I was back in Performance Rehab’s office this morning for additional work on my hamstring. Much of what they did was the same: stretching, acupuncture and cold laser treatments, but today, they added something new: an electrical shock treatment.
Ok, no, it wasn’t to my head. Although, as we all know most runners are pretty stubborn, single minded creatures. I doubt if even an electrical shock to our heads would alter the desire to run in us very much if at all.
No, the electrical shock was to my quad. To keep the explanation as simple as possible, I am not an expert here; I am just trying to share what I learned today, my quad and hamstring counter balance one another. When my quad contracts, my hamstring relaxes, and vice versa when my hamstring contracts, my quad needs to relax or release. This all makes sense to me. Over the years of running, I have learned enough physiology to understand that neither can contract at the same time nor relax at the same time.
Well, when I “jacked” up my hamstring, this threw off the balance between my quad and hamstring. Thus, my quad wouldn’t fire off as well because my hamstring wasn’t able to support the full force of the quad contacting.
Until today, I didn’t understand the medical reasons behind it, but I did realize it. My left quad just didn’t seem to have any power in it at all. I have said this many times but it rather feels like I am running on just one leg. My left leg holds me upright but doesn't push off during my stride.
Really the purpose of the electrical shocks is to help remind the brain and the quad to fully fire.
How do they do it you might ask? Well, first, they insert this tiny needle barely in to my quad. Again, I am overly simplifying it. Then, they apply a small electric shock through the needle and into my muscle. It is the strangest feeling. My brain realizes that my quad is contracting but it isn’t doing it. It feels similar to a very tiny muscle cramp but without the desire to stretch against it.
There was an immediate difference in how my quad functioned after the treatment. I am interested to see how it feels running.
Status update, I am three weeks into my recovery. By the end of last week, I could finally walk normally again. By normal, I mean that I could walk around throughout the day with no pain what so ever in my hamstring. Now, setting is still an issue so I have been standing up a lot. The next steps are getting to run without it hurting. I suspect this will take a lot longer than 2 weeks.
The Cool Down Runner