Friday, February 1, 2008

A trip to the physio

Today I'm off to my physio to get all the knots that have built up in my legs rubbed out. It's not the most pleasant experience in the world, but the best thing about it is tomorrow the legs will feel good as new. There's nothing in particular wrong with me, just the usual constant niggles. The right ankle may be tired one day, the achilles the next, tight hamstrings another and so on. When you push your body as hard as you do in marathon training there's always going to be a niggle here and there, so a rub down every once in a while does the legs the world of good

I've been using the same physio now for three years, unfortunately he's based in Dublin where I don't tend to be most of the time but whenever I am here I schedule a visit with him. It's got to the stage now that yesterday in the lift home from the airport my mum asked me what time I'd need a lift back from the physio at. She doesn't have to ask me if I'm going to visit him or not, it's a case of "Ah Private's home for the weekend, he must have to see his physio"! In an ideal world I'd be able to take him around with me. "But, there's physios everywhere" I hear you say. True, although you don't know what you're getting until you've seen them. Finding the ideal physio can be a tough job.

In France, myself and a friend who played rugby used compare notes on various physios to see if they were any use. More often than not I used to find that if you had a problem you'd be better getting the physios there to kiss it better rather than the softly softly approach they used to take. One physio strapped a machine to my knee and left the room for 15 minutes as the machine caused my leg to jump up and down. Know that's a cushy number for a job.
Buy Machine. Attach machine to affected area. Have Cup of tea. Take payment.

Another was shocked when I wanted a rub down on both legs, and then quickly doubled her price. On another occasion during a rub down the physio told me to let him know if it was getting sore. I was there to rid my legs of all knots, from experience there was no possible way this was not going to be sore. He then got annoyed when he realised that I hadn't said anything and quickly put on this cold cream to my legs. When I mentioned this to my physio in Ireland he said that this would have cooled down the legs and that the physio had probably thought he had done some damage and was trying to reduce it. The point of a massage is to get the blood flowing through the legs and this cream would have stopped that in its tracks.

In the end I settled on a French physio that the local running club recommended. He wasn't great but he was €15 a session... You can't argue with them economics. Granted for the most part he just told me to stretch before and after training and to drink loads of water rather than actually giving me a tough massage. Apparently because my French wasn't perfect he thought this foreigner is an idiot and I'll tell him every week to drink lots of water in the 30C weather outside!! I still went religously week in week out.

With all this in mind I'm scared to look for a new physio, having to go through the same rigmorol, asking them if that's the best they can do, could they not hurt me more, did they get rid of every last knot in my calf, did they give 100%?! Seems like too much hard work on my part to find... and at London prices I think not. Why bother when I have a magician at home who will do everything possible to make sure I'm up and running?

Right so, I'm off to visit the magician who will no doubt inflict a lot of pain on my legs today...
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