Feeling the strain, but not the pain

Dealing with sore, cramped-up and aching legs had always been a part of my day-to-day existence, even as I am not

Dealing with sore, cramped-up and aching legs had always been a part of my day-to-day existence, even as I am not a particularly athletic person.

Growing into an adult, I had simply accepted the fact that my leg muscles had a mind of their own with their seeming agenda of staying very tight and toned all on their own, regardless of how minor my physical activity level was.

Performing physical activities such as climbing high steps is nearly impossible, and being a ballet dancer or professional gymnast is certainly out of the question, as I have to sit down to even tie my own shoes.

I guess I am one of the lucky ladies who doesn’t have to worry about her legs looking fat when exposed by shorts, skirts or dresses. But this is not worth the amount of pain I endure even after a simple day of walking around.

I had always relied on Tylenol to rid the pain, but then it finally hit me — it’s time to go to a physiotherapist.

Typing ‘Sylvan Lake physiotherapy’ into Google, I stumbled across a sports injury clinic, which happened to be located in the basement of my doctor’s office.

Stepping out of the elevator, which had landed me in the basement clinic where my physiotherapist worked, my first reaction was to question whether I was in a hospital or a gym.

I will admit — I silently questioned this first impression, and wondered if this place would provide me with a good first experience. To my left I saw long, yellow curtains held up by mobile tracks in the ceiling, which desperately attempted to provide some sort of minor privacy. To my right, mirrors and exercise equipment were confidently mounted to the wall.

I tried to keep an open mind about the place I had just walked into, and I silently prayed to God that I wouldn’t be just another client slotted in between the hospital curtains. I wanted privacy.

My physiotherapist came up to me and politely introduced herself. This is when I walked with her past the mini hospital to my very own enclosed room with a special physiotherapy table that looked something like a massage table and a weight training bench. All the same, I had privacy. I breathed a sigh of relief, but still wondered what would take place, as I had no idea what to expect, what she needed me to do physically and how much pain she would put me in.

After answering questions on when and how often I felt pain, and pointing where on my legs the pain presented itself, she tested my reflexes with a special hammer. Just before doing this, I asked her if this would hurt and she simply said no. As a matter of fact, I started to giggle in amusement as my leg gently kicked in reaction to being tapped just below the knee cap.

After a good hammer analysis, and feeling how tight my muscles really were, she explained to me that my pain was a matter of having naturally toned muscles that need to be stretched.

This is when the fun began of learning how to properly stretch.

As I laid down comfortably on my back on the black bed, I was directed on how properly target and stretch different muscles, and was told that I should not stretch to the point of pain. Hearing this piece of advice really opened my eyes to the realization that ‘no pain, no gain’ might be a complete myth and not necessarily always applicable.

I was then told that if I stretch to the point of pain, I can cause more damage to my muscles, when I only want to stretch them out. This brought me back to the days of when my personal trainer would stretch my entire leg, and would do it to the point of pain. This made me wonder if he really knew what he was doing.

After showing me three complete sets of daily stretches, my legs started to feel different. It was like for the first time in my life they were willing to work with me, and not just be forced to work like two skinny tree branch slaves that were connected to my hips.

Waking up the next morning, I didn’t feel pain, but instead reaped the benefits of a proper stretch from having gone to see a good physiotherapist.

I was glad to know I wasn’t dealing with loads of scar tissue or nerve damage, and that my muscles and tendons weren’t beyond repair.

All I had to do was practice stretching. Just not to the point of pain.


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