Many of you probably know that I’ve had a consistent problem with tingling and numbness in my feet and calves. So far, various tests hadn’t found anything and stretching eased the symptoms some, but it hasn’t gone away.
After a follow–up appointment with my primary doctor last week, he sent me to a physical therapist who I saw for the first time yesterday.
The result? I FINALLY know the problem and have real tools to fix it! As the therapist had me stand, walk, and lay in different positions, I could literally feel the tingling come and go has he adjusted my form. I’m elated! This isn’t just another “we’ll try something and see if it works because we don’t know what’s wrong with you.” I can feel immediate relief in the aching and tingling.
The issues stem from my lower back. Here, let me illustrate:
In many ways, this posture comes from my dance background. “Tuck those hips under, straighten that back.” The slouching of the shoulders I have now is just lazy and poor posture. The problem is that shifting my hips under like this throws my back out of alignment, causes hip and knee problems, and pinches nerves that effect my lower legs.
Here’s another graphic:
I also have an incorrect sway sideways, causing my right shoulder to be lower than the left, my right hip to be back and lower and my left hip to be higher and forward, my knees to turn in and my weight carried on the outside of my feet rather than spread evenly.
Hmm, well now. I have recurring knee pain as well. Connection?
The result of all this imbalance is that my core is strong, but my obliques (which wrap around to the back) and back muscle are not. My calves are strong, but the muscles around my shins are not. And the problems will only get worse if I don’t fix it now. All the chiropractic in my world – which is amazing and I love it – can put my spine back into position, but won’t strengthen the right muscles to KEEP it that way.
I now have some exercises to strengthen the right parts of my back. After just two days, I am pretty sore. I have been forcing my muscles to do the job of tendons, and it will take some work to build up the strength and correct the posture.
Down side is that I’m not allowed to do longer runs right now. I run with this bad back alignment, which explains tingling and numbing in my feet. As I fatigue on longer runs, I over compensate even worse. So until I’ve strengthened my back to stay in place, I’m not supposed to do those longer runs.
There are also some of my standard stretches I’m not supposed to do, like a forward bend. Stretches that curve and elongate my vertebra are off-limits. My lower back needs to tighten up to hold in place, not stretched out. All of this is a big bummer… but if it brings me relief and fixes my problems, I’m willing to do it.
Cheers for a Physical Therapist who knows his stuff and can heal my back and leg problems!