Friday, March 25, 2011


I am happy and astounded to say my butt feels so much better I can hardly believe it! In fact, I now realize how much discomfort (pain) I had become subconsciously accustomed to; all day long discomfort, not just during running and such.

I am sure the two weeks plus of diligent stretching and strengthening exercises have helped, as I could feel less tightness just by doing my assigned PT. However, the real improvement came this week after my first session of Trigger Point Dry Needling.

The procedure itself was a tad painful and my butt and low back were sore for the rest of the day. But the next morning when I awoke, my backside felt completely different and that's when I realized how bad the situation had been. I still had some tightness and discomfort, but NOTHING like before. Sitting at work and in my car was comfortable - no need for the tennis ball wedged under my right butt cheek. Walking, standing up, swimming - everything felt untight in a way I haven't felt for a long time. I even tested things this morning by going for a run long enough to have caused my piriformis to flare up in the past (said run recommended by my therapist to see how treatment was working). Six miles and all I felt was a slight sensation in my butt, whereas before my right backside would have been super tight and I would have had a deep dull pain in my ass.

The difference in my butt (and low back and hamstring) now vs. before is almost as dramatic to me as the day I had lasik and went from blurry vision to crystal clear in a moment!

I am even more motivated than before to keep up with the PT. I also can't wait for my next dry needling session! Gotta go and do my stretches!

Monday, March 21, 2011


One week in and my Physical Therapy (PT) for my Piriformis Syndrome is going well. I'm supposed to do the prescribed exercises and stretches twice a day; I get a reprieve on some stretches if I do yoga that day. Twice a day is time consuming; like almost an hour a day of PT!

Nevertheless, I've been pretty good about sticking to my schedule. Even when it means getting up really early to do my PT BEFORE heading up to the mountains to ski. Even when it means getting up super early to do PT BEFORE running BEFORE work. The evening sessions are the toughest to fit in. I try to do some stretches at work to cut back on how much I need to do before or after dinner. I can see how easy it is for people to fall off the PT wagon; part of my reasons for posting this is to keep me honest about doing everything my therapist prescribes so I get better.

I am scheduled to undergo a session of Dry Trigger Point Needling this week. I'm pretty sure it's not going to feel all that great. Then I have a gait analysis scheduled for later this month to see if my running form is contributing at all to my problems.

I'm still running, swimming, biking and skiing, so all is good!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pain in the Butt!.

I've had a pain in the butt for years. No, it's not Jesper - he's the antithesis of a pain in the butt! It's a dull ache in the middle of my right buttock, with pain sometimes extending down my leg to the back of my knee. I've had a pretty good idea what it is for some time now, but today I finally got around to having an official doctor's diagnosis.


For a tiny little muscle, that darn piriformis sure can cause a lot of problems.

Piriformis means "pear shaped", although I think it looks more leaf shaped. There it is, highlighted in a posterior view of the right buttock and leg. It can get inflamed/irritated from activities like running and become sore. It can also press up against the nearby sciatic nerve and create shooting pain down the back of the leg. Trust me - that's no fun! In addition to the pain, the syndrome causes diminished strength and range of motion.

I'm not quite sure why it's taken me so long to see a doctor about this; probably because I think I should be able to fix this myself through smart training and stretching. But I haven't been smart enough to fix it and I was beginning to dread the havoc it might wreak on my training for another ultramarathon this summer. Already, a hard day of skiing, running or swimming leaves my butt hurting. Last year while training for my first ultramarathon, it bothered me most of the time (day and night), although oddly enough, it rarely impacted my mileage. However the problem is not getting any better andI fear it's only time before it causes a whole host of other imbalances that will result in injuries that limit my ability to do the things I love.

So, I finally went to the doctor. As a first step, she prescribed PT, mostly to address lack of flexibility and strength in my hips. I can't wait to get started (how many people actually look forward to PT?). The best thing is I don't have to stop or slow down on my many activities while I do therapy! I am hopeful this takes care of the pain in my butt!