Sunday, February 7, 2010

The search is over

A B.I.G. announcement is in order: After much consternation and failed medication trials (thanks to the uncertainty of the ortho), I unraveled the "dead leg" mystery. Acute piriformis syndrome. Phew!

So it’s been a combination of various treatments for the last two weeks. I’m still on the medication prescribed by the fancy neurosurgeon and I have to say it has helped reduce the pain dramatically. But this time round, I’m also working with a super cool physical therapist (it was she who first suggested the piriformis syndrome) to include:

Interferential Therapy
This uses electrical stimulation for pain relief, muscle stimulation, increased local blood flow, and reduction of oedema. My therapist straps on electrodes along the pain path down my leg and shoots electric impulses over 20 minutes, increasing the voltage every 2-3 minutes, as the muscles get used to the stimulation. It tingles and can feel a little weird when a muscle twitches, but leaves you with a deep-tissue massage after-feeling. Fabulous!

Short Wave Diathermy
SWD is a high frequency alternating current that produces heat for deep tissue heat treatment. So, I sit my ass cheeks (targeting the piriformis muscle) on 2 heated pads and lay like that for about 10 minutes. This feels so damn good; I’ve snoozed off on more than one occasion!

Stretch Routine
A set of stretches that specifically target the piriformis and other surrounding muscles, and the spine. I hold the stretches for 10 counts and do 5 reps of each. This is something I’ve been advised to weave into my everyday post-workout routine.

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few weeks and I’m happy to report that it’s all paying off! The pain is diminishing and I’m finally on a slow but sure recovery path. Can I just say "woohoo"? Woohoo!

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