Tag Archives: Sacroiliac Joint injury

Stretching and strength

Some of you might remember that I had a terrible time late last year with my sacroiliac joint (the joint where the lower back meets the hips). Well, it’s playing up again. It’s threatened a few times over the past twelve months but somehow I’ve managed to stave it off. But not this time.

My sacroiliac joint ligaments are loose. I’ve had all sorts of tests and seen specialists. The results are always the same: a loose sacroiliac joint. The bad news is that it can’t be fixed. The good news is that I can’t make it any worse. I like the good news part.

I aggravated the joint last week when I stepped off a log awkwardly and jarred my back. I have been to the physio and that helped a bit but I know from experience that only two things will make the pain go away: time and core strength.

So today, instead of going out riding, I have spent an hour doing crunches, plank, leg raises, push ups, squats, lunges, stretches and have rolled my calves. It’s been a few months since I did any strength exercises so I’m sure my performance will improve too.

Total: 1 hour strength and flexibility.

First session of the new year

Sun salutations

Sun salutations

Today is the first day of my journey to running a 100 miler. At this stage, that’s my ultimate running goal. The distance is calling me the way The Landy is called by Everest. I’ve spent the full southern hemisphere spring in rehabilitation mode but since this morning my physio and I have switched to ‘moving forward’ mode.

I have to give Paul Trevethan at Body Leadership Australia a big shout out because he’s been wonderful. From the moment I walked into his clinic he listened to my needs, fears and frustrations. He’s responded to my text messages asking for help and he’s squeezed me in when I’ve urgently needed his healing hands. He’s never told me I couldn’t do anything but has been honest about the areas of my body I need to look after (and he’s never said “I told you so” when I failed to listen).

Tonight I did my stretching routine for the first time since October. I also did two rounds through the Hatha Yoga Sun Salutations. I only did them gently and tentatively but it’s a start. I start yoga classes on Tuesday 18 December and have already told my instructor about my SIJ so she’s going to help me avoid exercises that might flare it up.

I have also done three sets of five exercises each of my pilates exercises: setting my stomach, clams, knee raises, rocking my knees side-to-side and hip raises. My core strength is terrible. But I am practicing these basic moves until I start pilates classes on Monday 17th December with my physio’s wife (also through Body Leadership Australia). The great thing about taking pilates classes with my physio’s wife is that she will know my limitations and core strength needs.

My physio is looking at ordering me a sacroiliac joint brace and has taped me up in the interim. It’s all systems slowly shifting into “go”. I’m being careful not to overdo it and will continue to be guided by both my body and my physio. But it feels good to be making the first step towards my 100 miler goal. A goal that might take a while to reach but one that promises an interesting journey.

JC Trotter Memorial Park

Lakeside morning

Lakeside morning

After yesterday morning’s return to training, I was excited to jump out bed to hit the trails again today (though I my exit from bed was more a slow roll because my back won’t yet allow me to jump). Instead of returning to Buhot Creek, I went instead to JC Trotter Memorial Park. This little patch of bush is near Buhot Creek where I was yesterday. I was drawn thereĀ  by three geocaches that promised easy finding and plenty of walking between each cache. And the fact that I’d never been here before.

Ancient grass tree family

Ancient grass tree family

 

Nature's stories

Nature’s stories

 

Mmmm ... soft

Mmmm … soft

JC Trotter Memorial Park is delightful! It will be an excellent addition to my trail running when I am able to run again. But for now, it made for lovely walking. I think there’s plenty to see along the trails. There’s sculptural ancient grass trees that stand over a metre tall and look like little families. Mother Nature has written her stories on the bark of scribbly gum trees. And multiple varieties of grasses grow along the track, including some whispy long soft grasses that look like they would make a comfortable mattress.

The view through the 'window'

The view through the ‘window’

The geocaches I found were all large and easy to locate, unlike the challenging little micros I searched for yesterday. One was hilarious because it was a bucket with a toilet seat on top of it placed in a hollowed out tree. The tree had a ‘window’ in it, which made the cache look a bit like the small room we all have in our homes. The view through the ‘window’ was pretty and really encapsulated the atmosphere of JC Trotter Memorial Park.

I ended up walking 5.25km and felt good afterwards. I didn’t experience any pain during my walk, though I think perhaps it was slightly too far because I had some slight pain after I rode my motorbike to work (nothing like the pain I have been experiencing though). The really promising thing is that my calves and shins are still feeling great after my walks: no shin splints.

