I’ve just realized that this blog, whether it’s read or not by anyone, is functioning wonderfully as a chronicle of my increasingly frequent bodily ills. Latest up on the block is my visit to the Osteopath yesterday.
I’ve been feeling ‘tight’ for many months now and sometime near the end of February, in the middle of the night, while attempting to get up to have my 3 am pee, all of a sudden my lower back decided to rip open. That’s what it felt like anyway, a hot rip all across the back. I got to the bathroom and back, but for the next week I had trouble tying my shoes.
I waited it out and even did two races while the pain was still there (although moving around the back, hips and even legs). I went to my GP last week and he helpfully told me that I was now over 50, so suck it up, cupcake. Then I found an Osteopath through some friends and went to see her yesterday morning.
After stripping down and climbing up on her table, the Osteo told me that I was ‘bien bloqué’. In fact I was bloqué from head to uneven toes (one leg was longer than the other till she finished with me), so I asked her why this might be. She said that sometimes it is due to a crash (she knew I rode) and then I remembered last June’s encounter with the German camper van. She said that the body can get out of whack from an accident like this and that it can be aggravated with time.
She then went to work on me, twisting, pulling and digging her way to my new-found ‘balance’. When she was done I felt a little noodly, but not much else. A day later I have some pains still, but the tightness in my hips (it was pretty extreme) is more or less gone and I feel generally ‘loose’. It appears that the body needs to resettle into itself over a few days after an Osteo session, so I’ll just watch cycling instead of doing it.
If this works it’ll have been the best €50 I’ve spent in France. If it doesn’t, I’m willing to fork out 50 more for one more try.
Anyone else have much experience with this sort of thing?
31 thoughts on “Débloqué”
Absolutely I have Gerry. Next time don’t wait so long to get your butt into her. In the US they’re called D.O.’s.
A kid rear-ended me on the expressway about ten years ago, texting he was. I was going 3 mph in a traffic jam. He was above 45 when he hit me. I blacked out from the impact of my melon on the headrest and my seat bent back. I felt okay so I went to work but was dizzy and in a ton of pain around lunchtime. My D.O. told me to go to the ER when I called him and told him what was up, to get checked for a concusion…
At the ER, after I explained to the doctor that I was a recovering drunk and addict, cleared me for the concussion but gave me opiods for the pain (real smart). I didn’t fill the prescription and went straight to my doctor.
He took five minutes to line me back up. I left the office pain free. Honest to God, man. Coolest thing.
That’s quite the story, Jim. I’ve luckily never had a rear-ender like that. It must be quite the shock to the system.
I’m still ‘settling’ now, it seems, because my lower back still hurts some. Will give it a few days, while trying not to sitting on my ass too much.
Gerry..I’ve been going to a kinesiologist at minimum once per week for the past 5 or so years. He muscle tests, balances me out, adjusts leg length, pelvis and or hip placement and anything else..he’s NOT a bone cracker..all is done with gentle finesse moves…he’s been practicing for 40 years…when he retires, I’m screwed!
I think you’ve mentioned that before to me. Is that just to keep you ‘straight’, or because of some injury in the past? By the way, I feel the same way about our dentist. He’s training his son right now to take over the clinic. It won’t be the same…
Hey Gerry, for a few years I’ve been seeing an ostéo one or twice a year to fix a tilting pelvis – can’t blame accidents on this, it’s usually triggered by too much time in front of computer with less than ideal posture. Within 48 hours the pain is typically gone, it’s great. But since last summer I’ve been contending with the fallout from a herniated lumbar disc + compressed nerve (not sure if blame is cycling or running, but again it was not from trauma) and interestingly the ostéo treatment s didn’t “stick” for this injury. What has been helping is my chiro, who doesn’t just look at bone alignment but also muscle imbalances. The manipulations are really subtle but they make a huge difference, and I had a good week of climb-y riding in Mallorca even though I had a little setback just 6 days before we flew to Palma.
Also, must add that in addition to above I do a lot of core & mobility work (for a cyclist). Still far from bomb-proof but my body is much more resilient which means more consistent training.
I think I’ll do the same and go back to her after the season is over, whether I’m feeling blocked or not. It’s a small price to pay.
I’ve also had good results from a chiro (in Singapore), who re-curved my neck for me.
