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pain problems (help?)

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Hi guys, before I get into my question, let me give you a little background of my injuries.


I'm a former ROTC cadet as well as a horse trainer. When I was 13, I had a horse fall on my back. My back is in constant pain as a result. The muscles on the left side are two inches shorter than the right, causing my left hip to be raised and my left shoulder to be dropped. When I was 17, my horse stepped on my right foot, kicked my shin, and jumped over my leg. This resulted in my ankle being held in place while also being kicked away from my body. However, this never hurt until I took a false step while running with my company. Ever since then, pain after one mile running. Recently, my left hip has been hurting as well. I think it's from the misalignment of my back and the compensation for my ankle. I can't walk longer than 20 minutes continuously without pain. If I run, it hurts after 5 minutes.


To summarize:

pain in the lower lumbar region of my back

pain in the right ankle due to overpronation (stability shoes, motion limiting shoes, and high arches haven't helped)

pain in the left hip

Doctors have looked at me. X-rays, CT scan, MRI. There's no muscle, tendon, ligament or bone damage according to any of these. So... I need help...


How do I deal with all of these problems? I'd like to participate in a mud run this July, but I'm not sure my body will handle it. I'm only 21. I shouldn't have all of these issues... plus I'd kill to get into parkour.

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A physical therapist should be able to help you out.  They specialize in exactly these sorts of issues.  My first thought would be you need to do some stretching on the shorter side, but I really don't know how it'd impact the whole (would having longer, more relaxed muscles on the left side lead to an issue, even if it brought the length closer to the muscles on the right?).  Likewise, strengthening your legs could help your hips, but maybe there are other things to consider given the uneven tension in your back (maybe better to focus on isolation exercises for your legs, like leg curls and extensions, until your back gets healthier to do things like squats and deadlifts).  A physical therapist would be at home here.


For cardio, maybe do some biking or the elliptical if jogging is causing you pain.  No sense in running through something like that - I'd imagine all you'd end up doing is subconsciously favoring in some way that'll lead to more posture issues down the road.

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You might see a chriopracter. I have the feeling that weightlifting may help with the back pain and possibly even the leg, but I'm nowhere near qualified to say it's a good idea. Though I think it is.


To be honest. You might post this question in the Mark Rippetoe QA section of the Starting Strength forum. The guy seems to have a pretty darn good idea, and while many times his answer has been "You're fine to lift, and it'll help" I've seen plenty where he didn't recommend going straight into the program. It might be worthwhile as building the muscles might help even things out.


I admit its weird to send someone to another forum. It could be worthwhile though.

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Have you tried a physio? They will tell you what to do to get back in a normal shape

They are usually very good with sorts of things.


I also had unexplicable pain at a knee and an ostheo helped with that.


But you should definitly see a pro before starting, I am afraid will make things worse than they are 

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Definitely see a physical therapist. I wouldn't recommend taking advice from any strength or fitness coaches until you do. (Many fitness types will just tell you what little they know -- eg exercise helps -- when they don't actually know what they're talking about.) Someone should help you figure out how to walk without pain before you do any heavier training.

A chiropractor might be able to help with your misaligned back, though it's rather difficult to find a trustworthy one, as they are not a rigorously regulated profession. A PT sounds like the best thing for both problems unless they specifically refer you to a chiro.

But seriously, your hips are misaligned, don't try to weight train or put a barbell on your back unless a doctor clears you for it first. Which I doubt any decent PT will until you've gone through rehab for your back and ankle issues.

Cowardly Assassin
Training Log | Challenges: Current8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st

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Heh, chronic pain represent!


I would start with something much more gentle than running, myself. Yoga or pilates with a trained instructor seem like a better entry point -- you've got to figure out what your muscles and joints can and can't tolerate, in a low-impact environment where you won't be putting strain on your joints. I echo other people on seeing a physical therapist -- I have chronic joint and muscle issues and it helped me a lot. But PTs aren't necessarily cheap or easy to get into, so if you're dead set on doing something even if you can't see one, I would restrict yourself to gentle exercises -- modified bodyweight (until you know you can tolerate full weight on your joints without hurting yourself), yoga, SLOW walking with strict time limits to try to build up your endurance (DON'T walk until it hurts, obviously).


You might also consider aqua therapy/aqua exercise, moving around in water to take pressure off your joints to build up strength in your muscles. There's some stuff out there for working out in a pool that may help you avoid worsening your conditions.

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