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Monday, January 21, 2013

No Quick Fixes


A few weeks ago I got the results of my latest MRI: Small tears present in my tendon at the point where the left hamstring attaches to my pelvis. So unlike the MRIs last year that indicated swelling, there now are some small tears. Fortunately, nothing that warrants surgery, but unfortunately, nothing that can be fixed easily either.

My sports medicine doctor suggested two treatments, neither of which is guaranteed to work: PRP therapy, and shock wave treatment.

PRP is when they take some of your blood, and spin it to concentrate the platelets that contain growth factors that can stimulate healing. Then they inject it back into the site of the injury. Sounds delightful, doesn't it?

Shockwave treatment involves administering pulses of high-pressure sound that travel through the skin in order to stimulate healing. He admitted it was a crap-shoot which one might have a better chance of working and both are super expensive.

In the end, I decided to give PRP a try, because, well, it's popular among elite athletes, so I figured if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. Ha! I can't really use that reasoning until I'm making the same salary as a professional athlete!! I made an appointment for PRP, or so I thought. When I showed up last week, it turned out to just be a consult, but that turned out to be a blessing. Unlike my sports med doctor, this guy spoke as if PRP is a sure cure, however, he admitted that it might take more than one treatment, and each treatment is $600, not covered by OHIP or private insurance!!! I walked out having serious second thoughts. The shock wave treatment doesn't seem like a great option either. Just as expensive and no guarantees it will work.

So I was kind of feeling stuck in limbo trying to decide what to do about my stupid tendonitis. Meanwhile, I saw a friend of mine who is a marathoner and has chronic problems with one knee. She said her orthopedic surgeon, who works with the Toronto Blue Jays, told her that PRP is a bunch of huey, not supported by science. Hmm!

Ironically, over the past few weeks, the pain has been the worst it's been in a very, very long time. Although, really its not ironic. I know exactly why: I have been doing a lot of what I shouldn't do (sitting) and none of what I need to do (yoga). It's no surprise I'm paying the price. I was diligent, before the holidays of getting 2 yoga practices in per week, using my new favorite DVD But I haven't done it since we left for Florida for 2 reasons. First, work has been much busier, and second, I've taken on a lot more writing commitments, which takes time and requires sitting for long periods. One of my new writing gigs is doing gym reviews for BlogTO. At first they were sending me to mostly yoga and pilates studios, which allowed me to sub my yoga DVDs with similar classes, but lately I'm being sent for some very different types of training (I'll write more about that later), that has been more about strength and endurance and much less about stretching.

Going to aerial yoga this past weekend was just what I needed, but I could feel just how compromised is my balance and flexibility due to the pain and tightness in my hamstrings. I've had my two one-on-one consultations required prior to beginning my meditation program, and I'm thrilled that it involves a lot of yoga. I'm really hoping I can intregrate a meditation practice with my yoga.

So, all this to say, I've realized there really is not quick fix. I love the idea of a procedure that will cure the problem and won't require any further thought about my damn hamstrings, but I don't think that's going to happen. The reality is, I can manage the condition very well by sticking with my yoga and taking extra L-Glutamine (I love that stuff) when I have flare-ups. Yes, it's going to take time, patience and diligence, but, most things that have value, involve hard work, no?