The riding looked great in Mallorca. Are you back home now?
I’m trying to do more core work now, but it’s been sidelined by the back/hip pain over the past two months. Will start back on that soon.
Hope your lower back pain doesn’t develop into what I have. After 5 years of a progressively worsening lower back problem starting when you and I did our first Haute Route back in 2013 with the occasional Sciatic discomfort, to my present situation where my entire life revolves around pain management. I hate drugs that only mask a painful condition, so you can imagine my frustration when I finally caved into taken Opioid-based pain killers for the past three months, just to function.
All this is the result of compression of the L4/L5 nerve roots and a Synovial Cyst impinging on my S1 Nerve Root. Thanks to a Haute Route team mate from my 2016 race, who happens to be a Neurosurgeon, I have confirmed back surgery schedule for April 30th, instead of being put on a 29 month wait list. I didn’t take this decision lightly and have tried every preventative measure possible. For example, I have lost count of the number of message therapists I’ve seen, two Physiotherapists for over 3 years, two times a week, Laser pain therapy for 9 months, and over a dozen Cortisone and Nerve Block back injections for the last half year.
As luck would have it, the only time the pain subsides, is when I’m cycling. So lucky for me, I’ve maintained good cycling form, even though the rest of my day is a living hell. There have been times where the pain is so extreme I will ride my bike on the trainer at 2am for 2 to 3 hours just to get some relief. In fact, doctors will often use the bike to determine if the pain is vascular or neurological. If the pain is reduced while riding it will most likely be a neurological issue.
I’m often asked if my back issues are the result of riding over 20,000 km a year for decades, and the answer is no. In fact my Surgeon said, this issue probably would have arrived sooner if I was a fat slob that didn’t exercise. In my case, this is the result of the combination of a condition called Bertolotti’s Syndrome (sounds more like an expensive Italian bicycle) and to a lesser degree, my 62 trips around the Sun.
My surgeon’s best opinion is that my surgery will significantly reduce the pain, or eliminate it completely and I will receive years of pain free living, while enjoying my passion of cycling. Let’s hope his crystal ball was working.
Good luck with your back Gerry, and get an MRI and visit a back specialist so you’re not guessing what you’re dealing with.
I’m glad to hear that you’re going to get that surgery sooner than later, but sorry to know that it’s ‘come to this’. I’ll bet you are beyond caring anymore and you just want the pain to end. What’s the recovery look like for an operation like this? I’m guessing that timing it for a recovery week isn’t going to work!
I’ll take your advice if things to pop back into place soon and go see a specialist. I’m also going to try and stop sitting behind this computer for hours on end, like I’ve been doing for years now. I’m sure this is part of the problem. What did we used to do before the internet arrived? I can hardly remember.
The older you get, the more you talk about back pain, believe me.
I can’t imagine it’d be the opposite. I’m an optimist though, so I’m hoping it’s just a phase.
I have a local Osteo here in Valbonne who is excellent, and I’ve used him any time I have tightness or soreness issues, sometimes I’d swear he is a miracle working. Almost without fail, I’m better just a few days later.
I can’t say I felt the same way this time, but it was much better than before. I’m starting to feel bits of the old pain in the hips this morning, actually, so I may try her one more time. Or…a drive to Valbonne for a miracle might not be a bad idea!
Good luck with that Gerry. Some good advice from your readers. Clearly one size doesn’t fit all. Chiro, osteo, kini, surgery, core, yoga etc My advice, conservative treatments first – soft tissue and manipulation. Unless you’re having neurological symptoms, symptoms in leg etc the doctor won’t usually send you for MRI. But maybe. Good sign that you seem to have had a positive response from your osteo.
Good advice, Luc. I just met a Shiatsu therapist yesterday who said she deals with backs a lot, too. Seems everyone’s getting in on the game! Sounds like you have some experience with these things, by the way….
