I know I talk about a lot of heavy topics on this blog, so I wanted to make one thing very clear:
I feel powerful. And I feel strong.
It’s been a long process for me to put together the knowledge and strategies I talk about on my blog. There were a lot of twists and turns along the journey, and a lot of false starts.
And… let’s be real… a lot of setbacks.
I’ve tried not to talk about the personal aspect of this journey as much, because I know so many people come to this blog when they are already struggling, and I prefer to keep it light.
However, the more and more I talk to you guys, especially on my coaching calls, I’m starting to realize that it really is a universal experience that we all go through. Trying to find a medical professional who understands us, only to be told time and again that the SI joint “doesn’t move.”
Trying to explain to friends and family members, who just aren’t getting it.
I don’t talk about it as much on this blog, but believe me… I’ve been through it, too. So I want to let you know:
You can find a way.
I did… I fought my way through, a process of trial and error, constantly trying new things while also carefully monitoring my symptoms, to see what did and didn’t help.
That’s why I work so hard to share my story– to help save you the time it took, by sharing what worked for me.
Knowledge = power
For me, the missing piece that’s finally fallen into place lately is learning that I have a genetic hypermobility syndrome. It explains so much– going back even before I injured my SI joints, to my first major running injury as a teenager.
Don’t give up on yourself:
For the first time in my life, I actually now have a doctor who’s hypermobile herself. She’s really helped me to change my view of hypermobility from something that’s going to ruin my life, to something I have in common with a lot of athletes and dancers.
“When a joint moves out of place,” she says, “they just put it back and keep going.”
While this may be a way of simplifying things, it has transformed the way I see myself. Maybe I’m not weak. Maybe I’m actually a strong and athletic person who has had to learn to deal with something most people don’t understand.
You can adapt.
I no longer think of myself as someone with something “wrong” with her. I think of myself as someone who’s had to think creatively, in order to move around obstacle after obstacle.
My connective tissue is “stretchier” than it’s technically intended to be. Because of this, I have to be really creative about how I do some of my exercises, in ways that don’t overextend my joints.
The silver lining of all this, of course, is that I find all of these anatomical, rehab concepts to be so interesting– and I know that anyone who’s drawn to my blog will, too.
So, just know– there is always a way to get stronger.
- Maybe it means dialing things back and doing isometric glute squeezes, if your body isn’t quite ready to do a full bridge.
- Maybe it means learning to recognize when one muscle spasming isn’t the root of the problem– it’s actually that the other muscles that are supposed to help it aren’t strong enough.
- Or maybe it means adding in exercises to strengthen your “foot core” (yes that’s a thing!), which can not only strengthen the foot but also improve your overall stability.
There’s always a way.
Whether you’re dealing with SI joint dysfunction or generalized hypermobility, there’s always a way to modify what you’re doing, to temporarily dial back what you’re doing and re-evaluate, to find the strengthening approaches that are right for you.
You can still be that athletic person… it might just look a little different.
I know that so many of you consider yourselves “former” athletes, and wonder if you’ll be able to work out and be active again.
My answer is yes. It might not be exactly the same– but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.
My workouts are different now, but they are way more mindful. Before I injured my SI joints, I didn’t even know what the transverse abdominis muscle was.
As I was recently telling one of my coaching clients, I have days where I can totally get “in the zone” and get that endorphin high from doing a combination of strengthening and core exercises… and I don’t even have to leave my apartment (probably good thing in winter, during a pandemic!).
So yes, it is different now. I do have limitations to be aware of, but in the process I’ve become much more aware of my core stability, my posture, and my breathing… all things which I actually think are pretty cool. (More on all of these in the future!).
This is my new perspective:
If something knocks one of your joints out of place, just put it back and keep going.
And if something ever knocks your self-confidence out of place, just do the same thing– put it back and keep going.