Physiotherapy and the poor

In my previous blog post (scroll down!), I mentioned that I sustained an injury in May and June that made running impossible and has required several weeks of physiotherapy to fix up. I’m pretty much better now, but it’s left me thoughtful.

In my recovery process, I had two things going for me that other people might not be lucky enough to have. One was that I was aware of the principle of “active recovery”: sometimes, just resting an injury isn’t good enough. Without a dedicated program of exercise and physiotherapy, I would not have gotten better. The other is that I am financially stable enough to afford physiotherapy sessions – the benefits package from where I work covered some of it, my wife’s benefits package covered more, and I could afford to pay for the rest.

But I think, sadly, of people who do not have the favourable circumstances that I have. Many people my age, on sustaining an injury such as mine, might just have found it easier to give up – to go hobbling through life, taking pain medication daily to make moving around bearable. And many people can’t afford to go to a specialist who isn’t covered by OHIP, so they just have to bear it.

How many people exist out there who might have been able to lead a more active life had they been lucky enough to have the knowledge and advantages that I have?

Cycling and injuries

I haven’t posted in this blog in a long time, so I thought I’d better confess that I haven’t been running since June for two reasons:

  • My wife and I are going on a bicycling tour of the Netherlands in early September, so I’ve been focusing on getting into cycling shape.
  • I sustained an injury that made running impossible for a while.

More on the injury: due to a stiff back, I developed a problem with a nerve joining my left hip to my left knee. This presented itself first in May – I felt pain near my left knee, and discovered that standing still for any length of time was difficult. The injury aggravated itself in June – at its worst, I couldn’t walk for more than a block without my leg tightening up painfully, and I couldn’t stand for any length of time, including standing on the subway or standing in line anywhere.

I went to an excellent physiotherapist who eventually figured out the problem, which was difficult to spot because it first appeared to be a leg muscle injury and then an IT band problem. Physiotherapy and a series of daily stretching exercises have gradually made it possible for me to resume a normal life – I can now walk at least 15 minutes at a time and can stand for at least short periods.

Once we return from overseas, I’m going to work back up to walking 5 km distances. If I can handle that, I’ll start the Couch to 5K program again, as described at the start of this blog. We’ll see how it goes: the universe offers no guarantees, so I might not be able to run again. But my physiotherapist pointed out that her grandmother runs every day, and she is 80, so there is hope!