I do. And if you were up this way I’d give you a treatment. I’ve had some patients get off the table with a ‘hallelujah’ moment. Most take a few of visits. Some, it’s chronic and it’s about maintaining a good functioning level. And some I have no success for whatever reason. It can be as simple as they don’t like the ‘crack’ sound. But often a combined method is best, for example treatment and activities that will support the injured area – stretches, yoga, Pilates etc. Stuff you can often do at home. My guess is you’re nowhere near the surgical level. If it’s any consolation you’re in fine company with top athletes who’ve had back problems and come back to top shape. I like the term you used used ‘bloqué’. Or here ‘blockiert’. Your blocked – the joint is not moving properly. And joints are designed to move. That’s where they get their health from. More longwinded than I usually am but hopefully things will turn around quickly for you.
Remind me again, are you a Chiropractor? You mentioned this once or twice along the way, but it’s been lost in the memory banks.
Excellent and not longwinded at all. Thanks for the expert advice. I canvassed my English students today who all corroborated what people are saying in the comments here, i.e. this stuff can work. I emailed my Osteo this morning to tell her I was still having some pain and she suggested that it’s possibly ‘normal’, but to contact her again on Friday (a week after the session) if this haven’t settled down by then. In the meantime, I might pull out my old karate gi and see if I can remember a few of the old moves…probably shouldn’t have done all that stuff when I was 20 years old and saved it for later!
Thanks again and I might take you up on that offer if I get up your way. In return I’ll take you for a bike ride if you visit Le Sud. It’s the best I can do…
Yes chiropractor. If I can offer one stretch to do once you’re through your crisis, try doing the bridge. That’s the one where you lay on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor and then raise your butt off the ground so that you’re feet and head/shoulders are the only point of contact. Try to keep the knees close together. You can use your hands/fists to push up on the small of the back to give a better stretch. This stretches your iliopsoas muscle which is very often tight in people who spend a lot of time sitting/cycling (most of us). It’ll make your hamstring and quad stretches easier afterwards. And ultimately loosen the back too. And don’t forget the piriformis. And I’m a big fan of ice packs. Remember ‘good’ pain is ok but anything else don’t do it.
That’s a great stretch. I did it two nights ago (along with others) and noticed a definite loosing in the hips. Thanks again.
Good thing you’re feeling better, Gerry…
Thanks, Chikashi, and loved those photos of your bouncing across the cobbles last week. You really are a glutton for punishment (i.e. ‘cyclist’).
It’s always harder than I remember it. Really strange… lol
But then, you ride a bit of cobbles in Belgium and think you know what it’s like to ride cobbles, forgetting that the stuff here is like velvet compared to the rut down there… old age and memory…
I’ve done those French ones once, but the Belgian ‘cobbles’ a few times now. It’s like the difference between Italian coffee and French, the latter is rude in comparison!
I had read some guy’s hypothesis on why the French actually came to like their rude coffee. The coffee in Belgium isn’t rude, just awful. 🙂
I’d be interested to read that. The French are usually pretty sensitive when it comes to ‘gout’, so I can’t understand why they put up with the crap they call ‘café’.
Correction: it was written by a woman, not a guy. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/roads/2014/01/coffee_in_france_is_terrible_why_can_t_the_french_brew_a_good_cup_of_coffee.html
To be clear, I would rather have French coffee than Starbucks. Any day.
I’m going to read this at leisure later today, but already it’s been profitable. I now have a new breakfast place to visit next time I’m in Paris – Holybelly’s!
I go to the same guy that Stephen does, and I can tell you that having a good osteo (our guy is a chiropractor as well as a kinesiologist….I don’t know why he has never “cracked” Steve, he certainly has cracked my neck many times…oh.my.f’ing.god. that feels good) to keep you adjusted is a very very good thing. He has kept me and many of my colleagues on the stage, when our backs (knees, hips, necks, you name it) are protesting from the long hours of standing on a raked (slanted) stage wearing heavy uncomfortable costumes. (not the same as riding a bike, but surprisingly difficult on a body)
So, welcome to your 50’s and keep going back. It will really help.
I didn’t know your stage was slanted! That must be weird to learn to walk on.
It sounds like you two will miss this guy. I hope we can find you a suitable replacement in France, although I guess you won’t be walking on a slant much unless it’s a hilly vineyard or something.
Anyway, thanks for the comment, Rebecca. It’s good to see all this positive feedback.
re: the slanted (raked) stage. It depends on the production if it is raked or not. some are flat, some are raked, and to different degrees. It changes every day. amazing, really.
I suppose there’s a whole science to it. Sounds intriguing