Monday, 16 March 2015

Working out all the kinks - a trip (or several) to the Osteopath

So, two pregnancies in two years, and the lifting and the carrying of two babies, and then a baby and a toddler at the same time, has left me rather stiff and sore. I thought when I went to The Circuit Factory that I would start to loosen up and that it would solve all the aches and niggles. 

Unfortunately The Circuit Factory is fabulous, but it's not a miracle worker. My muscles were getting stronger and fitter and faster, and were even getting more flexible from the stretching at the beginning and end of every workout. But the aches and niggles were still there, and even getting worse. 

I had read a lot about Osteopaths and Chiropractors on my travels around the internet and I had been wondering if there was anything they could do to help. The final straw was when I found I was still tossing and turning like I was heavily pregnant, even after I had lost all the baby weight.

I was struggling to get comfortable enough to sleep soundly and it was definitely not helping the aches and niggles, or my mood. I was getting more and more tired, even though my baby was sleeping better and better. So I decided to give it a try. 

Having fished for recommendations on the various expat groups on Facebook, I decided on the Osteopathic Health Centre in Umm Suqueim. My first session with Saiqa was rather nerve wracking. I had no idea what to expect, or whether it was actually going to be extremely painful. 

Thankfully it wasn't really extremely painful, but it was uncomfortable. I had reduced range of movement in my neck and my back was a tight, tender mess. During the first session I had my neck manipulated and then my upper back. The discomfort I felt apparently shouldn't be there, and as my neck was worked on, I did feel the discomfort decrease, rather than increase like I had expected it to. 

When it came to my back, there was a lot of work to be done. After Saiqa had manipulated my spine, loosening the muscles around it, pressure was applied to my back to try to release the tense muscles, and my back cracked about six times in one go. It wasn't painful, but it did take my breath away. 

That first session didn't show much improvement. I was rather stiff after the session, as though I'd done a heavy exercise class (which I hadn't as I was banned from exercising on the day of treatment), and sleeping positions weren't getting anymore comfortable. 

My second session was similar to the first, except it was my next that was released, and the pops and cracks that came with the release were spine tingling. Again there was no pain, but it took a few moments for me to come to terms with what my neck had just done! 

The day after my second session was agony. Saiqa had warned me that my other muscles would have been over compensating for the tense muscles, and that the muscles that had been sharing out the load could get tender. Everything hurt. My lower back, my left upper back, my pelvis, the outsides of my thighs and calves, my ankles, my knees. I felt like I had done ten rounds with Mike Tyson, and I really struggled to sleep at all that night, because no matter which way I lay, some muscle or other was screaming at me. 

A few days after my second session I began to realise that I was getting a little more sleep than I was usually. It wasn't a quick fix, but I did begin to wake up without feeling like I'd spent all night tossing and turning. I was still having difficulty in getting comfortable, but obviously once I was asleep, I was able to stay asleep for longer periods of time. 

My third session was by far my most uncomfortable session. Having worked on my neck and upper back, Saiqa moved onto my lower back and my glutes. My lower back was stiff and tense, but my glutes were so tightly wound that it was actually painful as Saiqa worked on them. It was really difficult to keep my muscles relaxed and to breathe throughout the treatment, as the tight muscles made me want to jump up and run away. 

However, the aftermath wasn't nearly as bad as my second session. I had increased range of movement in my neck, although it wasn't perfect, and the discomfort had moved from my upper back to my lower back. I was finding that I could sleep on my stomach again (which I hadn't been able to do since I was three months pregnant with my second baby) and that settling down to sleep was a little easier and faster. 

My fourth session was so much easier. My back only popped once or twice, rather than the usual six, and my neck had much more movement in it. My lower back was still tight, but the manipulation wasn't too uncomfortable. I was shocked when it came to my glutes, as I was waiting for the agony, but it never came. That one session of manipulation had really made a lot of difference, and it was only the very middle of the muscle that was still tight and tender. 

I still have at least one or two sessions to go before we think I'll be back to normal, but I'm really really pleased with the improvement. I wasn't expecting much from it, and I certainly had no idea that my glutes were that tight, or that they were having such an impact of the way that I functioned on a day to day basis, or that they were affecting my sleep so badly. 

Next time I'm feeling uncomfortable, I'll be heading straight to the Osteopath! I'm trying to convince Gary to go, just to check he doesn't need his neck or back popping back into place! 

For me, it's been better than a massage, because I know that once the discomfort disappears, it makes a real difference to how I feel day to day. I know that I'm back in alignment and that I can continue to exercise with my muscles back in balance. 

Have you ever seen an Osteopath? What did you think?