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Monday, February 19, 2018

Learning A Lesson the Hard Way So You Don't Have To



I read articles all the time talking about the importance of stretching and resting your body.  It all sounds fine and good but at the end of the workout, the amount of time either of us dedicates to stretching is negligible compared to what we just put our body through.

When we were in on our trip, I walked a total of almost 15 miles between Woodstock and Chicago which was good for me considering my ankle/foot recovery.  I had my roller with me but did I use it?  No.  I was more focused on using the TENS unit and the microcirculation pad.  Then when we came back, I had to ease back into exercise but still did decent strength sessions and we walked a bit to try to keep any endurance I may have gained from the trip up.  After weighing in, I knew we had to get on it and really buckle down to see results.  I had jumped back into PT hard since I basically didn't do it on the trip.  Part of the clamshell exercises I do with my heavy band requires my inner thighs to do a good amount of the work.  You throw on top of that two other PT exercises that require the inner thighs more than other exercises and things are going to get bunged up in there.  If that wasn't bad enough, my new incentive to get vacation weight off, came with a dive in mentality that has screwed me before.  My exercise schedule looked like this:

Sunday:  Free Weights with emphasis on upper body with a few lower body things thrown in
Monday:  Powerstrike (lots of kicking and made sure to really try to kick high)
Tuesday:  Turbo Fire Tone (uses bands and did some wicked hard lower body stuff)
Wednesday: Turbo Fire 45 EZ which also has a lot of kicking & I kicked high

I didn't stretch properly at all after any of these sessions and throw on still recovering from Chicago and my body let me know in no uncertain terms, it'd had enough.

Late on Valentine's Day, I had a horrible outer thigh cramp.  It thankfully passed rather quickly and I should've taken that as a sign to just hop on the floor and stretch...I didn't.  At midnight, after a few inner thigh twitches, I grabbed my Graston tool to dig stuff out.  Just the act of bending my knee up onto the couch sent off an inner thigh cramp that was the worst pain I'd ever felt.  I've been attacked by a dog, had gallbladder attacks and surgeries and none of them delivered the kind of pain I felt in that moment.  I was SCREAMING at the top of my lungs as nothing would make it stop.  The Mr. was trying to rub the area, even trying to punch it into submission since that gets rid of his.  Nothing was making it stop.  My mouth went dry, I started sweating profusely, my hands went numb, my breathing was shallow and I had to stand up to get to the back door to get cold air or I was going to go down for sure.  The Mr coached me to take long deep breaths after a while because he was scared at the sound of my breathing.  After 20 minutes of consistent pain, we decided to head upstairs and just get me into bed.  At the top of the stairs, the other inner thigh set off with just as much ferocity.  Cue the sweating, dry mouth, feeling of passing out, etc.  I spent 2 hours at the top of the stairs attempting to roll out my inner thigh without setting off another attack while the Mr looked up info on Dr. Google

We tried everything from drinking pickle juice for electrolytes, drinking even more water than I was already drinking, eating a banana for potassium, taking an ibuprofen, digging into my legs with my Back Buddy (affiliate link) and foam rolling and a bath was out of the question because just the act of raising my leg would send me into another episode.  I sat with a heating pad on the areas and the muscles kept trying to fire again so I was up until 5:45am because everytime my body would relax to almost fall asleep, my muscles anywhere in my body began to twitch and kick a limb into the air.  I got about 90 minutes sleep and the next day I couldn't move so I did a session with Doctor on Demand as my last resort to see if they could get me muscle relaxers.  She said my body didn't appreciate the overload and I, unfortunately, paid a painful lesson and that even doing something good for yourself can have side effects if you don't properly do aftercare.  She prescribed low dose muscle relaxers, Prednisone (7-day course) to calm down the inflammation and 800mg Ibuprofen as needed.  I was told no weights for a week and nothing but stretching/yoga and walking for exercise.  She said that other symptoms I was experiencing with the sweating, dry mouth, numbness, etc were because my blood pressure was probably at stroke levels and often times, it's not the event that kills someone but the stroke they can have as their body reacts to the pain.  That scared the sh*t out of me.  The fruit of my digging efforts really showed themselves the next afternoon and my thighs looked like a cheetah.  The Mr would cringe when he saw them and said I looked like I'd been beaten.  Accurate.

