Listen to Your Body
I could have titled this post many things, like "Practice What You Preach" or "Don't Do What I Do", etcetera, etcetera....
In June 2021, I posted a blog article named "Yoga Butt". It is all about Proximal Hamstring Tendinitis, a common ailment among yoga practitioners. I wrote this article to educate myself about the issue because I was experiencing the same. It's just a soreness type feeling at the "sits bones" (ischial tuberosity) where your hamstring tendons attach. No big deal, it goes away with rest.
In March 2020, we were all on quarantine for COVID. I was working at home and bored out of my mind. I am the type of person that needs to stay busy. I had just finished my first 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training and I had been doing yoga every morning and evening. I do other things like riding my bike, hiking, and walking my dogs, but here's how my troubles all began.....
I will first tell you that yoga did not do this to me. I found out that I have a CAM hip impingement. This is when the head of your femur is not round and kind of bumps around in your acetabulum instead of smoothly articulating like it should. I was probably born with it. As I got older, it began to wear down my cartilage resulting in a labral tear which led to arthritis.
So....with the hamstring tendinitis, I started to notice intense groin pain with forward folding and extreme hip flexion (standing splits and seated forward fold with butterfly legs). Ummmm, somethings not right. I started to do less flow yoga and more gentle/restorative yoga. I'm thinking, "oh, it'll get better, but It's not going away. My lower back is beginning to hurt and my foot is falling asleep when I'm driving. What the heck? I'm not that old, really and I've had no falls or injury.
I had updated my Family Nurse Practitioner at my regular check up. She ordered an x-ray and physical therapy. We could see the labral tear and the cartilage starting to wear down on the x-ray. Lots of people have labral tears and don't even know it, so they weren't worried about this. She put me on a steroid taper (which helped for a couple weeks) and sent me to orthopedist.
I went to the ortho and he gave me a cortisone injection into the hip joint. This helped temporarily with the pain, but it did come back. When I followed back up with ortho, he said "this is not your hip, it is your back". I went out to my car and just about cried. So frustrating! He referred me to a Spine Specialist who ordered an MRI. Guess what? There was nothing wrong with my back!
I really liked the spine doctor. He listened to me complain and his staff were nice. I once almost passed out in his office from not eating breakfast and they were very comforting. Anyways, I went through several more cortisone injections and tried Platelet Rich Plasma which put me on crutches for 2 weeks. These modalities were helping temporarily, but only last a week or two. We eventually followed up with another MRI that showed worsening of the arthritis and now a torn hamstring, along with the existing hamstring and gluteal tendinosis and trochanteric bursitis.
I'm just done at this point. All of the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments were tightening up and working overtime to compensate for the hip abnormalities. All of this time I am going to physical therapy, using the heating pad, muscle rubs, hot tub, massage and anything that helps just enough to get me through the day. Nights are the worst when the shooting nerve pain travels down my hamstring. I also have trouble driving 10 minutes or more, it's so uncomfortable in the car seat I can't stand it. I've tried at least 3 types of cushions, but the problem is the way your hips flex in the car seat.
So, back to therapy. I love all of my therapists (I have to say that in case they are reading this - just kidding). They listen to all of my complaints. This is really hard for me because I am not a complainer, I am used to taking care of everyone else. These therapists feel more like my friends. One of my most memorable sessions was when we saved a Praying Mantis from a spider's web. I worked really hard in therapy and faithfully did my exercises at home. I even tried dry needling where the therapist inserts a needle into a muscle knot and interrupts the fibers to allow them to release. For me, this muscle pain is worse than the actual hip pain and the needling really helped although it too provided only temporary relief.
Back to Ortho
Nothing is working and the Spine Specialist has done every conservative method he can. I forgot to mention I tried Celebrex and it didn't help. I am horrible with compliance when it comes to taking medication, but I did try it. Heck, I'll try anything at this point. So, back to ortho I go. They referred me to an ortho that only does knees (ooops, small detial) then back to the ortho who reported there was nothing wrong with my hip and blamed it on my back.
The ortho looked at my MRI and said "you need a hip replacement". The look on my face was like "yea, I know" but I kept a straight face and a kind demeanor. I'm frustrated at this point and don't want a hip replacement, but I know it will correct these awful pains. I'll be only one the hiking trail with a walker (just a joke).
OK, back to yoga.
Since this all began my yoga practice has changed dramatically. No more splits and flying pigeons, we are on the ground breathing. At this point, even child's pose can be painful because of the hip flexion. Please remember that yoga did not cause this to happen. Yoga has been my savior through many tough times and this is no exception.
If you've read this far, thank you! My point is that we need to listen to our bodies. If you are in pain, it is ok to modify your practice and take a step back to honor yourself. Use props, move slow...some days may be better than others. Keep it safe and "do you". Yoga is all about being in your body and meeting you where you are. If you have an injury or chronic pain, let me know how I can help. Don't let this stop you from coming to class or giving up on something you love.
Please reach out if you ever need to talk or are going through a similar situation ♥︎
I will repost updates as they happen from here and maybe some pictures as well. Laura
Photo credit: Unsplash