How to Fix Anything, Part 2: “I’ve Done That”

November 4, 2018 by
Photo courtesy of Active Life Rx
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This is part two in a three-part series by Dr. Sean Pastuch, founder and owner of Active Life Rx. Dr. Sean examines his own nagging injury incurred while training with Rich Froning in Cookeville six months earlier. Still in pain and making no improvement despite trying everything he could, Dr. Sean begins to take a different approach to healing his injury. You can read part one here.

When you’re in pain for months and it’s not changing, you can become very antsy to get some solutions going. I definitely was. Maybe I was wrong about massage. So, the first thing I decided to do was to go and get a massage. I figured there might have been some residual inflammation left even though my body no longer needed the inflammatory process. So, I asked for effleurage, the type of massage that is meant to move stagnant fluid towards the heart, assisting with the waste-clearing mechanism of circulation. It hurt in a good way, but it did not solve any of my problems. I tried it three times, and I was still in just as much pain when I left.

My next thought was that maybe I was wrong about icing. Maybe ice is valuable, after all. So I began an icing routine. Fifteen minutes on (my arm would go numb by this point and I didn’t want frostbite, so I stopped there) followed by an hour off for two to three sets. I did this for a week. Zero change, except that my clothes were wet and I was uncomfortable for 30 to 45 minutes a day during the icing.

When you’re in pain for months and it’s not changing, you can become very antsy to get some solutions going. I definitely was.

I tried the fix that I hate most when I see it online: smashing. I used a soft tissue manipulation tool with deep pressure and I also used it to “scrape” the area. I always say these things are only valuable if an area doesn’t have good blood supply, but maybe I was wrong. When they didn’t work at all except to mildly worsen my condition, I figured I would give some deep tissue work a shot. Maybe there was some muscle adhesion that needed to be broken down. I did both deep tissue and ART work, but both hurt badly, and both made my symptoms significantly worse during the days following.

I own a Marc Pro. I used it. No change.

I compressed it with an ace bandage. This helped a bit but didn’t allow me to do anything with reduced symptoms; it just felt better while it was on.

I tried stretching against my better judgment and by the end of March, I was really pissed and frustrated.

None of the quick fixes had worked. Frankly, I was embarrassed. I own Active Life – the only company that helps thousands of people from dozens of countries get out of pain without going to the doctor or missing the gym – and I couldn’t get my own silly problem solved.

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The initial questions I’d expect you to ask are:

“Why didn’t you know what to do?” Valid question. I lost the forest for the trees. I thought this would pass quickly and when it didn’t, I underestimated what was going on.

“Why didn’t you have one of your staff members coach you through it?” Another great question and I’ll reiterate – I thought this would be over in two to four weeks, tops. When it wasn’t, I always thought I was just a week or two away from feeling fine. I got lost.

None of the quick fixes had worked. Frankly, I was embarrassed. I own Active Life…and I couldn’t get my own silly problem solved.

“Why didn’t you get an MRI?” I was pretty sure I wasn’t surgical and to me, that would have been the only reason to get an MRI. I wasn’t worried about infection or ominous disease processes because I could clearly determine when the pain started and what I did to cause it, or at least, which straw broke the proverbial camel’s back.

It was not until I flew to Minnesota to deliver a coach certification workshop at Fast Factory CrossFit with my director of Staff for Active Life, Dr. Ray Gorman, that the light bulb went off and I knew what needed to be done.

Stay tuned for part three next week.

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