What to do when a foam roller is too much agony!

Extremely tender quads to touch

17 messages
22/05/2012 at 03:02

I've been trying to get around this one for a few weeks/over a month now and getting nowhere fast so wondering if anyone else has any ideas.

 

I have OTT tender quads. I went for a sports massage back in early April and the guy couldn't even touch my quads without me being in agony, which had me wondering what I can do to stop them feeling so bad. I had thought about trying to increase my pain threshold but actually, pain is there as a warning- your looking at the person who ran with a tibial stress fracture (I didn't know it was there at the time!) and attempted to do the same with a grade 2 swollen sprained ankle (more then 1 day off was too much for me at the time). So I am not adverse to pain, I don't think though that I can stomach this.

 

I have started taking ibuprofen as I know that helps with inflammation and requires a build up in your system, I am 5 days into that.

 

I have tried using the foam roller several times, but it just hurts way too much, I promise I'm not being feeble here, I have been able to use them in the past. Its more in the inner thigh and front of my thigh then elsewhere but also elsewhere, light pressure- like the type you'd use to stroke a pet cat hurts a great deal and it has been this way for a while, I can't seem to make it any better and don't have an idea of what to do about it, I think it is probably affecting my running if not because my glutes are overworked as a result and tight and going to cause their own issues pretty soon if I'm not careful!

 

And just to add, I so stretch frequently (10-20 mins of leg stretches alone after each run or exercise day 5-6 times a week) and also do about an hours yoga per week.

 

 

22/05/2012 at 10:02

Jennn - never heard that NSAIDS (Ibuprofen is one of them) need a build up period. They work after 15-20 mins and stop working after 6-8 hours for people with typical metabolisms....

I'd go and investigate trigger points in your quads. Do a bit of reading so you grasp the theories. Just rolling up and down over the trigger points will only help so much. They can be excruciatingly painful but guess what, the only way to really work them out is to go for it. I don't think there is a pain avoiding way of dealing with them.

In my experience, if youa re prepared to get on with it, you can self massage them away and see considerable improvement in a week or so. Using a foam roller can help you identify roughly where these trigger points are, but then you do a finger tip search to find the exact epicentre of the pain. Then you dig your fingers in deep to rub across the muscle fibres (not along).

Good luck.

23/05/2012 at 03:11

Yeah, sadly they do (need a build up period) I've had osteoartritis and it was suspected until last year that I had general muscular pain (this turned out to be a fracture!) and I had to do a lot of reading on them, for some pain you only need the odd ibuprofen/NSAID pill but if its a continual inflammation you need to take them daily if not several times a day, I have a friend with arthritis (rhuematoid) who then confirmed this for me, sad bu true because I strongly dislike having to take pills because I don't like putting chemicals in my body.

 

 I have tried to iscolate where the pain originates because I wanted to try work out what the muscle was...etc and see if I could stretch it out instead of using a foam roller but its just too painful and its not just one spot, its every spot! I have not found a 'safe space' where there is not some sort of agony, only that its worse towards the front and inner quads but not in just one or two or even a few spots.

I am guessing the fibers of the muscles in my quads all run downwards or diagnonally so I'm safe to try this going side to side? Hopefully at some point I'll be able to decifer which bits of my quads are worse then others in terms of pain and maybe be able to find a trigger spot!

How long do you think is recommended for this? I know there is only going to be so much I can take and it will likely be something I have to build up but at the same time I don't want to cause this to get worse by over working it.

23/05/2012 at 10:45

Hi Jennn. It is possible and likely to have multiple trigger points simultaneously. Stretching doesn't help trigger points. The pain from a trigger point can be felt 'sympathetically' in other places, in other words, the place where you feel general pain isn't necessarily where the problem really is. I really do recommend you read a few articles about it and maybe see some anatomy diagrams.

I certainly recommend this link. HTH.

24/05/2012 at 00:24

You may have already done this but if my quads were that sore to touch I would be knocking down the door of my doctor in the first instance. Not sure that self medicating on the basis of advice from friend is the best course to follow. Ibuprofen may be effective for inflammation but how do you know that is the issue to be treated?

seren nos    pirate
24/05/2012 at 06:24
Long term use of iprobufen with a doctors advice is not good at all. You are using this for inflammation.....yet you are still running etc. Do if it is inflammed you ate not allowing it to heal. I know you don't want to stop running but you know you should....
As with all things there is no magic pills...rest and ice and compression and then when not so painful start the massage. If still painful dictors
24/05/2012 at 13:45

The amount of pain you're describing you get with just light stroking sounds very unusual and not something to just self-treat and hope for the best. Get along to your doctor, and don't accept the standard advice of "Take ibuprofen for 3 months and come back if it hasn't gone away..." Ask for an emergency physio referral, or find a local sports physio and just pay for it yourself. Usually £30-ish per visit depending on whereabouts you are...