The Mr really took care of me and made all of my meals that day while I stayed upstairs all day Thursday.  It felt like things could fire if I moved wrong so even stretching was not in the cards that day.  I wish I could say the muscle relaxers made things feel better but they didn't, they just made me sleepy.  The Prednisone seemed to reduce the inflammation which was nice and I'd take one ibuprofen before bed just to hopefully keep anything at bay while I attempted to sleep that first night.  I got decent sleep but the muscles were still sore from all they'd been through.  I was served breakfast in bed so I could get my meds in for the morning and I got ready for my mammogram.  Thankfully, that went smooth and I didn't have to be in any positions that put a strain on my legs.  Then I wanted to hold a puppy after all I'd been through and we got a long haired Daschund out.  She was cute but way too barky and rambunctious for us so no chance of being tempted by her.  It was nice to get a shot of puppy breath to help heal me.  When I went home, I did as much standing stretches as I could and spent the day resting.  It was really hard but I had to do it.

This weekend was obviously the lowest of low key.  It took me about five hours to get the strength to be able to go to a thing my mom wanted me to go to.  I really only just went so the Mr could get his belated Christmas gifts.  Don't ask.  We ended up being there for two hours which about took me out so back home we went.  Sunday, my legs were less twitchy but still not great.  We sat around and had a good talk, I did a little work and then I decided I wanted to walk for a workout which the doctor said I could do.  We did about a mile and a half before we both had to pee like racehorses and it was probably better for my legs anyway.  We immediately went downstairs and I did a one-hour stretch session.  I determined what stretches would be most beneficial to me in the immediate future and ones that I can sneak in during the day to help as well.  (I'll be using my 30-minute water alarm as a reminder to also stand up and stretch because that ain't helpin')  I used my microcirculation pad (affiliate link) on any area that began to spasm and within 10 minutes, it would calm down.  I made dinner and then watched Blade Runner 2049 (affiliate link) to thank the Mr for all he did to help me in this past week.

So the take away in all of this is if you do any kind of exercise, you need to respect your bodies need to recover properly which includes more than just a few 30-second stretches.  Yes, it sucks to have to add maybe another 15 minutes onto things but even sitting on the floor stretching in front of your favorite show will make it seem less daunting and your body will thank you for it.  I have known the benefits of stretching but quite honestly, felt like stretching either took too long, didn't apply to me or was for wimpy people.  I know better now.  My body told me to stretch or die...almost literally.  That is a warning I can't ignore and neither should you.  I don't want anyone to go through what I went through.  I know it sounds like "oh shut up, you just had a leg cramp in a tender spot, big deal"...it was a big deal.  It wasn't just a little cramp.  It was debilitating and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy especially once, much less twice.

What was the most excruciating pain you've ever had?  What lesson did you learn?

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5 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry you had to go through that! I will get spasms like that in my back (not very often thank goodness). I never know what will set them off. The last time was last summer when I missed the bottom step on our stairs and jarred it. Didn't think anything of it at the time but it flared up a day or so later. It definitely stops me in my tracks and brings tears to my eyes. I've learned to take the time to stretch when I feel things tightening up. Usually that and a couple bedtime doses of a muscle relaxer and several days of regular naproxen do the job. I'm so glad you're feeling better and hope it continues to improve as the week goes on!

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  2. Omg that is just awful, sorry for what you went through. My worst pain was a 2nd degree burn on the top of my foot. A "tuna casserole" scalding accident. I took the pain pills too often and was out of them for my pt sessions. It involved a whirlpool followed by scraping the wound with a tongue depressor. In my fit of pain I actually slapped the therapist across the face. I'll never forget that. Good vibes for fast healing!

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  3. I tie stretching into my daily life as much as I can.

    First thing in the morning I do a supported Sphinx pose on pillows and then push back into child’s Pose, all while checking my phone.

    I have a block in my bathroom for my toes to stretch my calves while brushing my teeth. (I just realized I could do this same thing with the kitchen sink).

    I lay on a yoga block to work on posture while Watching Jeopardy. Etc.

    I have paired activities or times of the day with specific things.

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  4. It was very tough to watch you go through that and feel so helpless, so I just tried to do whatever I could do help. I'm glad things are looking better and you're taking it easy now as you heal. We definitely learned a valuable lesson but sorry it had to be at your expense.

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  5. That is so horrible. I was cringing and crying when I read your description of the pain you endured. I get deep stretches from my trainer and without fail my inner thighs spasm and it’s very painful. But of course I never had pain like you had. I would have called 911 as I am such a wimp about things hurting. You are very brave and I am really sorry this happened to you. I didn’t know about pain and stroke too. I hope you feel better now

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