You may recall that in last week’s post, I began to share CLIENT SUCCESS STORIES with you so that you may better understand WHY I am so unique in my field of orthopedic massage therapy. The key word “success” is important to stress because during my 10 years of practice, I have met and worked with numerous clients who want me to “fix them”. They come to my office in dire pain, expressing that they are ready to commit to their healing process, but then they don’t follow through with the recommendations. I see them once or twice a year and they wonder why they’re still suffering. If this describes you, then we are not a good fit.
For those of you familiar with Strengths Finder, my second strength is Positivity, which means, “I have an enthusiasm that is contagious. I am upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do”. I work best with the type of client who is ready to take responsibility for his/her healing process. I am here to coach, to encourage, and to bring natural healing to the body. I find that the clients with whom I work best are those who are committed to the consistent journey into a whole new level of wellness that they didn’t realize was possible. Each week, I will share with you one client’s journey toward becoming a better version of him/herself.
Today I share the story of “Marie”. In March, Marie came into my office expressing symptoms of low back pain and numbness running the length of her left lateral hip down through the thigh and into the ankle. She spends her workdays on her feet in a retail setting with few opportunities to sit. She shared with me that four years prior she fell on the ice, 3 months prior she shoveled too much snow, and 1 week prior she fell off the last 2 steps landing onto her right hip. She was taking pain medication daily and attended PT for several months for the snow shoveling incident, but was feeling no change in her symptoms.
During our first session, I assessed Marie’s left leg expressing shorter than the right, which led me to believe her hips were out of balance. Working within her range of motion, her left hip felt guarded and her left iliacus (aka hip flexor), both transverse abdominals, gluteals, and piriformis were short and tight. I introduced postural awareness, recommended several stretches, and encouraged consistent, weekly sessions for 3-4 weeks. Marie agreed … she was ready to find a natural way to heal her body and scheduled her next session for the following week.
When working with new clients, I always set the expectation that consistent, weekly orthopedic sessions for 3-4 weeks are crucial for the natural healing process. Each session builds upon the previous session. As one muscle group begins to loosen, another may tighten. This is change. Change is good. This shows me and the client that the body is finding a new level of balance.
During our initial weeks together, we discussed the importance of removing inflammatory foods and increasing nutritional supplementation. She conducted her own due diligence on the items we discussed and gradually began to choose healthier options. After 4 consistent weekly sessions, Marie was “feeling her best in 3 months”. Her low back pain was subsiding, the left lateral hip numbness was less frequent, and she was no longer taking pain medications. Marie was ready to graduate to a 2-week interval. Her muscles and joints felt healthy and left hip guarding had resolved. However, after a few more sessions, the numbness down to the ankle continued. At this time, I recommended that she consult for neurologically-based chiropractic care because I have found that when the muscles are responding properly and the client still feels numbness, this indicates to me that nerve interference exists.
Fast forward several months … Marie chose to pursue chiropractic care only for about 8 weeks to see how her body would respond. Overall, she is improving and finding a new level of balance, however, due to travel and other life stressors, she briefly fell away from a consistent stretching routine and had not scheduled massage sessions during that 8-week period of time. Marie is currently noticing pain in both sacral-iliac joints, tightness in both quadriceps and the left lateral hip pain has changed … the numbness has subsided yet a different level of discomfort has emerged. Once again, this represents change, and change is good.
During our most recent session, we found tension in the sacral area: 60% on the right and 40% on the left. We discussed the importance of continuing to incorporate proper chiropractic care, orthopedic massage therapy, postural awareness, stretching, and balanced nutrition. We also discussed the idea of more supportive shoes and even changing shoes and socks mid-day, especially during those long days of standing in the retail setting. Marie incorporated the shoe change and within several days, began to feel additional improvement through her low back, hips and legs. I love how when you give the body what it needs, it heals itself.
If you can relate to Marie’s story, then call or text me at 412-760-1776 to set up a free phone consultation to see if we are a good fit for working together.
Denise Fahrion is a passionate orthopedic massage therapist in the McCandless suburbs of Pittsburgh. She personally works toward and shares with her clients ways to become “Focused. Grounded. Balanced.”