Post-Fall Update, Part 2

I had been starting to think of this fall 10 days ago as a thing of the past, however tonight something odd happened.

A few things have come together to create kind of the perfect storm:

-Falling hard on ice 10 days ago

–I saw a new massage therapist who put way too much stress on my knees and made my knee issues flare up, so I’ve been limping a little bit

–I tried a new exercise at the gym tonight which I perhaps wasn’t ready for — any time I try a new exercise out of the pool, that is a risk.  (This was a reverse leg raise— I did about 30 of them never having done them before.  As I type this I know that was way too much– I probably should have started with 5!).

I was hurrying across the supermarket parking lot tonight, trying to rush in and pick up a few things 20 minutes before closing, when I felt a horrible sinking feeling in the area of my left SI joint.  The sinking feeling that means my SI joint is about to lock up.

I’m not sure how much sense what I’m about to say will make to anyone else, but at the very least, these notes are probably going to form the basis of my treatment approach for the SI joint when I’m finally a practicing PT.  So, with that being said:

What ended up happening is I felt a pinching, and a sinking feeling in my SI joint, but it was much, much lower down to the base of the sacrum than when my joints normally lock up.

It happened as I was taking a step, and yes– the joint is locked up now (meaning the ilium is jammed against the sacrum in a way that’s restricting its motion, and it seems to be stuck).

However, it’s stuck in a way that is unfamiliar to me– it doesn’t appear to be a matter of simple anterior or posterior rotation.  Instead, I believe I felt a shearing– the surface of the ilium and sacrum rubbing against each other in the vertical plane.  (In other words, I feel like my ilium is now jammed down against the sacrum, instead of backward like it normally goes).

The pain that I feel is in the exact same location that took the brunt of the impact when I fell and landed on the ice.  I really doubt that it’s a coincidence– I think that fall must have sprained a ligament are two (there are so many down there!).

Like the first time I fell and sent a strong blow through my SI joints, this injury took a little while to have real ramifications.

Following my first fall in 2011, my SI joints didn’t actually lock up for another 2 or 3 weeks.

After this fall, it didn’t happen for 10 days.  (I’m also not sure it would have happened if I hadn’t tried those new exercises, or been walking quickly in stiff boots, without really paying attention to how my feet were hitting the ground).

The lesson is this: sometimes there can be a delay between the time you injure your ligaments, and the time the joint moves out of place or you actually experience symptoms.  

As of right now, I will probably end up going to see my chiropractor.  Ideally I’d give it a few days, but if things are still this jammed up I might try to go tomorrow.  Right now the joint is jammed up badly enough, in a way that is completely new to me, that it isn’t something I expect to be able to diagnose or fix myself.  (Unfortunately, I don’t think any PT I’ve met could either).

I do think there probably is a time and a place for chiropractor visits– when something is stuck this badly, and creating this much pain, and when it isn’t something you can adjust yourself, it may be worth it to go sparingly.

The problem, of course, is that the treatments are a double-edged sword.  If you’ve read through my entire story, you’ll know that I’ve actually come to feel that having too many chiropractic adjustments made things worse for me, not better, by putting too much stress on the ligaments and overall being too dramatic a change for my body.

However, I do feel that the problem was with the very nature of the adjustments themselves, not with my chiropractors’ ability to diagnose.   (Although I wouldn’t trust just any chiropractor, I’ve found a few good ones who really can put things into place and reduce pain).

Right now, when I am kind of up a creek like this, I really need the level of expertise I know my chiropractor will have.  Even if her adjustment doesn’t cause things to stay in place for that long, I need someone to just tell me what is going on down there, so I know how to proceed.

And despite some of the negative things I’ve said about chiropractors, maybe I shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I have found chiropractors to be the best at diagnosing some of the more subtle nuances of the SI joint, even if sometimes I think the body just needs some time to sort things out on its own.

If you’re still reading, thanks for making it through this long-winded post!  More to come.

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