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How to know when it is time...

Catrin2010-12-12 08:03:58 +0000 #1
I've been asking/grumbling here about my hamstring problem for about 3 weeks now - and am starting to wonder when to know when it is time to seek medical advice.

It isn't getting any worse, and indeed for most of the past week it felt fine. Even managed to ride close to 40 miles (not at the same time). Today however, it is just aggravated. I honestly don't know if it if overly tight or pulled. The pain, if that is what it is, isn't bad, just enough to let me know that the hamstring exists. Sometimes it does this when lying on my back, sometimes when seated, or walking, or...whatever. Then I can hammer out +1 hour on the bike and not the slightest twinge.

I am hesitant to go to the doctor because I figure they will want an MRI - and with our insurance we have to pay 20% of that cost...I just cannot handle that - even if I wasn't moving in 3 weeks.

I know that hamstrings take a long time to heal once they are strained. I have really backed off on the intensity of my biking/spinning/weight lifting - but I have to exercise to keep my blood sugar under control. I have stopped almost all of the lower-body weights at the gym.

A few weeks ago there were times when there would be twinges of pain and warmth - and those do not happen any longer. I do think there is improvement...but I am a stubborn woman when it comes to such things. How long should I give it before seeing my doctor? He is an osteopath...


KnottedYet2010-12-12 08:08:19 +0000 #2
Unfortunately, you are the only one who can answer that question.

And any doctor who cannot start to help you without an MRI first is a dunderhead. Tell him you can't afford the copay on a $3,000-$5,000 MRI.

A D.O. has a huge pile of skills to call on before flinging MRIs around. I doubt you'd have a problem getting help from him.
Catrin2010-12-12 08:30:19 +0000 #3
Quote:

Originally Posted by KnottedYet

Unfortunately, you are the only one who can answer that question.

And any doctor who cannot start to help you without an MRI first is a dunderhead. Tell him you can't afford the copay on a $3,000-$5,000 MRI.

A D.O. has a huge pile of skills to call on before flinging MRIs around. I doubt you'd have a problem getting help from him.

Thanks Knotted, I had wondered about that, this is the first D.O. that I've had as my PCP.

I think I will give it another week before picking up the phone. I have just been so frustrated with this since yesterday...
pinkychique2010-12-12 08:37:43 +0000 #4
Sorry I haven't heard your grumblings before this, so this might be a dumb question, but have you tried massage? I was having a lot of issues with tight/achy/downright painful muscles and it turns out it's a bunch (and I mean a BUNCH) of trigger points.

I picked up The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook Second Edition by Clair Davies, and it's been very helpful and informative. I'm certainly no expert, but it's an alternative if you want one.

Best of luck.
Chicken Little2010-12-12 08:18:12 +0000 #5
That's a massive pile of muscles in there. I would suspect that you could get an adequate diagnosis without and MRI, and CT's are certainly cheaper, but a good doc can probably give you a good idea about what's going on with just an exam. Either way, it's going to take a ton of patience to get it to settle down. Rest is always your friend, but I feel your pain.
Catrin2010-12-12 08:38:10 +0000 #6
Rest? Rest? Who needs rest?

Indeed, there are a lot of muscles there - and all of this seemed to get started when I had a session scheduled to get stretched because my hip flexors were so tight. In retrospect I probably should not have done that - but I did not know. It won't happen again...

I've requested an appointment with my D.O. on Friday, if it calms down before then will just cancel the appointment (my dr. office uses the internet a lot for scheduling).

I still have to exercise, and I am not off the bike entirely - just limiting myself to shorter rides, taking a day off between them, and avoiding my country roads where I WILL over-do things. There has been some improvement, but this has shot my plan to have a century done by my 51st birthday all to pieces. My birthday is in 2 weeks and the longest ride I've had in the past 3 weeks was 50 miles...three weeks ago

My fitness club does have a spa where they do sports massage, it might be worth a conversation with them to see if a little massage might be in order.
BleeckerSt_Girl2010-12-12 10:08:49 +0000 #7
It sounds to me like most of the exercise you do is very straining/pulling on your hamstring and leg muscles.

Maybe this is silly advice, but...

How about doing a lot more walking? I do a lot of walking at a nice comfortable but brisk pace- like maybe 5 miles twice a week. It's GREAT for my muscles all over my body, and also for my hip joints I find. Walking does more for me all over than biking does, actually.

When I neglect my walks, after 3 weeks or so I wake up all creaky in the mornings and feeling stiff and... old. This happens even if I'm still biking. So I know that walking keeps me much more flexible in both my muscles and my joints. I feel totally stretched out and relaxed after a long brisk hour long walk. Sort of a 'poor woman's massage'- lol!

It might be just the ticket for your injured muscle?

One thing's for sure- it's cheap and easy to do! Why not just give it a try before seeking medical treatments? Start with a brisk 2 miler and work up to 4 or 5 miles, twice a week. Or maybe 3 miles 3xweek. I'd say jogging/running might again put too much strain on your leg muscles while they are trying to heal.
JennK132010-12-12 10:06:10 +0000 #8
With Lisa. You haven't been off it to let it rest enough to heal. I get that you have to exercise, but you can do things that are less stressful - like walking. I would think that no matter what is wrong with it, with or without an MRI, a doctor is going to suggest rest, too. Unless you're ready to do what is necessary for any injury, I wouldn't "waste" the money to go to the doctor. Really, taking at least a week "off" to let it heal is worth it when you consider the alternative.

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