Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Dangers of Self-Massage

I had other ideas for the title of this post, such as:
  • Be Careful With "The Stick"
  • Don't Rub Too Hard
  • Warning! "The Stick" Can Hurt!
Quite by accident, I ended up at the Physical Therapist's office today. (Only partially an accident...his office called...I picked up the phone...they said they could fit me in at 12:30 today, so I said, "OK.")

In fact, after I posted this morning's beautiful photo of my hip-bruise, I figured out how I managed to hurt myself. As I was looking at it's purple-ness this morning, I realized that the bruise was in the EXACT SAME SPOT as where I was massaging my hip with "The Stick"...you know...this thing...

I had been using it repeatedly, and apparently quite vigorously, throughout Friday and Saturday, in an attempt to massage my sore hip into some kind of submissive shape for the 1/2 marathon.

Apparently, massaging quite vigorously can lead to this:

My hip today...pretty, pretty...

So... I sat down with the PT. He took a good long time talking to me about my running habits, how much I ran, my stretching routine, my shoes, when I started to have pain, etc, etc. And according to him...turns out that I made three pretty critical errors which led to my hip-trauma.
  • I switched shoes. He told me to NEVER switch shoes when you find a pair that work for you. I should know this, but I let myself be talked into moving out of my stability + New Balance 1223's into a more neutral shoe...BIG MISTAKE! So I'm going back to Road Runner Sports to exchange the current New Balance 1063s for the more current model of New Balance's Stability+ shoe, the 1224s.
  • I decided to run a 1/2 marathon anyway. (ah well...it was worth it, because I had a great time and I don't have another long race in my sights until late April and the La Jolla 1/2 Marathon).
Then, I showed him my hip. (I hadn't fessed up to it yet)

He laughed when he saw it and made everyone come see my third critical error.
  • I overused The Stick (clearly).
Actually, he did a really nice job of explaining how I'd probably had some small strain in my hip muscles, which may have even happened before I switched shoes, but was aggravated by the shoe switch, by the extra mileage I ran in the new shoes, then which was aggravated even more by my overuse of the stick, and then I further abused my muscle by running 13 miles on it.

He did say that only women can withstand that much pain. A man would have folded. We both joked about how the toughest women are in their 40's and who have given birth. I don't know if I agree with him or not, but I'll take it as a compliment.

His "therapy" prescribed for fixing my sore hip is as follows (Hey, I paid cash for this as my insurance didn't cover it, so I figure I own it now).

Five times a day:
  • 2-3 minute ice massage - To do this, I've made a bunch of paper-cup water-pops. Then I peel off part of the paper cup and rub the ice on my hip. This is easy to do at home, but will be pretty messy to do in my office.
Here is one of my ice-massagers. Edith recommended the same thing to me for my shin splints last January when I was training for the marathon.
  • 2-3 minutes "gentle self-massage," of my hip with my hand. (Yes, when he told me this, it was all I could do to not burst out laughing cuz, as you know, I am soooooo mature that way...AND oh yeah, he also told me to use "any old oil I have for the self-massage...motor oil, Wesson oil. I didn't need to go out an purchase any expensive fancy kind of oil... oh...AND, he said this all to me with a straight face. I of course was busy examining the wall paper because all I wanted to do was giggle.
  • 20 minute ice-pack on hip.
  • GENTLE Stretching (Vickie, he loved your pretzel stretch and said it was exactly the right one. You helped me to look like not a complete fool).
Next week I can start walking/running for really short amounts of time (like a 10 minute walk, 10 minute run, 10 minute walk, preceded and followed by the three above steps)...and I can add 2 or 3 minutes of walking and running a day until I'm up to an hour...then I can back off on the walking part until I'm up to full speed. Should take about a month (woo hoo...just in time for the Carlsbad 5000 and well before La Jolla!).

So...I've purchased a lot of paper cups, filled them with water, and have them stored in both the freezer in the garage and the kitchen freezer. I've promised not to beat myself with a stick again. and

So...let this be a lesson to all you tough women (and men) out there...don't beat yourself with the stick, self-massage is certainly acceptable, and use ice.



  1. Oh wow... I can't believe that was self-inflicted! And I would totally be trying not to laugh at the self-massage lecture.

    Get feeling better and enjoy your ice pops! :-)

  2. OMFG! He made everyone come and look?


    Dang, how hard did you use that stick?

    When I was bringing up your blog post and first saw the pictures with the little cups, I thought you were going to talk about jell-o shooters.

    Ah well. Glad to know it's all about the shoes. And rest. And ice. And not over-using the stick.

    I'm glad you finally saw someone!

  3. I'm hoping to go to PT today for a hip issue. I think (at least this is what they told me last summer) mine has to do with ITb issues. I heart my foam roller and was planning on spending the majority of my snowday on it...you are making me think twice about this?

  4. Oh, Alice! I feel for you-ouch!
    I have a Stick, and like it, but lesson learned! I will not overuse my Stick!

  5. LOL!! I will be careful not to "overuse" my "stick".

  6. Oh man! The stick is good, but you must have been going crazy with that thing. Of course, when a run is coming up and you hurt, we'll do anything to make it to that race.

    Glad you got some "professional" advice. I hate icing...but those cups are the easiet way to do it.

    So, will the next photo be of your hip with motor oil all over? LOL!

    Rest up, get better soon.

  7. Ouch ouch ouch!!!!!! Were you hitting yourself with the stick? That is quite the bruise! I hope you feel better soon.

  8. You do know that you're supposed to ROLL the stick, not beat yourself with it, right?

  9. Leave it to something that looks like a penis to inflict that much damage :P Sorry! My mind automatically goes straight into the gutter when I come over here HAHAH!

    Man chica you're a rough one ;-) Hope that baby heals up quick!

  10. Owie! I bruise really easy too. Take care of that!

  11. OMG!
    take it easy and heal well.

  12. Wow. A self inflicted injury. Sheesh. Hope that hip heals quickly. You do like it rough, dont you? Take it easy next time.

  13. Dude. I heart you. You rock.

  14. Ahh man the stick jokes I could just lay out here. Oh and then the self massage.....I shall be an adult and refrain.

    Great PT's are worth every penny especially if they are familiar or are runners.
    The ice cup massages work be gentle with yourself chica.

  15. Glad to hear you got some expert advice, especially about the bruising. Yikes! I've never seen anything that bad! You really must be a masochist. I could never do that to myself! Just ease back into it and you will be the better for it. I don't know why we have to have stuff like this happen before we learn our lesson!

  16. Oh wow, I had to stop lurking and post on this one. I have the stick but haven't really used it yet, now I know to be careful. Hope you're feeling better!

  17. You know, I hear you can go blind if you play with that too much. ;o)

    That is some impressive bruise my lady. I always say, 'If you are going to do it go big.'

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