Question about Chronic Pain in an Endurance Athlete Posted on March 18, 2014, 0 Comments

Question:

I just did a 6 hour mtb race this past weekend. It was awesome. My writeup is below.  Another reason I'm reaching out is because I still have some nagging pains on the left side of my body (primarily) that I've been unable to fully address with stretching, chiro, and the massage I occasionally get. I've even gone as far as to stop running for the last month and a half, but it doesn't seem to be the root of the issue (just exacerbates it). 

I'm thinking I need to go to someone that's cycling and/or running specific to really dig into the problem spots. There's a couple that I've seen people talk up, but I thought I'd see if you have someone you'd recommend. Any info is appreciated!

Answer:

Sounds like it was a good race despite the issues.  And as far as those issues are concerned, I think you need to consider:

--nutrition/lifestyle: you've done some work with me, so you should have a good background.  But I question your choice of fuel for the race--GS cookies and granola bar being the main issues.  Of course, nutrition outside of competition is even more important.  Then there's thinking, breathing, hydration, movement, and sleep, too.  How are you doing here?  If you tax the system too much in relation to these principles, it's only a matter of time till the body revolts.  And to get really deep, hip flexors are closely tied to the adrenals.  And the left side of your body is the female side....

--length/tension relationships: we've never done a full physical assessment, and it might be worth your while.  You're stretching, but are you stretching exactly what you need to be stretching?

--core function: is it working, and are you strengthening what needs to be strengthened and in a functional way which supports your performance goals?

--proper program design/periodization: you might want a 2nd opinion on what you're doing (and remember: the higher your level of stress, the lower your tolerance for exercise).

--bike fit (best guy I know is Matt at Podium).

 

--equipment choice (i.e. shoe, pedal, etc).

 

Jeff Trotti is an excellent massage therapist and the guys at First Choice Health Care are skilled Chiro's and ART practitioners.  But until you address the underlying cause as mentioned above, you're likely just chasing symptoms and will have to continue seeing these folks regularly.  Ultimately, you need to be your best therapist. 

Know that endurance athletics, especially EXTREME endurance like what you're doing, is rough on the body.  And anything which is not perfectly aligned/functioning gets magnified by the volume of training/racing.  It can be something small which simply adds up until it reaches your particular breaking point.  And the better your nutrition/lifestyle/program design, the higher your threshold and the more straws your back can handle before it breaks. 

Lastly, if your issues don't seem to be responding to stretching, chiro, massage, etc, those are good clues that it's likely something else which needs to be addressed.  I've mentioned a few of the obvious suspects above.  Let me know if you want to pursue any of them with my assistance.  And good luck!

 

Much Chi

--A