Friday, July 27, 2012

Active Release Technique (A.R.T.)

I finally went into Chase Chiropractic and saw Dr. Joseph Leahy for the muscle pain I have been experiencing in my glute and hamstring. It was Tuesday and I would be there for a seminar afterward, so I spent a couple hours at his office, this actually gave me a great chance to assess how the Active Release Technique worked for this situation.
Dr. Leahy has worked on me before and I was happy with the results. The first time it was more for an athletic performance issue, now I was seeing him due to pain, not only was the pain becoming unbearable, but it was also hindering my athletic performance.
I was led to the exam room and I explained my situation to him.  I told him about the chiropractor at the expo, about the massage and how the therapist said I had a contracted muscle, I told him about my pain and how I am working on my knees at my desk because I cannot sit for long periods of time.

Although it has felt like a hamstring issue, it was discovered that it really was my glute, the muscle originates in the glute and attaches at the hamstring, so it all just feels like one big, tight mass; and since the muscle was contracted, I was fine as I stood, but sitting would cause a lot of pain in my hip, hamstring and glute, and then this of course caused me to favor one side when training quads and hams, not a good thing for someone who is trying to grow the size of their legs. 
 He had me lie on my side and pushed and probed until he found the tender spot. “Yes, it’s your gemellus and your piriformis, the massage therapist must have studied A.R.T or he never would have known about these very small but important muscles.”
A.R.T. is similar to massage, where the soft tissue is manipulated, but the body is moved around in conjunction with pressure on the muscle and the idea is break up adhesion's and offer relief.  Dr. Leahy gave me directions on what he wanted me to do, this is interactive. He would manipulate the glute muscle as I lay on my side on the table, and I would pull my knee up to my chin, with the help of my hand and arm, pulling as far as possible and it would hurt. It was a good pain though, I could feel relief afterward.
He explained that when the muscle gets overworked it can remain in a contracted state, and if it isn’t released it can cut off the blood supply and cause damage. This worried me as it has been going on for a couple months now. I told him after my massage it felt better, but as soon as I tried to run stadium stairs it started back in. “That’s exactly when you would feel it.” He replied. “That’s when those muscles are engaged.”
He said he would be doing the same treatment for 80 football players the following day, he is the team chiropractor for the San Francisco 49ers, training camp is opening and he said many of them have this same issue.
I left and went outside to hangout waiting for the seminar to begin. For entertainment, many people go out to bars or the movies; I go to things like this. I would be having my PH tested (urine sample) and my antioxidant levels tested via laser scan. Then we would listen to a discussion on DNA, aging, supplements, various treatments….boring to you, interesting to me.
At one point just as the seminar was starting I told him it was still tight, he said “Come on” and back we went to the room. Again he worked the muscle, a bit differently and we talked more about the pain. I then did lunges up and down his hallway as he watched, I was able to sink all the way down and not feel the pulling sensation I had been, it felt better!

He commented on my bright pink shoes. I told him he says the same thing every time I see him.
I was able to sit for an hour at the seminar before my quad, glute and hip started aching. I got up and stood. I then talked to Dr. Leahy again and he said it was most likely inflamed and that was causing the pain.  My injury does not require multiple sessions; he said the next step is A Perfect Light therapy, which takes one session and lasts 20 minutes. If the pain was not gone after that, he said I must have an MRI to see if I have nerve damage.
I scheduled the therapy for Thursday; I couldn’t do it Wednesday as I was meeting Roy after work to train quads (and you know I won’t miss training, ever!)
It’s unfortunate that my insurance will not cover this, they don’t cover chiropractic medicine.  A.R.T. is not even chiropractic, it is practiced by other health professionals, but is considered "alternative". I imagine that if I went to my physician I would be given a cortisone shot and then an MRI, and of course if I need to MRI I will go to him to see if I can get it covered by insurance, those are quite costly. I prefer to solve the problem though instead of treat the pain.
As I write this on Wednesday, I have been able to sit all day, but I have felt some slight discomfort. I am taking Aleve and will continue to for a few days. David says “Ice it!” but honestly, my glute muscle is so big, that I don’t see how I could sit on ice long enough to really help the inflammation, but I will in the evening for a bit anyway.
Getting in and out of the car was not difficult as usual, and walking up stairs seemed normal. My hamstrings are sore, but both are sore and equally sore, so I believe that is from the new hamstring workout Roy and I did on Monday evening.
I seem to be on the right track, but only time will tell for sure.
Previous posts on my sessions:

A.R.T. (2nd)

A.R.T. (1st)