My pain plateaued at about a level 5, which seemed to bother him for different reasons than it bothered me. He was worried about insurance not paying if I wasn’t getting better, and one day asked me to put a 4 on my chart. I wasn’t feeling my pain was at a 4. This disturbed me. Something didn’t feel right. He encouraged me to do more acupuncture at his office, but it became clear to me that acupuncture was flaring me up more. Acupuncture has never worked for me, but I had been willing to give it another try. I told Dr. M. that it was flaring me up and he looked incredulous, like he had never heard such a thing. Then he told me that rather than continue as we have been, I should go to physical therapy. I have done months and years of pt before, but I was willing to try his recommended pt. I called them to set an appointment. They took my insurance info and said they would call to let me know if they take my insurance and if so would set an appt. then. I never heard from them. I never went back to Dr. M. either.
I had a better idea. Through my work with Erin Wayne, my massage therapist, I gained a great deal of awareness about what is causing my pain. The cause was distilled down to extremely tight muscle in my butt, hip and over and under the iliac crest on the right side. Some of this tight muscle was a problem before my surgeries. I am certain that the surgeries only added more muscle injury to my already dysfunctional muscles.
My mind went to a treatment I had tried that didn’t work for this pain but had worked for past problems. A treatment that has gone by many names, invented by a man named Thomas Griner. It seemed like the right time to try it again, but to either go to Thomas, himself, or to try a new practitioner. I located his protege, and set an appointment. After my first treatment I had 5 days of very low pain as low as a 1!! It crept back up to a 5-6 by my next appointment 10 days later after she came back from vacation. After my second treatment the results were not as dramatic. I drove through a lot of LA traffic to get to her and back, and then had to do a lot of sitting over the next few days for work. The pain was down but not a lot. The good news is that after seeing her one time, I was able to stop taking the meloxicam with no increase in pain. I see her tomorrow. Please wish me good luck. I have an unusual level of confidence that this treatment will work. I hope I am not wrong!
I highly recommend Thomas Griner’s book: What’s Really Wrong With You?