My physio is going to try to hook me up with a local guy who does chi running. I think it will be good to learn some new techniques in my quest to return to running and enjoy the sport injury-free. During my walk I tried to focus a little bit on keeping my body aligned and using gravity to my advantage. I tried taking small steps and having my feet land under me, rather than in front. It’s not a scientific approach but I’m just trying new things to see what might work.

Total: 5.25km walk and 3 geocaches found

A walk in the bush (with some geocaching thrown in)

Morning bushland

Morning bushland

The sun rose at 4:47am today so I had plenty of daylight hours before I had to be at work. With my back pain slowly becoming less severe and my movement less restricted, I decided to start getting back into some light bushwalking again this morning.

I went out to some bushland in Sheldon that I’ve not explored before. There are two fun and challenging series of geocaches hidden in the bushland so I thought it would be a fun way to combine my desperate need for exercise with a passtime that is keeping me from going insane during this period of recovery.

Morning trails

Morning trails

My expedition took me along some smooth wide fire trails that would be amazing to run on. Unlike the trails near my home, the surfaces here are soft hardpacked dirt, which will probably turn into sticky mud during the rainy season. It will be a good place to do some running when my body is ready again (it’s not far off now … my physio and I are hoping I’ll be ready again in December).

Mossy log

Mossy log

The scenery here in this bush is slightly more open than the bushland near my home. This area is flatter compared with my local bush, which is hilly with deep gullies. Here, the leaves can settle on the ground and moss grows on fallen logs that look like they are lying out in the open, rather than only those laying near creeks.

Spider

Spider

But one thing never changes: the spiders. There were some monsters out in the bush this morning. Good thing they don’t scare me. This particular breed of spider is common in our area. They would probably be pretty if it weren’t for their big ugly elongated back. The yellow stripes on their legs catch the sunlight and contrast against their white faces. They spin thick webs that are sometimes over a metre wide. And then when we walk through their webs they just start again: talk about tenacity.

It felt good to go walking without pain this morning. I’ve been in agony since I injured my sacroiliac joint (SIJ) on 29 or 30 October. It still hurts to sit at my desk all day and to stand up after laying down but at least the pain is now probably only at 1-2/10 instead of the 10/10 I rated it last week.

I might head out again tomorrow to explore some more trails in the same bushland. Who knows, I might even finally be quick enough to share a photo of a wallaby with you. I keep trying to photograph them but they usually hop away too quickly.

Total: 3.11km walk and 5 geocaches found.

 

Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) injury

The back pain I’veĀ  been having for the past week has a name: Sacroiliac Joint (or SIJ) injury. Having a name for it doesn’t bring me any closer to knowing what caused the sudden onset of the worst pain I think I’ve ever felt but it does mean I know what I need to do to make the pain go away.

The pain I am experiencing is manifesting as lower back pain but is actually an inflamation or injury of the top of my glutes around where they join my hips. Apparently there are two big flat muscles that meet at the SIJ and it is the meeting of these muscles that is causing my pain. I suspect that the release of tension in my shins and calves is causing my whole body to realign after many years of compensating for my ultra short calves (have I mentioned yet that both my left and right calf have now passed the magic 10cm mark?). With this mindset, I’m not too concerned at the short-term pain I’m currently experiencing. I think it’s my body taking the opportunity to repair itself after all the abuse I’ve been dishing out.

The good news is that the SIJ pain should settle within 2-3 weeks and that I have a fantastic physiotherapist who is committed to fixing injuries. He was at a 40th birthday party on Saturday night when I messaged him to tell him I was in agony and still messaged back with advice, and then squeezed me in for an appointment today. He dug his elbows into my muscles, got his ultrasound machine working on me and then strapped my back to give it support.

I have to take it easy for the next 2-3 weeks. I’m only allowed to do gentle walking and cycling so long as it doesn’t cause pain during or after the exercise. While I won’t be able to participate in my first Audax Australia ride this Saturday, I’m not getting down about it. I’ll just restart my running and cycling training at the same time once this latest body adjustment has taken place.

At least if my body does all its adjusting and healing now I will be able to start the New Year fresh, fit and ready for action. I mean, I’ve had leg pain for 15 years so no doubt my body overcompensated in all sorts of strange ways. Now that the leg pain is healing, my whole body is going to have to learn to move properly the way it was originally designed to.