Monday, July 14, 2008

My Routine - for now

Well here is a list and brief description of the exercises I’m supposed to be doing to get back to where I want to be. While the source of my problems (physical) are not completely known, my disc at L4-5 has some issues which are undoubtedly creating a good portion of the problem. I had an MRI 7/27/07 and one 6/3/08 and the bulges and tear are more prominent in the latter. Not what I wanted to see, but still not unmanageable.
I had a course of therapy to strengthen my back, this did relieve one of my symptoms but the glute pain remains. The current course of action is to strengthen my transverse abdominis (TA) and corresponding back muscle, the multifidus. The TA is a little deeper than the overlaying abdominal muscle groups and gets “shut down” in individuals with back injury – worsening the effects.
The most specific exercise is abdominal bracing, like a crunch without the crunch – not curling your head toward your chest but just lifting it upward, something like this, another way of describing it is bracing as if someone was going to hit you in the gut. Other exercises are rowing and “lat” type pulldowns. While these are not specific to the TA you can contract and release throughout the exercise to work the muscle and “train” it to fire when you are using your core. I really have to concentrate to get the TA to contract – this is typical of one with back injury.
Eccentric and concentric hamstring exercises shown in this article are supposed to deal with the high hamstring tendiopathy which I may or may not have, some good exercises though. The ubiquitous hamstring stretch goes here as well.
Since the glute and hip are causing me issues they threw in a few exercises to strengthen that as well. The Clam is done laying on your side, back to the wall, soles of feet to the wall, knees together with about a 90degree bend. Lift the upper leg up, hold for a bit, return and repeat. Also a hip extension and figure 4 hip stretch to try to loosen up a really tight hip flexor.

To build and maintain my back strength and I still use the Roman chair and do some squat exercises with neutral back posture. Press up’s are done to relieve pressure on my low back.

I’m sure I’ve missed some things but that’s about it. I do about half the exercises every day, the others every other. I have a friend who is going to lend me an inversion table so it will be nice to get some prolonged back extension/pressure release. Hopefully it will get some blood to the problem (my head?).

On another note I have been running barefoot for a portion of my runs lately. I started with ¼ mile and have worked up to 2 miles. If I run more than 2 miles on the road prior to my barefoot session I can feel tension building in my Rt glut/hip/hamstring. Sometimes I can run through it or stretch it out but other times I cant. When I remove my shoes and start running in the grass the discomfort is gone within 10 strides – no shit. It has remained pain free for the duration of the barefooted portion – up to 2 miles at this point. My unshod running loop is .25 miles with half on a bike path and half on the grass. It feels great to have shoes which weigh 0.00 grams – cuts about 20 seconds off the splits.

I can’t figure out how to interpret the instant relief I get, it’s hard to believe that the back is the sole source of my discomfort if it is alleviated this quickly. I am thinking of going to a podiatrist but all they have done in the past is fit me with orthotics. Also considering gait analysis but lack a good source right now – any suggestions? Keep in mind that running is not the activity which causes me the greatest discomfort – that is still sitting.

Meanwhile, I am running about 10 miles a week (have missed logging a number in RunningAhead). Still trying to keep up the cadio workouts with biking and chasing 3 kids. I remain optimistic but really need to make some headway soon – just to keep my sanity.

EDIT: Wednesday, July 16

Therapist added the "bird dog" exersize today, another one for the core, forgot to ask her what I was supposed to take out of the routine.

Got my hands on an inversion table, guess I'll add that to the mix as well. Already used the line "just hang'n round" once.

Tried on a pair of Vibram 5 Fingers today, no one has my size right now but I still wanted to see how they felt. I think I'll try ordering them since I have a pretty good idea what size I need.

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