Friday, January 20, 2012

Massages and Annoying Advice

Massages are wonderful. They are also usually cost-prohibitive for me, but I began getting them more often after I began working for my company a couple of years ago, because of a wellness program offered that covers the majority of the cost. Since then, I've had about 10 massages in the past couple of years. Some have been better than others, but they have always been a relaxing experience and have helped to loosen up some tight muscles.

I enjoy talking to the various massage therapists I've had (probably about 6-8 different ones). Each of them has had a different approach, from their physical technique to the advice they give. They have typically been very knowledgeable about the human body and have been able help with various minor complaints I've had. After a bad car wreck I had last year, I had some lingering neck pain and could not lift my as high as I used to without some discomfort and tightness. After just one session with an awesome therapist, the pain greatly diminished and a couple of weeks later was entirely gone. (Note: I am not saying this would work for everyone, or even me if my injury was serious. It did work for me in this case though).

Almost all of the therapists I've had at this place have been good, so I was willing to try a new one that was available. He was an older guy with 25 years of experience, and I figured he might have some good advice, especially regarding my right hip, which has been a recurrent discomfort for the past 6 months.

Not so much. Things started out OK, with a discussion of the possible leg length discrepancy I might have as well as comments from him about how my opposite leg was much tighter than my one with the troublesome hip. It could be that my right leg is having to compensate for weakness in my left, and this is causing the hip issues. An interesting theory and one that might explain the symptoms.

Then he began to ask why I had to run such long distances. I told him that I enjoyed the challenge and how it made me feel.

"But your body is sending you a signal," he said. "You aren't made for running long distances."'

Taken a bit aback, I replied, "I think it is sending me a signal that there is a problem that needs to be looked at, not that I am not supposed to run long distances."

"You're trying to make your body do something it wasn't made to do. You think you are smarter than your body, so you keep forcing it to perform. Eventually, it's just going to refuse. "

At this point, I was a little annoyed. First of all, while my hip discomfort is bothering, I don't think it means I'm not meant to run long distances. I think it indicates that there is currently a muscle or skeletal reason for my discomfort, and I do need to look into it. But it isn't an ominous signal that I am not cut out to be a runner.

I honestly love running and how it makes me feel.  The hip discomfort is a problem that I need to take action on. However, it has not gotten worse since it first arrived, which makes me think I'm not harming my body by continuing to run (I would stop or at least decrease my running if the pain became worse, absolutely).

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