This is a short article I wrote on New Year’s Eve on a flight from Minneapolis to Paris.
It is a self reflection of how my body said one thing whilst my mind said another.
Yesterday I woke up with a stiff painful right hip, after cycling on my fat tire bike for 2 hours in extreme cold and deep snow. I was fine during the cycle, but had to do lots of twisting and quick maneuvers, like sticking out my foot from the pedals, to keep myself from falling on the rough deep snow and ice.
I had no pain before bed and only felt pain in my right groin after doing my normal spin bike training.(maybe it was my normal spin session that cased the problem?)
After getting off my spin bike I got a twinge in my groin and I felt like my hip was stiff and restricted.
One could say “my hip felt out of place.” I ignored the pain and went up stair and showered. Later that day I took my granddaughter to the mall, on getting out of my truck I had a sharp pain in my groin and I had a hitch in my giddy up ( you know a funny feeling walking) “My hip truly felt out” (of course I know it wasn’t but I can appreciate why patients report this and why some therapists buy into this thought too.) I felt groin pain every step and my stride was short on the right, as my hip felt restricted. As my granddaughter looked round her shop, I did a bit of testing. IR was painful at end range, I was stiff in ER but no pain, no pain or restriction in flexion, but extension was painful and restricted. So I did a few loaded hip extensions via lunging, at which point my granddaughter wanted to know what I was doing. I felt like saying “grandpa’s hip is out” but I resisted.
Lunging helped reduce the pain and the hitch in my gait was less. (I had a McKenzie Directional preference, well at least according to their new definition). I did a few sessions of lunging, as we meandered round the mall. My hip felt better, until I drove home and got out of my truck, I had a sharp twinge of pain in my groin, as I climbed out and a hitch in my giddy up again.
Long story short, I popped four NSAIDs, had a cup of tea and did another hour spin without issues until I got off and had a sharp twinge of groin pain again and a return of my hitch walking. I did a few lunge stretches and got relief again. Before bed I took another four NSAIDS (my expectation was they would help me sleep, how could it fail, I primed myself for success?)
I woke early next morning, pain free and no loss of motion. My hip had “put itself back in place.” Yeh!
I get it, I understand why patients get distressed when this happens, our bodies are weird. I would have put good money on something being “out” if I was a lay person. I had loss of motion, sharp twinging groin pain, a feeling like my gait was affected and I couldn’t move my hip normally. It must all be quite frightening if this suddenly happens to a lay person.
What I also understand is that hurt doesn’t equal harm, I had control of my pain, my emotions and I knew that moving and carrying on my normal activities wouldn’t make things worse.
Pain is weird, so are our bodies, my hip was saying “danger danger Will Robinson”, I was saying “yep, got the message, but there doesn’t seem to be any danger, so it’s OK to shut the hell up.”
I also understand that this may not be the case in some patients. But perhaps being a positive caring understanding therapist for others and not giving catastrophic messaging like “your hip is out of place” may help then too. Plus, I used positive self messaging, simple exercise, kept moving and took a few NSAIDS ( a good placebo / pain relieving dose). I didn’t need clicking, taping, pricking, heating cooling or scraping. Problem is if you had done those things to me, I may have attributed my quick recovery to them. And there lies my concern, with jumping in with you favorite explanation and passive modality, you may also attribute my quick recovery to them.