Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What do you know about rolfing?

The saga of my life-long issues with walking continues.  Today I saw a new doctor, a physiatrist who added some new information, although she never suggested any silver bullets.

I knew there was something different about my right hip when I was a child and other children would tease me about the way I ran, sort of kicking out my right leg.  I knew it again when I was 17 and in the Jr. Miss pageant.  As we practiced walking down the ramp, the “coaches” kept telling me not to swing my hips, as though I was doing that to attract attention.  It was just the way I walked and they had to live with it.  I still managed to be the second runner-up despite the sway in my walk.

I’ve seen more specialists that I can count over the years, who have suggested everything from a leg length discrepancy to polio to CP in utero.  But no one has ever been able to say anything definitively or give me a solution.

The closest I came to an understanding was when my long-time PT and friend suggested that it was just the uniqueness of ME and I might have to live with it.

Today’s doctor was quick to take up the challenge after hearing how many others had walked away shaking their heads.  She did a thorough exam and then watched me walk up and down the hall a few times. 

She quickly concluded that my right hip was hung in its socket at the wrong angle and probably had been that way since my birth.  This angle problem causes my femur to rotate inward to the point where when I lie on my back, my right knee isn’t pointing straight up at the ceiling.

She said my breach birth could have been at least partially responsible for this problem.  Or it could have even been hip displasia at birth, noting that back then the doctors didn’t check newborns for such things.

The good news is that I wasn’t in her office today with the extreme pain that most of the patients who go to her practice experience.  I was there simply because I have balance and gait issues when I walk.  I am grateful for my relative lack of pain (because I live with someone who is in a lot of pain and it is definitely not good.)

We talked about what could be done to fix or at least help my problem.  Ironically she said the only possible solution would be a hip replacement in which the femur was positioned differently in the socket.  Perhaps if my hip replacement had not been under emergency conditions, I could have discussed this with my surgeon ahead of time.

Since I’m not ready to go through that again, she suggested some things my personal trainer Emily and I could work on.  She also wants me to see a rolfer, someone who does deep tissue work and who might be able to loosen up my hip flexors, which are unbelievably tight.  The picture above is of a rolfer.

So that’s the story for now.  Meanwhile I find myself often wanting a hand of any gender to hold onto when I have lots of walking to do.  I am beginning to understand why it is such hard work for me.


Blogger Kristin said...

I've never even heard of rolfing! But I wish you luck. You're pretty amazing, Barbara. I think you can do anything you want.

6:46 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

My daughter has had back broblems all her life and just recently was advised by her doctor to see a rolfer, to do a whole course. You can look it up at google, or you can wait till my daughter can tell you of her experiences!

3:09 AM  
Blogger lacochran said...

Congratulations on getting another piece of the puzzle.

2:07 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

you might be right at home on a rolling ship... jokes aside, it's good to get some sort of definitive diagnosis even if you can't do too much to change things. I'll be interested to hear what the rolfer does in terms of helping...

3:27 PM  
Blogger bozoette said...

At least you have an answer, sort of. I've never been to a rolfer, but have heard that it can sometimes be very uncomfortable during the session. However, you're supposed to feel great afterward!

4:47 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Interesting! Maybe you should visit my nail salon massage therapist! (See my post today -- LOL!) I've never been rolfed and I don't know much about it, but I'm glad you seem to be getting some new information and possible answers.

7:42 AM  
Blogger Rayna said...

I have heard of Rolfing but was never sure exactly what it was. Nothing to lose, right?

Kaufman's was still in Pittsburgh last tome I was there, although by now it is probably a Macy's. Yuck. The Kaufman family engaged FRank Lloyd Wright to build Falling WAter as their home.

Zelda was a beauty. Family photos are so precious.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rolfing is often very deep work, and something you might want to ease into, especially as you're very tight in the hip area to begin with. Deep tissue change doesn't happen overnight (except by trauma). I suggest thorough briefing of any rolfer you see as to your history, and "going light"...keep us posted!!


12:59 PM  
Blogger Mary L. Tabor said...

I do know a rolfer and he's marvelous: Bill Short: 202-328-3441. He's at 1700 17th St, NW
Suite 202--or at least that's where he was when I last saw him. Wonderful man.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Fascia Balance said...

Hi Barbara, I'm a Rolfer in California and I'm excited for you to experience this type of bodywork! Rolfing can be intense at times, if you're comfortable with that, but thing to remember is that it's not across the board deep tissue work. Rolfing is about appropriate pressure, not painful pressure. We always work the superficial layers of the body first, which makes the deeper stuff easier to unwind. I wrote a little post about it, if you want to check it out:
Best wishes, can't wait to read how your process goes,

1:26 PM  

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