I am going to bust two myths today: 1) that teachers never get injured and 2) that there is a magical place where everything is perfect and there is no work to be done. Neither one of those is true.
I’ve been dealing with pain for a few months now. Like many people, I brushed it off, thinking it was just overtraining and would go away. But it didn’t – it progressed instead.
I don’t recall a specific moment that the pain started but I remember that at some point, I felt cramping and pain behind my knee when I flexed it past 90˚ and that the spasm was so intense, I was not able to fully extend my knee and walk when I stood up. So I worked around it – made sure that I did not sit with my knee flexed too far and moved slowly when I stood up. I did what I’m sure we’ve all done at some point – worked around the problem instead of dealing with it head-on.
I had been rolling and stretching and doing everything I know how to do, but when you run out of options, it’s time to uplevel the complaint. I could feel a very dense knot of tissue in the upper portion of my calf and decided I needed someone else’s expert hands to give it a try.
The most important benefit/side effect of a regular self-care practice is knowing your body and knowledge well enough so that you can phone in the expert when you’ve reached your limits.
So, I went to an expert chiropractor who did some ninja massage (ART – Active Release Technique) on the tissues and made any adjustments that were needed. She was able to release the massively stiffened tissues with her magic hands and I was out the door and on my way.
Or so I thought.
Working with the body feels like a game of whack-a-mole. Just when you think you’ve solved one issue, something else pops it’s head up. When you’ve dealt with that one, something else pops up. If you are always using your body, you will never truly be done with the aches and pains (probably because we are not willing to give up our technology and computers, but that’s a story for another day).
So the original cramp was gone (woohoo!) but now I felt extra stress being placed on the calf and ankle muscles. Was that the original problem that lead to the pain in the first place? Or had they been inhibited by the mess happening behind my knee?
I’ll don’t know yet (and may never), but one thing I do know for certain is that you have to keep trying every possible solution to the problem. While it may feel exhausting to try 104702 different things, you don’t quite know what you are going to respond to physically. How your body responds is different to the next person and this will also be a much more interesting conversation with your healthcare practitioner when you can let them know all of the positions and things you have tried that didn’t help.
I’m not in any way saying you should DIY every injury and stay away from experts. I’m saying you should be smart with your experimentation and willing to ask for help in the right places when needed. Not sure where to start? A really good Physical Therapist is a great place to start!
What I did find was that the ankle mobilization is continuing to help. I don’t know if the ankle stiffness started the problem or is just a result, but I suppose I won’t care unless the knee pain doesn’t resolve (which it is, day by day).
And the more I think about it, while aches and pains are annoying, if we didn’t have the one (or two or three!) things we knew we should be working on daily, would it be boring?
- February 10: Friday Night Roll + Relax (Glendale, CA)
- February 11: Free Mobility for Performance Class @ Athleta (Pasadena, CA)
- February 13 – March 20: Structurally Sound Small Group Series (Burbank, CA) space is limited!
- March 24-26: YTU Integrated Embodied Anatomy (San Francisco, CA)