Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Graston Technique: A Story About My Sad Feet

In my last pain update, I reported that I injured myself at Pole Expo and was dealing with some major foot and back problems.  It is about six weeks later, and I am happy to report that my back is feeling much better (though it is still a little tight).  I am finally back to doing mini backbends in yoga (in my world, standing upright is a back bend).  My left foot is slowly following along (well, the top of it and the toes -- we will get to the bottom of my foot later).  Last night in yoga, I was actually able to roll over my toes from plank to downward dog without having to lift my feet up and carefully place them on the ground in order to avoid the sad toes.  However, now my left hip, which had responded well to the myofascial release therapy (I actually had quite a few completely pain free days!), is suddenly hurting.  A lot.  I can't win.  Ever.  

Don't tell anyone I was wearing these shoes...
Anyway, I met Angela through a fellow Twirly Girl, Jessica.  Angela, owner of Body Strong Massage, came out to NCPP and did chair massages for most of the day.  When I met Angela, she was in the process of setting up a location pretty close to my house so I promised to set up an appointment for a massage.  It took me a few months to pull it together but I finally got out there last week.  While she worked on me, we talked about all of my body issues.  Scars.  Injuries.  We talked about my foot surgery.  It took about a year, but my right foot is now mostly pain free post-fascia release, however, there's still kind of a bump in my foot where the fascia was cut.  Sadly, my left foot (even before the latest injury) was starting to have the plantar fasciitis type pain.  I expressed my frustration and she understood.  Angela does those crazy ultra marathons.  The ones I couldn't even dream of walking, much less running, with all the issues I'm having right now.  Anyway, she pulls out this little metal tool and starts talking about the Graston Technique.  She tells me she battled plantar fasciitis for a long time and it almost ruined her.  So she does foot work for a very reasonable price because she feels so passionately about helping people live without pain.  

What is the Graston Technique?  

"Graston Technique® is an evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively address scar tissue and fascial restrictions through comprehensive training, resulting in improved patient outcomes.

The technique uses specially-designed stainless steel instruments, along with appropriate therapeutic exercise, to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. The instruments also are used diagnostically to follow the kinetic chain, to locate and treat the cause of the symptom as well as the specific area of pain."

Angela tried out the technique on me during the massage.  She likened the knots in my body to many plastic bags stuck together.  You know, like those little bags in the grocery store that we need to lick our fingers to separate and put our produce in?  Those ones.  The tool is this small metal, almost brass knuckle-looking, thing.  I think of it kind of like a squeegee.  Think of laying tint on a window and you're trying to get all the air bubbles out.  That's how it felt for me.  

Although, Angela worked on me a little bit with the tool last Friday, I made an appointment for last night just to have my feet worked on.  It was crazy.  I could feel all of these little cracky things in both feet and calves.  She could feel where I was tight and then follow the yellow brick road to another area of the leg that was also tight.  I am a little sore today but have another appointment for next week.  

This was a really great experience for me.  I am not lessening the amazingness of Keith but it is nice to have someone very close to home.  I am realizing that, although Keith really put me back together when I was in the worst place, I needed to be seeing him a couple of times a week for a few months in order to have truly reaped the benefits of what he does.  I didn't really get that until I watched my doctor work on my hip.  So I am going to be more proactive with my feet and not wait until I can't walk to take care of the problem.

So, between my doctor fixing my hip and Angela fixing my feet, my goal is to be relatively pain free in 2015!  I have not been that way in over five years.  

Have you ever tried the Graston Technique?  Someone mentioned that it can be used on scars in general so maybe I'll start having her run it over my plastic surgery scars that have tightened down.  I'd love to hear about your experiences with it!

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