In my last post, I talked about how, now that I’m doing better, I can look back and see there were different stages to my recovery. And I think that, once you can find the right treatment methods that work for you, these stages will be similar for many of you.
Right now I’m dividing this recovery into 3 stages:
In Part 1, I discussed the first two stages.
Acute: Right after my initial injury, when I was really unstable. Most of what I originally wrote about on this blog has to do with how I charted my way out of this phase, such when I first learned about strengthening, and realized I should switch from chiropractic adjustments to Muscle Energy Technique. (You can find all of these steps laid out on the My Recovery page!).
Stabilization: In the next phase, my pelvis became more stable. I had learned to maintain my alignment, through modifying my daily activities and using self-adjustments when needed. I had also built up a lot more of the muscle strength I needed to keep my joints in alignment.
In this post, I’m going to write about what I now see as the third stage– I’m calling it the strength stage.
This is the stage that I’ve really come to think of as taking it to the next level.
And you guys, I’m going to be honest, part of me is a little nervous putting my victories down in writing. I’ve been through the same journey as all of you. I’ve had my setbacks and times where it’s seemed totally hopeless, but I think that’s why it’s even more important to share this insight.
So, the strength phase is where you’ve built up enough muscle strength to then build on top of that, into even more forms of movement and exercise.
Many of us have experienced the conundrum of going to physical therapy and being given “basic” exercises such as bridges and clamshells, only to find them really aggravating. In my experience, that’s because when you’ve injured the SI joints and your biomechanics are off, these exercises that might otherwise be “easy” can actually place a lot of stress on your joint.
That’s why so much of what I talk about in the Acute and Stabilization phases has to do with modifying exercises, and not pushing yourself to do any maneuvers that are painful. For example, I’ve gone through just about my entire recovery without ever doing clamshells.
What I’ve found here is that, in order to even do some of these exercises, you need to have a certain amount of stability in the SI joint. If you’re like me, and your SI joint ligaments have been sprained, you can no longer rely on one of the body’s main systems for stability. Instead, you have to make up for it with muscle.
In fact, if you’re genetically hypermobile like I am, the same concept actually applies to all your joints.
It’s a weird paradox: if your ligaments aren’t doing the job, you actually have to have enough muscle strength built up, just to be able to do certain exercises.
This is the phase I’m in now. I battled through the acute and stabilization stages, learning what worked and didn’t worked. Unfortunately, I really had no road map, or anyone to chart a course for me. I lot of this I learned the hard way.
But somehow, I did eventually find a course. Looking back, it was like that tiny stream that started as a trickle of water, and eventually created the Grand Canyon. It seemed impossible, but I just kept carving away. I had to. (And now I’m sharing that road map, so that you can hopefully get through it quicker than I did!).
Now, I’m finally in that place where I have enough muscle strength built up that I can start getting a little more adventurous.
Ah… you guys… I really hesitate to put my successes out there! I’m so afraid to jinx it!
But what I’m working on right now is actually expanding, and testing some of the limits of what I can do.
I’m working on glute bridges with some of the variations that make them even more difficult, and some of the more advanced forms of core strengthening.
I’m even starting to add some of the things I’d learned to avoid back in, like… clamshells (in moderation!).
I pretty much go hiking in the woods every day. For me, sometimes it’s closer to running than walking– I really power up the steep hills, and challenge my ability to balance and control my movements on the downhills.
As I posted on my Instagram a few weeks ago, I’ve gotten the freedom back to do some of the things I used to do in the past. Like put on headphones and dance around my apartment for an hour doing cardio… even if I’d already done my workout for the day.
Maybe this isn’t the kind of thing everyone will understand, but I know you guys will: it’s about having the freedom to move, and do things, and use my body to express myself the way I want, without always having to think about my SI joints.
It’s still a balancing act, and, of course, there are still things I’m careful of. Part of what gives me freedom is also knowing my self-adjustments, and that I will have a way to correct my alignment if needed.
But the more you can build up all of the body’s various systems for stabilization– that includes not only muscles but also fine tuning the nervous system’s ability to control movement– the more the constant need to correct your alignment can actually start to fade into the background.
I’ve got so much more to say, but I think this is good for now!
And please remember, you can book a coaching call anytime you want to check in– I love talking with you guys!
More updates coming soon!