25/05/2012 at 02:46

Thanks for the advice. RE going back to my GP (Runs-with-dogs and seren nos) I have been back more times then I can count. to say they don't help is the best way to summerise that. I am told everything is "just a muscular pain". My GP service doesn't seem to learn from their mistakes, back when I was 18 I had a BMI of 14 and asked my GP to refer me to a hospital on the advice of an eating disorder specalist Psychiatrist, my GP answered me "do you really think that is nessecary?" I had to see a doctor repeatedly over 2 years after having persistant pain in my leg...turned out after actually listening to my suggestion for a referal to an orthopedic doctor it was a stress fracture. The pain in my knees? osteoarhritis yet GP thinks its "just getting old". I was 28 at the time.

 

Sadly, all the GPs in my surgery are like this, moving is not a possibility as there are no spaces elsewhere in my area (busy London area). They do, if I ask/demand! enough follow my suggestions but it does take time but as to getting advice from them? I'm beginning to feel I'd get better advice from a drunk on the street.

 

I have also complained many times about not wanting to take so many pills, they aren't sweets! Couldn't say I got any help from that, just something akin to shrugging shoulders and "what would you like me to do?" (If I knew I'd tell you!!)

 

Hence the asking for suggestions on here, hoping I can either have something to go back to the Doctors with or something to try myself.

Wish I had £30 for a private physio but once my bills are paid I have £40 a week for food, and water rates, provided my utility bills don't climb....(I can't even afford a mobile phone, working TV or even the TV license!) £30 would take me possibly months to save for let alone repeat visits!

25/05/2012 at 02:48
Tricky Dicky¹ wrote (see)

Hi Jennn. It is possible and likely to have multiple trigger points simultaneously. Stretching doesn't help trigger points. The pain from a trigger point can be felt 'sympathetically' in other places, in other words, the place where you feel general pain isn't necessarily where the problem really is. I really do recommend you read a few articles about it and maybe see some anatomy diagrams.

I certainly recommend this link. HTH.

Thanks for this, this is great! I'm thinking if I prod around enough maybe I can work out which parts are slightly less painful then others and therefore work out if there are any trigger points I can work on. This may take some time!

25/05/2012 at 16:20

gp sounds a bit of a nightmare.

there was a thread over on Ultras some weeks ago about Painkillers.
There was a mention there of anti-inflammatory foods - dont know if that might help or if it is just a fad - but might be worth investigating.

good luck with it

27/05/2012 at 03:42
bos1 wrote (see)

gp sounds a bit of a nightmare.

there was a thread over on Ultras some weeks ago about Painkillers.
There was a mention there of anti-inflammatory foods - dont know if that might help or if it is just a fad - but might be worth investigating.

good luck with it

Thanks, I can't find the thread but will google for the info, I don't think I eat many foods causing inflammation, I don't eat dairy or wheat or refined foods and drink plenty of fluids and I eat loads of fruit and vegetables which is generally the right way to go. Will take a look though incase there is anything else.

 

Am planning another visit to the GP this week as I am hoping they will help eventually if I keep going back, doubtful I know but it helps me if I know I'm doing everything possible to help change things.

27/05/2012 at 06:48

Fruit and vegetables. If you say you're a vegan I'm going to jump out of a f..g window.

27/05/2012 at 23:11

http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/ultra-/-adventure-racing/pain-killers-/191858.html

28/05/2012 at 03:43
RicF wrote (see)

Fruit and vegetables. If you say you're a vegan I'm going to jump out of a f..g window.


Vegan?! No! lol! I eat meat and eggs and everything! I just can't afford to eat very much of it. I buy what I can and wont eat junk and as a result the quality stuff (not fake meat made with rusk or battery eggs) is limited.

I do make sure I get the right amount of protein, which for my age and size is between 60-100g per day (eg 1 portion of tuna would be 125g and would have about 30g of protein in) but again, once I scrabble to my limit thats it. The bulk of my diet is fresh fruit and vegetables because they fill me up and the way it should be I think.

28/05/2012 at 03:46
bos1 wrote (see)

http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/forum/ultra-/-adventure-racing/pain-killers-/191858.html

Ohh- thanks for that! Perfect weapon for when I go back to my GP and refuse to take any more pills! I seem to get a years supply of something every time I visit despite stating I don't want to!

22/07/2012 at 12:42

Therapists can use a variety of muscle energy techniques (MET) and neuromuscular techniques to treat such conditions, especially where the pressure of a regular sports massage is too much for the client. 

Regarding costs, maybe try a local college or uni that does physio/sports rehab/massage and therefore are looking for bodies to work on?


I'll send you details of a good therpist I know down there who might be able to help you.

22/07/2012 at 18:22

Way more help above than I could give, but have you tried whether a fairly hot (certainly not unbearable, but really quite hot) bath soothes the pain slightly?  If it is trigger point related then you may find it better with warm muscles.


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