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Friday, February 21, 2014

Hruska recap

Craig and I arrived home from Lincoln, NE last night. Aside from the disappointment of returning home with the same headache I left with last weekend, we both feel like the trip went as smoothly as possible. We have more clarity around the mechanisms of my pain, more confidence that it can be fixed, and a solid set of tools at our disposable to make it happen.

Picking up where I left off in my last post, which provided a detailed account of my first day at the Hruska Clinic, Tuesday consisted of another session with Ron (this time along with the optometrist, Dr. Weiss), a visit to their dentist to get my mouth piece molds made, a second PT session with Torin, and a visit to the vision center to get my glasses made.

After thinking more about my case between Monday and Tuesday, Ron offered us some additional insight. Though on the surface I appear to be more of a "head/neck patient", he explained that in his eyes, I'm actually more of a "hip patient". This didn't blow us away, as the hip connection has been something I've explored with several other therapists. I know mentioned this a while back, but in 2010 I had arthroscopic surgeries on both hips to repair labral tears. My left hip hasn't been an issue since, but my left one does irritate me quite a bit (what I would describe as a "pinchy" feeling and the constant need to "get at" my TFL with a tennis ball). To be honest, though, the severity of my head makes any other aches and pains seem negligible.

Anyway, Ron thinks that the issues I'm experiencing with my head are ultimately being driven from my hips, specifically my hip flexors. My left femur is too far forward and my left too far back. The rehab exercises that we spent the next few days learning with him and Torin are therefore focused on the connection between my left quad, glute, and abs. By getting me out of extension, he thinks that this will be able to remove the tension in my low back and neck, which are contributing to the "twisting" of my cranium. I have a series of exercises and progressions that I'll spent the next few weeks focused on mastering. I wear my glasses while doing my rehab (along with some work around the house) and my mouth piece at night with the goal of maintaining neutrality (mental image real quick: neck brace, mouth piece that causes my bottom lip to stick out, glasses...you're welcome) As of right now, I'll likely be going back to Lincoln at some point in the next few months, but just taking it one step at a time.

Looking ahead, Ron is also totally aligned with us pursuing the course of treatment with Dr. Crutchfield, which includes continuing to wear the neck brace for another couple of weeks before we head out to Baltimore for my first set of injections.

All in all, Craig and are both very happy that we made the trip to Lincoln. It can certainly be difficult for me to stay positive when I'm having to relearn movement patterns, breathing techniques, and trying to "feel the floor under my feet" when all I want to do is make my f-ing headache go away. I understand the theory and the science but sometimes the emotional frustration of chronic pain can make calm and logical thought a bit blurry. Craig has been explaining it to me like this: We have two goals. The first goal is to get rid of my pain and the second is to restore optimal function to my body. Even though the first goal is our top priority, we have to chip away at the second one right now in order to make the first one possible. So after an exhausting week, I appreciate his ability to stay strategic, focused, and optimistic more than ever.

On a final, happy, nothing-to-do-with-having-a-headache note, I am SUPER excited for this coming Monday because I'll be starting a four month program with Seed Spot, a local business incubator that supports early stage social entrepreneurs who are launching ventures that create a positive impact in the lives of people and communities on a local, national, or global scale. I've had an idea brewing for quite some time, and though I'm not yet in a position, health-wise, to launch into it full speed ahead, I'm looking forward to getting the wheels churning in what seems like an incredibly innovative and supportive environment. More to come!

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