It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

December 19, 2011

ART Makes Me Cry

I wish I could tell you that I had recently seen the works of Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa in person and its beauty brought me to tears, but that is not the kind of “art” I’m talking about.  I am talking about ART – active release technique.  I’ve talked about it in my blog quite a bit over the last few months; it’s a specialized form of chiropractic medicine.  Although, very, very different from traditional chiropractic manipulation.


 
After reading about ART several times in blogs, I searched out an ART Dr. in my area for some pain I was having in both hips.  I have to say he has done wonders for me.  When I first went in I could barely walk, much less run without pain.  My hips felt locked up and out of place.  Now, for the most part I have limited hip pain.  It still comes on occasionally – like after a 22 mile run, but it doesn’t bother me day to day.  About a month ago, I remember saying to the Dr., “You know this ART stuff is not so bad.  I had heard so many times how painful it is supposed to be, but it really doesn’t hurt that bad”.  He just smiled and said, “Well sometimes it just depends on what area of the body you are working on, but also some people just have a higher tolerance for pain”.  I decided then and there that I must just be exceptionally tough.  I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt – trust me it’s not a pleasant experience, it’s just that the pain was tolerable.  And he was right, there were areas that were a little more painful, like when he worked on the adhesion in my abdomen, and he worked on my calves a few times too.  Sometimes I would have to hold my breath a few times to get through it, but it was ok.

So last week when I developed some very sudden foot pain, I called him up and asked if he thought he could help.  Well yes, of course, he was actually very good with foot pain.  So I made an appointment and went in after work on Thursday night.  My visit started with Mark, the “motion counselor” – not sure if that’s his technical title or not.  Anyway, Mark provides you some specific stretches and exercises for the area that is hurting, and also hooks you up to some giant electrodes.  I have had this done on my hip several times now, and it’s also not very pleasant – I knew the foot was going to be bad.  So he slaps one very large electrode over the heel of my right foot, and then puts a couple others in the general area and cranks up the juice.  Immediately my foot begins to tingle – it’s that pins and needles feeling you get when your foot is asleep, and then my toes start involuntarily spasming.  My big toe is waving like it has just been crowned the next Miss “Toe Jam” America.  The rest of my piggies are also doing a little dance of their own.  Let me tell you – when your body parts are moving involuntarily – it is not a fun time.  This lasts for about 10 minutes and then finally I am done and ready to see the Dr…..man I’m glad that’s over.

Dr. Black works on my hip for a few minutes first…ah not so bad.  Then he does a little work on the calf…hurts but I’m getting through it just fine.  Then he starts in on my foot.  HOLY crap – that hurts!  I begin to breathe in and out like I’m in labor.  Before I know it I’m yelling out “OHHHHH Kelly Clarkson” like Steve Carrell in the 40 Year Old Virgin.  Then I say a few other choice words, and he just responds, “ahhhh…..now we see the real you come out”.  I’m thinking no, this is not the real me, this is the holy batman I’m about to give birth through my foot me.  Before I know it, out of nowhere the tears go streaming down my face.  I am crying…..involuntarily crying….I can’t stop it.  It sucks.  I can’t remember being in this much pain before.  Poor Dr. Black, just looks at me and says “I’m sorry, I know this hurts, but I have to do it if you want to get better.  If it makes you feel better my ex-wife used to have major foot problems, and every time I worked on her feet she always cried.”  Hmmmm, I am thinking to myself, there’s probably a reason that “wife” was preceded by “ex” in that previous statement. 

Anyway, this torture goes on for about 15 minutes (might have been less, but it seemed like forever) and it’s finally over.  I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to stand up, but to my surprise when I put weight on my foot it actually felt better.  I was able to run 5 miles on it the next morning.  I have continued to stretch, exercise, ice, and heat the foot, and it has improved some.  I go back for even more torture tonight.  Wish me luck!

If you want something to make you laugh, check out the pic from my last blog post.  Hysterical. :)

17 comments:

  1. I love/hate ART but it works!

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  2. ART hurts like HADES! I actually hate the electric stim machine too. My acupuncturist hooked it up to the needles and once or twice I got blasted because someone didn't turn the dials the right way. I also let them put it on my calf too high once and ended up with a horrible Charlie horse because it was contracting so much. Anyways, I hope it helps!

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  3. ART works. It sometimes hurts, a lot, but is better than the day to day pain. Good thing it is working for you.

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  4. I hope I am not the only one on here who reads this and goes, damn where can i get ART for my foot? I thought Graston was hard but this sounds even rougher!

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  5. I have not yet been brought to tears by ART but it could only be a matter of time... It is some amazing stuff fo' sure!

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  6. The last time I had ART done, I think I scared the dental patients in the next office over. But, dude, it makes me able to run. I'll take it.

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  7. Interesting write up! I haven't had ART yet. The electrodes sound SCARY.

    And yes...you are TOUGH. :)

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  8. Glad your foot is feeling better. I have never tried ART but I do love the chiropractor now and then.

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  9. There's a reason that health care professionals should never treat their family members. I'm still trying to forgive my oldest son for trying ART on me. I still have nightmares about it.

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  10. I'm super interested in learning more about ART, is it something that is typically covered through health insurance or is it generally out of pocket?

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  11. Yikes I'm just glad I've never needed any painful treatment. As long as it works it is fine. I once had tears streaming down my face while a dentist was giving me a painful injection. I had no control over the tears.

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  12. ART was created by the devil I swear. I cried when I had it done on my ITband...and had bruises as well.

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  13. ART can really hurt but it has done a lot of good for me also.

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  14. Wow, that sounds like it really hurts! Especially the toes moving involuntarily. That sounds like a foot cramp, which I hate.

    Your description of the whole thing had me laughing though. Having a sense of humor will make a big difference getting through the treatment.

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  15. Eeeek I have heard that ART is SO PAINFUL! I am so so sory Michael. Hang in there and it will be worth it in the end.

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  16. Now I have ART on my calf and it isn't horrible but on your feet? Man alive I can only imagine how much that hurts.

    Glad to hear you are feeling better and that you got that 5 miles in.

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  17. I feel your pain. Is it awful that I would wincing and yet laughing at the same time? :) If you need someone to hold your hand I'll drive to Missouri :)

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