Airrosti, the needle in my treatment haystack

Every runner, or athlete for that matter, gets hurt as a result of their training at some point in time.  It is the inevitable outcome of trying to balance on the tightrope that separates injuries from peak performances.  For a distance runner, and a high mileage one at that, I have been exceedingly lucky in my career to have had no injury that has caused me to miss more than two weeks of regular training.  And along with this, even given the unfortunate female propensity for low bone density (monthly iron loss) and body structure, I have never had so much as a stress reaction.  The problem females tend to face with their hip alignment stems from that fact that we actually have hips.  That is, our body does not form a straight line down from torso to ankle, so our middle (hips) is wider than our foot stance.  Imagine an upside down triangle and you get the picture.  Even with my lack of serious injuries I have had just about every treatment known to mankind to manage my one kryptonite…my upper left hamstring.

Pretty much anyone who has run with me and seen me post workout can attest to the fact that my flexibility is not something to commend.  In fact, it is somewhat of a mystery to me how I manage to reach my feet to put my socks and shoes on.  What I have found over time is that my problems don’t really stem from my muscles being too tight but instead are a result of poor hip and lower back mobility.  Just to cap things off, as I was growing in the womb, my cells apparently forgot to put my pelvis in the correct position.  Sweet.  Multiple people have told me that my pelvis itself is tiled forward.  This puts my hamstrings and back leg muscles in a not so ideal neutral position.  When the pelvis tilts forward it requires the hamstrings to stretch, with adds additional strain to them even when standing in a straight up and relaxed stance.

As a result of this misalignment I have had pains, similar to pyriformis syndrome, in my upper hamstring attachment and lower glute.  It all began three years ago as something that I only felt while sitting, so I did not worry too much since it was not impeding my running at all.  Over the years though, it has been an up and down battle to keep it from hurting while both sitting, running, and doing weight workouts.  Clearly my friends, this was a problem for me.  Here are all of the treatments that I received while at UT to combat the issue and my reactions to them (along with daily ice baths):

  • Weekly deep tissue sports massage (lovely, but not quite specific enough to do the trick)
  • Myofascial release (most painful treatment…I thought)
  • Chiropractic visits (yeah, didn’t help one bit)
  • MRI, bone scan, x-rays (nothing found)
  • Stimulation treatment (Stim…who knows)
  • Ultrasound (feels nice, but no relief)
  • Heat-pack compression (warm and cozy and that is the extent of it)
  • Witch doctor at Oriental medicine clinic (HOLY CRAP)
  • Another witch doctor with a little squeaky belt reading energy frequency (WTF Steve, seriously?)
  • Acupuncture (didn’t help, didn’t hurt)

Throughout all of this treatment-tomfoolery I was in a “mostly healthy” state the majority of the time.  I’d say around 90% of what I would have liked to be.  However, this past season is when it all went kablooey and things changed in a blink, or should I say, a cool-down.  We warmed up two miles to the track, did 12x400m repeats at 78-80, cooled down 4 miles to Rogue Equipment and…F^%&!  Ouchy ouch for the hammy string.  I had never felt this type of searing pain in that area prior to that day, and I knew that it was not the same old tightness that had been plaguing me for so long.  This was different.  So much so that I was ultimately unable to finish my last season at UT.  It was very odd because I was able to run, but not any faster than about 7 minute pace without it physically impeding my movement (not to mention hurting like crazy).  In the end, the decision was made by my coach and I that though I did still have a great base, I was simply not fit enough to compete in a 10k at the Big 12 level, or the Little 12 for that matter ; )

After officially ending my UT career I took a few days down and then began slowly building my training, but I was STILL not 100%.  In a last-ditch attempt to be whole again I made an appointment at the Airrosti clinic in the office of my general practitioner.  I had heard multiple accounts of people being fixed in three treatments or less, so I was interested.  One thing that kept me a bit skeptical was my general inclination to not trust chiropractic work.  Airrosti is actually not chiropractic in nature, however it tends to be practiced by licensed chiropractors because of their extensive knowledge and intuitive feel for the anatomy of the human body and how the muscles, fascia, tendons, and bones align and work together (or against each other).  And so, I arrived for my first of four appointments.

People, I will be brief (since this is now a marathon post), freaking miracles have occurred in that office.  After a mere four treatments I am completely pain-free.  After each appointment I felt miles better, which is the goal.  The airrosti practitioners say that each time they touch the problem area they want it to leave better than before hand.  Not better in a week, not better in three days, better the minute they release their fingers from the tissue.  This is exactly the experience that I have had.  Obviously, there are millions of things that can afflict an athlete, runners in particular, so there are things that are not helped by this type of treatment.  Even so, I would say that as long as you didn’t break something or tear a leg off, it is definitely worth a try.  Overall I think that there are benefits to some of the things I have tried in the past and they are certainly great methods for maintaining health while training, but only airrosti treatments have allowed me to train at 80-100% beginning immediately after the first visit.

