A sports hernia cost thousands to diagnose and treat and it has not improved; A patients story.
After doing quite a bit of Internet research, he found our web site and was hoping we could help. He then called and made an appointment.
He began telling me about all the doctors he visited for the left sided groin issue he believed happened from one incident, and it never went away. In his mind, the incident started it all. As he handed me the packet with notes, reports and MRI’s, he obsessed about where the pain was, explained what the physical therapist did and he said he believed the therapist stretched the area and aggravated the pain, something he was cautious not to have done again. He also had foot orthotics recommended to him.
His body style had his shoulders rolling in, with the right shoulder rolling in more and the right foot turning out. Do any other people in your family have a similar issue I asked? He told me a little about some of the problems his mom had been experiencing over the years and he said he believed it was unrelated even though I had mentioned these types of issues tend to run along family lines since they are inherited traits.
Evaluation showed his pelvis was distorted and he felt that he had difficulty standing straight. His legs were tight and when his ankles were taped to bring the arches up, he noticed his groin felt somewhat better. He also noticed that his hips leveled out as well. He was also unaware that his neck was quite restricted and he was always somewhat inflexible. I had suggested that because his body style was developmental, he used this as his frame of reference on how he saw any problems he may or may not have had. Everyone does this because we judge based on life’s experiences. He also needed a modification on his foot orthotics which were not properly posted. I suggested that problem with the hernia was not really how it began but why and what mechanical conditions created it, because if not addressed, the same mechanical problems will cause other issues as well.
After a few visits of working on the side opposite of the area of pain, he begun to understand that his body mechanics contributed greatly to the symptoms of left groin pain. As his right side improved, so did the pain on the left. Working on his left side during an early visit appeared to make him feel worse, even though he was noticeably looser the following visit.
During his last couple of visits, he noted marked improvement and was able to tolerate core training regimens which prior rehabilitation efforts aggravated.
What can we learn from this case?
1. Things are not what they seem, and we judge the way we feel based on our previous experiences, rather than on objectivity.
2. Did he really have a sports hernia or did his previous doctors with all their training miss it? According to the literature, the symptoms match the problem. The problem is, you cannot see why he had the problem by looking and treating the left groin only. The correct understanding must come before a proper diagnosis could be attained. Was the sports hernia the problem or the symptom. They treated the symptom which after thousands of dollars of tests and interventions did not resolve the problem. Our approach challenged his body mechanics against gravity, leading to a more appropriate diagnosis of the problem which resulted in a more appropriate mechanism to resolve the problem.
3. This case shows the expensive limitations of trying to treat symptoms rather than understand the cause first and then treat based on understanding and knowledge. A whole body approach is always superior.
4. This case shows the advantages of understanding that many of the methods we use, whether Graston, Fascial Release, Spinal or Extremity manipulation, or exercises are simply tools in the doctors tool kit. Using them to solve problems can work however it is hit or miss. Thinking through why the person is in pain from an engineering point of view and then using the proper tools at the right time can yield reliably great results.
5. If you know of someone who continues to be shuttled from test to doctor to rehab and they are simply treating the area of pain, they may wish to get a second opinion. Most often, the site of pain is not the problem, but a symptom. A whole body approach is the most reliable way to find a fast and sensible solution to most people suffering from back, neck, shoulder, rib or sciatica pain.