Thursday, April 03, 2008

A.R.T. / Pain Free Solutions

( occurred to me last night that I should have posted this a while ago...)

I've been bothered by sciatica issues for a while now (since at least May of last year). On the old '1 to 10' pain scale I've probably topped out at an 8 on occasion. It never really interfered with my running, but it has made relaxing a pain in the ass (literally). I've been searching for a 'magic bullet' since the first signs of pain.

This first lead me to my doctor who directed me to a Group Health Physical Therapist. I should say, first off, that I'm a fan of Group Health, I don't buy into the bad mouthing and over all, I've had a positive experience while being under their coverage, having said that, my visit to the PT was worthless. I believe, for the most part, what I'm told by medical authorities, and I'm not big into self diagnosis (I feel bad for doctors who have to deal with hypochondriacs who have the internet), but the advice and care that I was given by this PT was absurd. My 'treatment' was being handed a small stack of photocopies of various stretches I should do, when I stated that I was currently doing the majority of these stretches it was suggested that I had done them wrong (*sigh*), I was also told that 'it was probably just a pulled muscle anyway.' I left angry and still sore, thinking the very least the PT could have done was then showed me how to properly do the stretches I was supposedly doing incorrectly (which I don't believe).

Next I tried acupuncture. I had about 10 sessions, give or take, and though I enjoyed the treatment for it's relaxing purposes, I didn't feel it was helping the sciatica specifically. To be clear, I'd still recommend both acupuncture and my specific acupuncturist, Dan Dingle, I even plan on setting up more visits in the future, just not for sciatica reasons. The real benefit of these visit was the recommendation to seek out deep tissue massage.

While digging around on the Group Health web page, and looking at what my coverage included I came across Pain Free Solutions who offer a type of massage call A.R.T. (or Active Release Technique). I dug around a bit online a came across this article by Seattle's own KING 5, I figured it was worth a shot. I got my recommendation from my doctor (surprising easily), made an appointment, and have been going ever since. Though the issues are not completely gone, I made vast improvements over the course of the last 3 months, at it's worse, I'm at no more than a 4 on the pain scale, and that's very rare. I went from daily pain to rare tweaks and have been able to address a few other issues I probably would not have other wise. So, let it be known, I recomend A.R.T. to anyone anywhere ever (for anything)!

(and specifically Pain Free Solutions if you're in the Seattle area)

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