Abdominal Self-Care

It happens every few months that I need to work on my own belly.

I do a lot of leg lifts and other core work in yoga, I walk/hike/bike a ton, I am almost constantly injured in one way or another.  It’s a very exciting life.  And what it all adds up to is that the center of my body (my belly) needs periodic attention.

This most recent injury was an 8-month marathon of hip and low back pain.  I could not figure out what was wrong but my sacroiliac (SI) joint kept slipping out of place and so I would drag my leg around in wicked pain between chiropractic adjustments and massages and acupuncture appointments.  Then, it that eighth month, I finally broke down and went to talk to the ND about a treatment involving multiple joint injections – and I am terrified of needles.

Strangely, that was the solution – not the treatment, but the scary doctor appointment.  I came home from the appointment devastated because I knew I could never get that treatment unless someone knocked me out with a brick first.  However, during the ND’s range of motion testing of my joint, I had become convinced that the problem was not actually in my joint but was muscular.  This devastated me more because even though I was newly resolute about what the problem was, I still had no answers for why I hadn’t been able to fix it yet – I mean, I hadn’t exactly been ignoring the skeleto-muscular system.

Very long story short, it was in a moment of trying yet again to release the muscles I thought were the problem (while crying and talking to a friend on the phone about the doctor appointment) that the injury resolved.  The muscles released in response to the same old tennis ball I had been using the whole d*$% time, in the same freaking place as always.

What happened was that the emotional and physical pieces of the injury finally synchronized and I was able to let go of everything that was loaded into it.  Most of it was stuff I had no idea was part of the injury at all.

So, what, you are asking, does this have to do with the belly?

The hips are part of the belly.  Most of the soft-tissue structures in the belly attach to the hips in one way or another.  During my hip saga, everything that was attached to the bone as it moved in and out of its “normal” place got dragged around as well.  Which meant that at the end of the whole thing my belly was a mess of tension patterns and adhesions and it finally had a chance to tell me so.

It took several weeks of patient work on my belly (the same exercises I teach in the abdominal adhesion videos) before the spasms and adhesions were resolved.  But once I was done, my hip felt more free than ever.

It’s been a couple months now since my hip went through that first big release of the injury and of course I’m still having the ups and downs of recovery.  It’ll be a while yet before that’s over.  The muscles (hip and belly) still spasm when I do too much.  My organs still feel like they are getting yanked around a little now and then, but I finally feel like I’m in a place where the injury and the recovery aren’t completely running my life.  It’s about time!

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Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin
Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.

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