The long-winded point that I have been attempting to make is that I would recommend to anyone suffering from a soft tissue injury that they make an appointment at an airrosti clinic and then see how it goes.  There isn’t much to lose considering the fact that you are already hurting anyhow : )  I would recommend Dr. Ellspermann (who I see) or Dr. Dirksen (many friends see him as well) who work out of Texas Sports & Family Medicine on Red River in Austin, TX.  If nothing else, you will leave with some pretty tape on your leg.  Pink is the best, by the way.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by meat patty on June 30, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    Witch Doctor #1: “Pretend there is a water fall going down your back in order to open up the blood flow into your hamstring.”

    Witch Doctor #2: bahahaha hahahah thank you steve.


  2. Posted by RyanV on August 2, 2010 at 10:44 PM

    I played sand volleyball one day and since I was not used to it, I injured my shoulder somewhat. Enough that it hurt for the next year after the initial injury.

    I heard about Airosti and made an appt. For me, it took 1 appt and the required stretching from the P-Therapist and the pain is all but gone. My shoulder RARELY catches like it used to almost everytime. If I actually went again for another shoulder treatment I feel the injury would subside completely after healing.

    They do advertise that the shoulder bursa recovery time is 3-4 appts, so me having this much relief after 1 treatment is amazing.

    That was with Dr Elsperman.

    I’m now going to the Pflugerville location as it is closer to get my old ankle sprains treated. We’re talking YEARS of scar tissue on these bad boys. I got my first ankle sprain playing soccer when I was like 4-5yrs old.

    After the first treatment on the more serious sprain I would say it is still inflamed from the treatment, but that’s how this works I’ve learned. The real relief comes directly after the treatment but before the inflamation/swelling from the actual treatment kicks in during that healing process.


  3. Posted by patrick on September 30, 2010 at 10:07 PM

    I feel exactly the same! I also went to UT and have shopped at Rogue and know some of the people who train with them. I had my first Airrostii session yesterday and I’m super bruised. I was having a weird hip flexor/groin tendorness. I immediately did not have a limp but it still hurts. I think what hurts is the bruising from the treatment.

    Thanks for the great review. I feel like you summed up a lot of the sentiments of a runner looking for help and I’m glad I’m not the only believer!


  4. I first visited an airrosti doctor about 3 months ago when I had sprained my left ankle. Within 3 weeks I was able to run a 37 mile race with no pain. Then a week ago, I sprained my right ankle, and continued to run on it for 29 more miles, so it was a more severe sprain. I have had 2 treatments at airrosti. My question, which I don’t know if anyone can answer it but I appreciate the input,–will it be okay to run a 100 mile race next weekend (2 weeks after the sprain….one week and it still hurts right now)?????


  5. Posted by Richard Harris on March 8, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    Ok – I have been in varying degrees of pain for months in my lower back (right side) and sciatic nerve route. From my lower back down the right side of my leg it has been inflamed and at times throbbing. I have tried acupuncture, deep-tissue massage, chiropractics, etc. Temporary relief – no long-term help.

    I went to Airrosti today and for the first time I can see a way out of my situation. The doctor was extremely knowledgeable and competent in her application of the Airrosti techniques. After my session I experienced a marked degree of relief and was able to stretch without pain. I was informed that it probably will take 2 more sessions and we’ll assess the results at that point. Hell – if takes 5 more I wouldn’t care if it finally rids me of the problem. In fact – after we get the lower back situation straightened out I am going to have her work on my neck and shoulders tightness. I heartily recommend Airrosti as a first resort rather than a last resort measure. Please try it out if you’re in pain.


  6. Posted by AutumnFire on May 23, 2011 at 11:51 AM

    I’m not a runner, but someone whose job makes one prone to repetitive motion injury. That, and according to the orthopaedic surgeon who has done a tendon release surgery on BOTH elbows, prone to tendonitis. I was referred to Airrosti in my area by my PCP. Like you, I’m skeptical of chiropractors, but I am familiar with release points via a massage therapist. After being referred to the Airrosti practitioner for what was (according to him) a sprained rib, I noticed immediate relief. However, the pain came back that night and while it finally subsided the next afternoon, I wasn’t sure if it was from the Airrosti treatment or the tissues finally relaxing. I’ve decided to allow them to treat my mild carpal tunnel in my right wrist. We’ll see how it goes from there. If it works, I’ll let him try fixing my decades-long Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.


  7. Just started running again, training for the run this Feb. 17th after a few years on the sidelines. Ramped up too quickly: ShinSplints….!!

    Based on your recommendation: I’m going to try Airrosti hoping to get back in the saddle as quickly as possible.

    And miles to go before I sleep.


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