Rebecca is a doctor, keen runner and fitness enthusiast, who first struggled with lower back pain during marathon training in 2016. Finding it difficult to reduce by her own efforts, she came to clinic to see Emily last Summer, and has had some great results she’d like to share!
Emily – When I first assessed Rebecca, I found she had a lot of, what we would call, flexor chain tightness – so that’s the hip flexors, hamstrings and calves. But she also had an inappropriate strength relationship between her glutes and adductor muscles of the thigh, which was compromising her back in both running and weight bearing exercise. So what we decided to do was to loosen a lot of that out to give her more flexibility, work on her lower back mobility, and to get her in for some technique review with our personal trainer in clinic, my brother Matt.
Here, I chat with Rebecca about the results she’s seen from her initial treatment, through into her current maintenance programme.
Rebecca – Well, I mean essentially I just wanted to say you’re like a miracle worker. Because it was a problem for at least… I mean when I came to you, I was into the second or third year of this problem. So, I’d already gone through stages of doing yoga, some physio… But nothing worked really.
Emily – I think it was having the manual treatment done, as well as doing the rehab together that worked though. Because you are varied in the exercise that you do, it’s not like you were missing anything from your routine, other than having someone take a little look and work out where the tightness was coming from.
R – Yeah, so your brother helped with that too. And that was why I could start going back to doing [weights] again. But I think a lot of it has come down to your knowledge.
E – Yeah, Matt said that previously someone had given you a bit of bad advice on your squat technique, and that had resulted in you having a bit of a tilt on the pelvis, which was not helping things.
R – Yeah, there was something going on, because I was leaning forwards all the time.
E – So transferring the weight out through the toes, rather than keeping it in the heels?
R – Yeah, I definitely wasn’t sitting back.
E – Just leaning forward to get the last few degrees of movement?
R – Yeah, that’s right! I was definitely doing something very awkward… And it was a combination of doing all that stuff and running up hills. But it was definitely started by lifting weights… Doing the squats and deadlifts, or something. That was hurting!
E – But it goes to show, that for someone who’s very healthy, extremely health conscious, and knows what to do – how quickly just one or two little bad habits can lead to a symptomatic picture.
R – Definitely… which I couldn’t sort out for a long, long time.
E – I think it was because it was so subtle, it was nothing overt.
R – That’s true actually. It was a build-up of bad technique.
NB. The photo accompanying this blog post is of Rebecca doing mindful running through the desert, at sunrise, in Marrakech. If you needed validation that our patients are awesome people – that might just be the pinnacle!
If you’re a runner who would like to see a reduction in pain, or an improvement in technique, it’s time to consult an Osteopath!