Tell me who can fix my body and teach me how to keep it balanced!
April 26, 2014 10:58 AM Subscribe
I’ve been seeing physical therapists for pain in my shoulders and hips, but I’m looking for someone who really understands what is causing the pain from a whole-body perspective and can work with me to fix these specific problems and teach me how to keep my body healthy. Who is this person? What do they call themselves or the work that they do?
posted by feidr2 to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I am a late-30s female that has participated in various forms of intense exercise and physical labor throughout my life, though I now have a desk job. The shoulder pain is impingement that came on suddenly and has persisted for about 8 months (following some cross-fit exercises I was doing at home without the guidance of an experienced teacher). The hip pain also feels like impingement and has been present for at least 5 years, but has recently been exacerbated by martial arts training I started a few months ago.
I have seen two physical therapists; one just gave me exercises to strengthen and stabilize the muscles around my pelvis and scapular muscles, for the hip and shoulder pain, respectively. She thought the hip pain may be caused by femoroacetaular impingement. Subsequent x-rays have revealed “no significant bony abnormalities” (whatever that means).
I felt that there was probably more that could be done than just strengthen the muscles, so I switched to a new PT. PT #2 found the right side of my pelvis (the painful side) was tilted forward. She did not suspect femoroacetabular impingement (her reasoning seemed to be that it mainly occurs in older people, but that’s not what I’ve read, so I don’t know if I trust her judgment on this part). She has given me exercises to move it into the correct position, and once positioned better, we added some strengthening and stabilizing exercises. For the shoulder pain, she has done more manual work (trying to stretch out the shoulder capsule) and has given me stretching and strengthening exercises to do at home.
I started the PT about 5 months ago, and while the pain has been alleviated by the various exercises, it still persists and I’m unable to participate in all of the activities I once was. If the hip pain is indeed femoroacetabular impingment, I understand the pain may never go away completely. And I know PT just takes time. My issue is that I still don’t really understand what’s been causing the pain, or the best course of treatment. I don’t think any of the PTs I have seen really understand either. I am very tired of seeing “specialists” who have a very narrow view of what may be causing pain and what the best treatment is.
I want to understand the relationship between my physical history, current habits and activities, and how the muscles, bones, fascia, etc. work together to keep my body as pain-free as possible. I think that some combination of strength work, massage, maybe chiropractic work, and a thorough understanding of body mechanics is what I’m interested in. I don’t want someone that just makes me feel better while I’m there and immediately afterward (eg. a traditional chiropractor or massage therapist), but someone who can give me work to do at home to continue fixing my body in the shorter term as well as keep my body balanced throughout life so I can keep up an active lifestyle. Does this magical person exist, and what would they call themselves? How can I tell if they’re right for me? Is it worth seeing someone else in the medical field, such as an orthopedist or sports doctor? I’m disenchanted with medical professionals currently, as they don’t seem to see things holistically, and the insurance system doesn’t encourage this. Bonus points if you have any specific recommendations in the Portland OR metro area.