Last night, I went for a massage, my second in a week. Seems extravagant? Well, the first was free, since I had received a gift card to a local spa where they do massage and other relaxing things, but that did pretty much nothing for a problem I've been having.
Since about a month ago, I have had a nagging problem, first in my right glute area, and then on the right ITB. I think it has been aggravated by first doing some pretty intense bike trainer workouts, second from pushing as hard as possible at the last indoor tri, and third from running on the track on the ship while on vacation, just so I could be outside for once. That probably was the final straw, since I had been running mainly on the treadmill all winter, and then the first chance I get to be outside in decent weather in months, and it had to be on a track. So, since vacation, my right hip has bothered me, and recently it got to the point where it was getting harder and harder to even go upstairs. I should have been familiar with what was happening here, since several years ago I had a bad time with ITB that eventually required physical therapy, and of course I don't think I was ever the same again.
For me, ITB does not lead to knee pain, like it does with many others (I know a couple of you are suffering from that right now). In my case, it always leads to hip pain and tightness, and eventually the whole band down to the knee gets tight and tingly. That's where I was this week, so it was time to do something about it. Left unchecked, it would eventually get so tight I wouldn't be able to even lift my leg enough to go up one step.
My first massage, last Saturday, was with a person who didn't seem to have a clue what my complaint was. In fact, I don't think he even knew what a triathlon was, based on the questions he asked about my training. And while the pressure of his hands was pretty good, he completely ignored the ITB and glute areas. I mean, how can you totally ignore an area that was my main reason for coming?? When I mentioned this, he said, oh yeah, its tight, but still did very little. It was like he was afraid to tough "something." Glad that was free!
So I was facing a dilemma again on how to get this problem treated and under control before I was laid up again. I personally think that accupuncture would work, but was a little hesitant to go that route just yet, mainly because I know it can be a deductible expense on my health flex plan, but I wasn't sure about needing a referral, and I didn't want to wait any longer than necessary. I thought accupressure might also be a good option, so I started looking in the phone book for any names that might offer this service. There were a few, and they had websites, but reading through the information I just was not on board with those places.
Then I thought of a woman I have known since we both started running in the 80s. I ran into her last year in the fall and learned then she was doing massage therapy, but I didn't get her number then. So I looked her up, called her, and got an appointment for that afternoon.
I found out she also did accupuncture and accupressure, but once we started talking and she started working on me, she determined that some stretching and massage would be just as beneficial, at least initially. So I let her work her magic on me.
What a difference between the two! With her being a runner herself, and a fantastic one at that (she is in the 50-54 age group and still runs under 21 min. for a 5k, and under 3:30 for a marathon, so she is not limited in her athletic talents), she knows what we need and where we hurt. She worked some areas that I'm telling you probably have never been touched that deep, even though over the years I have consistently used massage therapy on a fairly regular basis. And of course the hip and ITB were SO painful, I winced throughout the entire time she worked on those areas.
Today, I am at least able to walk up the steps again. I still have some tightness and a little discomfort, but nothing like before I went to see her. I will give myself a little rest for a couple of days, continue icing and stretching those areas, and see how it goes. I also plan to make another appointment with her in a couple of weeks to keep up the pace of healing. It was well worth the money I spent.