Saturday, February 2, 2013

Graston Technique - New and Painful

Let's start off with three random things: First, it is snowing in DC. I had my first 2 hour delay on Monday due to snow. On Wednesday it was in the 70s. Now it's back in the 30s and snowing. Hah! The weather down here is as crazy as in Vermont. Just slightly warmer.

Second, the two perks to not running at this moment is that 1) I can take a shower early in the morning and actually be productive with my life and 2) I am consuming far less water than I was this summer and fall and don't have to be near a water bottle at all times.

Finally, today was a great day of relaxation and food. I met up with some co-workers for lunch and tried out some delicious crepes at Cafe Bonaparte in Georgetown. For dinner Tom and I went out with his former co-worker and had salads at this awesome place called "Sweetgreen". It's the Subway or Chipotle of salads, but better. You get to create your own salads and have a ton of salads to choose from!

Note: I am not your stereotypical runner and rarely eat salads. When I do, I would so much rather have them made by someone else. So this place was perfect for me. I had their Kale Caesar and am in love with it!

And onto the Graston Technique....

I didn't know what to expect when I walked into my first PT appointment Wednesday. Over the last few months I had considered making an appointment, and each time remembered all of the appointments I had in high school when I had shin splints and couldn't run: strength training exercises for my leg = boring.

Being new to DC meant that I had absolutely no idea where to go for an appointment. In Vermont I had an idea of where to go thanks to my days of working at the doctor's office and hospital.

I happened to luck out and find someone close by and someone who is an athlete himself. I like to have athletes as my providers because they know the pains that come with being in pain. In other words, they know how much we don't like to take time off of our sports.

The doctor that I'm seeing uses the Graston technique, something I had not heard of until our appointment on Wednesday. It is one of the weirdest things I have experienced. Basically, the doctor will use a metal tool to rub over the area of concern. While doing so, it is supposed to loosen scar tissue and bring in cells that help with injury repair. Apparently it has been quite popular with track and field athletes.

He worked on my leg for seriously 3 minutes. Maybe four. And it was painful. As soon as he stopped my leg felt better, but it was really HOT! The technique increases the blood flow to the area to help it heal, causing it to feel significantly warmer.

Last night, 48 hours after the appointment, my leg still felt rather raw. It felt just like it did after Philly and hurt to touch. This had not been the case prior to the appointment. It only bothered me when I ran.  Fortunately, it was feeling much better today but is still a little sore.

I go back again on Monday for another brief session of pain. After reading about it online some people say that the pain lessons with each appointment. Let's hope so! I also hope that it actually works. It's always a little nerve-wracking to try something new. Especially something that has to cause pain in order to work. But I guess that's how running goes, right? You have to break down some muscle to get better?

My foam rolling is going OK. Wilson likes to help out. I mean, who doesn't want a 14 pound cat to climb on their lap while they're foam-rolling their hamstring? Ha! Speaking of foam-rolling, I'm off to get in a few minutes of it before bed.

Hope you all are having a great weekend :)

P.S. I'd love to hear from you if you've happened to have experience with the Graston technique.


  1. I have had Graston and ART therapy numerous times. Especially over the last year. They both hurt and are uncomfortable, but I will say that for me it was well worth it. I had compartment syndrome and without those two therapies working wonders on my leg I would have needed a nasty surgery.

    1. I'm so glad to hear that it worked out for you and that you avoided surgery!

  2. My doctor does something very similar if I am having pain in a certain area - and it sure hurts! Since my pain is usually not a huge issue he just uses a plastic tool so I don't think that it is intense. But it is almost eye-watering! I also have felt sore afterward but it did get better each time until after just a couple times a week for 2 weeks I was better! Just hold on for dear life and try not to cry!