PT stands for…

December 4, 2010

So far this year, PT has stood for Part Time jobs, the lifeblood of my job hunting.  But now I have a new PT in my life: Physical Therapy.

Before I really jump into things, let me just say that this post is a little boring, cause who really wants to read about someone else’s ailments?  As such, I’ll go ahead and treat you to a fun photo of my frostbite in it’s current stage.  I’ll talk about this more at the end.

Did you know you could get frostbite on your thighs?  Lesson: wear pants.

So anyway, the pain in my butt (no, literally, the pain in my butt) started a little over two months ago, when I was driving back from a derby game in Pennsylvania, and it hurt so much to sit in the car for a few hours that I had to have someone else drive.  There was never one dramatic incident where I had injured it– no shattering pops or snaps or anything– so I couldn’t really figure out what it was.

I had a couple massage therapists and a chiropractor look at it… they all thought there might be inflammation in my gluteus medius, the smaller muscle under the gluteus maximus.  The unfortunate thing about that area is that the sciatic nerve runs through it, so I was getting these shooting pains down the back of my leg.

Anyway, basically I kept thinking it would get better, but as time when on, I realized it wasn’t.  Then I finally made the decision to find a local doctor, but I delayed another week or so when it felt better for a couple days.  Really any time I thought of calling the doctor, I would think, “Well, it isn’t hurting right NOW… maybe I was kind of making it up.  Maybe it’s gone this time.”  Then, 15 minutes later I’d be gasping and getting up from the dinner table, and I’d realize I was being dumb.

So I finally did get myself a local doctor, who prescribed me physical therapy for my pain.  Surprisingly, going to the doctor was strange… for someone who grew up with a Dad as a doctor, and who is now married to a medical student with a doctor mother, I found it strange that it felt strange, too.  I guess this was the first time in my adult life that I’ve sought out a medical professional and gone to them without knowing anything about them.

Anyway, it was stranger still to go to physical therapy, because I had NEVER done that before.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Once I got over the shock of the co-pay, however (my insurance card doesn’t list any co-pay, but apparently there is one), it was an overall good experience.  She did all these tests and movements and things on me, and told me my piriformis muscle is inflamed, and that there is something funky going on with my SI joint.  I’m going to learn more about it next time, and she’s going to give me some exercises and stretches I can do to help.  Hooray for getting better!

Ok, now that you’ve made it through the saga of my broken butt, let’s just mention again how crazy it is that I got FROSTBITE on my THIGHS.  What is up, legs?  Not doing so hot right now.  Apparently I should have worn more than these spandex running pants when I ran that 8k on Thanksgiving.  I’ve learned now that with temperatures like that (-5 degree windchill), long-term exposure (it took us just under an hour) can really wreak havoc on the skin… all the blood goes to your important organs and your hard-working muscles, and frankly the skin is last on the list of important parts.  I will not make this mistake again, because frostbite is REALLY PAINFUL.  Hooray!

Ok, that’s all the time I’ve got for leg drama at the moment.  Thanks for putting up with my old-person-esque ailment rant!



  1. Hello! My name is Rachel and I have been struggling with the EXACT same pain you described in your post-I have been to numerous chiropractors, physical therapy & orthopedist that specialize in sports medicine. Sadly, none have given me complete relief from this pain. I got a similar diagnosis that you described here about piroformis etc. After a YEAR of this horrible pain, and barely any relief I was curious and desperate as to hear what you did about this pain. The only relief I have found is via a psoas muscle stretch and massive amounts of icing (which has lead to frostbite on my…well right butt cheek) the only way I can sit for any amount of time is sitting on ice. I would be so grateful for any information on what you did to improve your condition.
    Thank you so much!

    • The only thing that made it go away was taking a complete break from physical exercise (I was playing roller derby), with the exception of still doing some yoga. So far, it hasn’t come back, but I have not done intense physical exercise since (I jog, do yoga, and walk now). Sorry that’s not much help!

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