If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know I’m an active guy. I played baseball in college, have done adventure racing (both off-road and urban), and have raced in several triathlons. I’m not a hardcore triathlete by any stretch of the imagination, but it keeps me focused, makes me practice what I preach, and gives me an “outlet” when I’m away from the office. I’m the type of guy who needs a “carrot” in front of me. Whether it’s a race, a vacation, or just a night out, I enjoy looking forward to things. I think we all do.
However, when you’re in pain, sometimes it’s incredibly hard to look forward to things. I know from first-hand experience that pain finds its way into many (all?) aspects of one’s life. It takes a toll physically, mentally, and emotionally. Bottom line, when you’re in pain, it’s hard to focus on other things. Fun things.
If you don’t know my story, I’ve been around The Egoscue Method in some way, shape, or form for nearly 20 years now. I started as a client in 1995 due to pain from a bulging disc in my low back. I then switched to the therapist side of things in 2005, and opened up the Egoscue Nashville location in 2007. Having come to this Method as a client, I know what it’s like to be on the other side of an appointment.
Most recently, I’ve been on the other side of the appointment as I’ve been dealing with hip pain. I’m 99% sure I have a torn labrum in my left hip and possibly one in my right hip. Although I haven’t had a diagnosis confirmed via MRI, based on my symptoms and working with numerous clients dealing with a torn labrum, I was able to put two and two together. The left hip has bothered me for a couple of years, and recently my right side started hurting. Typically with a torn labrum, flexing the hip–bringing the knee closer to the chest–isn’t a comfortable position, yet that’s exactly what is asked of you when cycling. And, to top it all off, the longest portion of any triathlon is the bike section. Sounds like a match made in Heaven, right?
Sure enough, when I first started experiencing left hip pain, bringing that hip into flexion killed me. I would feel my hip when sitting in a car, sitting on the couch, and definitely when on my bike. Being honest, I was slightly worried that I either wouldn’t be able to race again, or if I did race, I wouldn’t be able to truly push myself as hard as I knew I would want to.
But then I remember what I tell clients every day: “Pain is simply a signal. Your body is alerting you to the fact that you’re out of balance–something’s not right. It’s nothing more than that.”
Over the last six months or so, I’ve put myself to the test. I’ve been my own guinea pig. I’ve diligently and consistently practiced what I preach. I’ve done my exercises almost daily, and the results speak for themselves.
I’m PAIN FREE.
And I’m not going easy on my body. In preparation for Ironman 70.3 Racine , I’m doing 30-50 mile rides, going on 8-13 mile runs, swimming and have even spent time in the gym lifting a bit. And all of this without my left hip bothering me.
It’s been incredible. I’ve taken control over my health and responsibility for my body, and the proof is in the pudding. If you’re wanting to take control and responsibility, you can download 4 Free E-cises to give you an idea of the types of things I’m doing. My exercises are slightly different than those, as we at Egoscue focus on the individual’s specific posture, but you’ll get a general idea. Actually, I’m thinking of doing a follow-up post to this one where I actually walk you through my current Egoscue menu (for those of you not familiar with Egoscue, that’s what we call your exercise routine). Be sure to comment below if that’s something you’re interested in!
Even if you don’t have pain, I would still suggest you download those exercises to get your body balanced and efficient. You’ll get MUCH better results from training if your body is in its proper position. As always, If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at johne (at) egoscue (dot) com!