My first trip to rehab

For weeks, I’ve been complaining about pain in my groin. Go ahead and laugh, I would, too — though I actually wanted to cry, because it reminded me of my junior year, when a groin strain during my x-country season resulted in the need to be wrapped like a mummy during my meets and practices. Ahh, the memories of when my good friend and teammate, Heather, had the laborious chore of taping me from mid-thigh all the way up to my waist to constrict the muscles and allow them to heal. Those days were not fun, my friends, because I would shuffle uncomfortably through miles, looking like Fred Flintstone, and feeling like the freak who was running with no range of motion. But since we all know I refuse to stop, it was the only choice for a girl who was ultimately destined to go on to compete at state that year.

So fast forward nearly 20 — WHAT? — years later. I’m on one of the most amazing roller derby teams on the planet and suddenly I find my leg giving out on me. I have pain and stiffness. No amount of frog poses or butterflies are helping ease the tension. And I’m petrified I might have actually done some damage. After a couple mini-lectures from some teammates who reminded me that it’s not worth it to do more damage when it’s still early in the season, and me stressing out over whether this would affect me making the second All Star charter, I began entertaining the thought of going to see a doctor. And then, a lucky twist of fate — I managed to slice through my thumb in a freak bread knife/avocado pitting accident, which resulted in a trip to the doctor.

I will start by saying, do not worry about my thumb — my doctor ripped off the bandage The Owl had lovingly used to piece me back together, poked at it, and told me I only needed a band-aid. Awesome. So glad I spent my $25 co-pay on that.

And then I asked him about my groin, for which he immediately said, “I’m sending you to physical therapy.” Back when my collarbone mended, I was told that I was young enough to bounce back from a broken bone and that I didn’t need physical therapy, so I really had no clue about what it would do for me.

Let me just start by saying, I now swear by PT, just as I do by chiropractic. It is heavenly.

A thorough diagnosis — and a quick explanation of roller derby to my therapist — showed that I just need to loosen up the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, and then strengthen the muscles that I don’t really work as I crouch in skater position. So yes, my therapist massaged my groin, and yes, it was amazing. Post-massage, I had to work out. And then I had somebody wipe goo all over my thigh and loosen up the tension with therapeutic ultrasound. And then I got all cozy under a heat pack. Are you starting to see why I want to go back again and again? I want to wear yoga pants, work out, and get massages forever and always.

Plus, my therapist has been hilarious. Every time we work on strengthening the muscles I’ve neglected, she tells me the benefits of what I’m doing to get stronger and adds in a, “They’re not going to know what hit them when you’re back to 100%.” That’s what I like to hear — my therapist is turning me into The Bionic Woman.

I honestly want to go back and punch my orthopedic physician in the face for not sending me to PT before. I really struggled trying to come back after breaking my collarbone. Now I know that physical therapy would have helped relax the tension in my muscles and get me functioning much faster than I did on my own.

On my path toward becoming a beast, I’ve learned that chiropractors and physical therapists are my best friends. And I’ve learned that I need to put my personal trainer knowledge to better use, because I should have known better.

So here’s my sage advice, my friends: work out, get massages, and take care of your muscles and bones. I’d also suggest you play roller derby, but I figure not everyone will listen to me on that one.

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