Wednesday, March 28, 2012

So - about that injury

Ok, so you may have picked up that I have just gotten over a shoulder injury. You may have even read that I didn't really do anything much to obtain that injury, but that it led to excruciating pain, much expenditure on physio and osteo treatment, and a recovery time that was perplexingly long. Now I've been running for what, six years? During that time I've had the full stable of runner injuries - ankles, knees, ITB issues, hip problems .... I've worked through them all. During that time I've also had the occasional neck or shoulder issue.

I won't pretend that my biomechanics are great. One of the benefits of my recent break from training has been the opportunity to have the osteo really work on my alignment. He's managed to get my hip and pelvis straightened up, with the odd result that I now stand with my left leg slightly bent. Go figure .... However even with all the manipulation there is a deeper issue that I've been dealing with for as long as I can remember, and that I had hints of even before I became a runner.

I am, to put it bluntly, tight. By that I mean that no matter where you touch me - be it my shoulder blade or my shin or my ankle - you will find a muscle in spasm. It doesn't matter how often I get a massage, how much yoga or how much stretching I do. For some reason my body insists on holding itself tense. In fact my osteo commented more than once when he was treating my shoulder that it was like my body was suffering some kind of reaction to traumatic stress. For the record - nothing more stressful than a little bit of weight gain has occurred around here of late.

In the midst of all the shoulder issues I decided I really needed to deal with the underlying problem. Herein lies my dilemma - my body doesn't function like most normal bodies. My adrenal glands don't work - or at least the outer cortex doesn't. I replace the cortisol, the aldosterone and the DHEA, but what else am I lacking that my body might need? Add in a hypoactive thyroid and pernicious anaemia, and who knows what my screwy hormones are doing, or not doing to me. I've increasingly come to believe that if I had a functioning endocrine system I wouldn't have half the problems I do have.

I have tried other solutions as well - for example I started taking Omega 3 supplements, because I don't eat fish so figured I'm probably lacking. They made no perceivable difference though. So what about my medications? I take a low dose of cortisol, but I don't think that's it. Well, perhaps it could be. Perhaps I could have tried upping my dose by 5mg or so a day just to see. I know I'm going to get nagged for this, but I couldn't bring myself to do so. It seems there's still a lingering nervousness about being on a higher dose than I 'might' need. Unfortunately I don't have ready access to a doctor to draw blood for me at regular intervals during the day, so I will never know for certain. What harm could trying an extra pill a day for a few weeks really do?

In my defence, I'm MUCH more likely to slip in an extra dose or two during my more intense workouts. I THINK it helps me recover, but there's that darn placebo effect to think of.

In the meantime I guess I'll keep doing what I do. It must be nearly time for my annual Endo consult, but the problem is that there's so little known about Addison's and endurance sports, and about the other hormones the adrenal glands produce that we don't bother about right now.

I just continue to hope that medical science continues in its current vein so that in a few years I'll be able to grow new glands and then I guess I'll know for sure!