What caused you to have to have physical therapy?
“I’ve been a runner the last 15 years and you I would get little aches and pains and then at one point I had a knee that was bothering me too much. I went to a lot of different people and they tried to help me out. They were all trying to fix the symptom opposed to fixing the problem. When I came to Results Physiotherapy and met Matt Hayes, he was trying to see why my mechanics were failing and things like that and he was actually able to say, “well its not your knee that’s the problem, its the other parts that contribute to that. We were able to pinpoint exactly what that problem was and that’s when I really had a revival in my running. I haven’t had very many injures since we’ve found that stuff out. Initially I had to get that knee up and going, strengthening it, and working it out. Maintaining it and Just knowing what I need to do after that has really been helpful.”
You’re underselling, apparently, your running experience.
I like to run a long distance, which is ultra running. That means usually running over 26 miles for a race. Whether it be 50 miles, 40 miles, whatever it is, that’s what I really enjoy doing and that obviously stresses the body different than shorter races. Maintaining your legs obviously is very important when you’re running those kinds of distances.”
When was the first time that you started to notice that you had issues?
“I’m 43 years old and I’ve been running seriously since the age of 29, maybe. So the last 15 or so years I’ve been running seriously and throughout those times, every year I was getting injured. It was always one thing or another. Once I really started figuring out what those issues were, I noticed problems with my calves that were leading to knee pain and IT band issues. It’s really, in the past couple of years, been a lot better. Of course you’re always going to have aches and pains when you get to a certain age, but I’ve had no injuries since I was able to identify what those problems are.”
Did your primary care physician refer you to Results Physiotherapy?
“Yes, I had hip surgery to clean up some stuff, it wasn’t a replacement or anything like that, and a year later I started having knee problems, so I went back to that same surgeon for that and then… actually, he didn’t refer me! I got referred to Results by a running store and one of the physical therapists, Matt Hayes, went to that running store. I went to my surgeon and said, “hey can I go to Results Physiotherapy, he seemed like he knew what he was talking about,” and my surgeon said “sure, no problem.” So I was referred by them, but I’m the one that asked them to refer me and they had no problem with that.
“This place does it differently, you know. I have a lot of friends that are physical therapists. When you’re in the running community, a lot of people are physical therapists. Most of them are going through the motions and doing what the doctor says just to pass them on from whatever problems they had before. Meeting people here, though, their intent was for me to get better and never come back, and that’s what I liked. Instead of just trying to figure out what my symptoms were masking it, they wanted to actually figure out why I had an imbalance. They would really look at your mechanics to see if it was something you were doing and once they did that, you know, it changed everything. That’s why people want to come here, it’s because they’re different. Different in a way that makes people’s lifestyles better because they try to keep people out of physical training more than anything else.
“Its always been funny, when I’ve come in throughout the years, because I do run long distance, Matt would always bring people into the room and be like, “you won’t see this type of stress on a normal person, but see what its like for somebody like this.” Its always been a learning environment, you know, they’re learning just as much as he’s learning and I’m learning about what its like to run a lot of miles and then see the best way to recover from it.”
It’s very much a learning environment, honestly.
“Yeah, I really do feel like everyone in here is learning from each other because every patient is unique and everyone is different. One person is working with another person and you see them helping each other out. You can see the physical therapists go up to each other and recommend things and they’ve always been wide open to help out in that case.”
Can you explain how your therapist diagnosed the cause of your pain?
“Going back probably ten years ago, I noticed that when I was running my mechanics were getting pretty bad. I was hitting my heels really hard and I could tell that there was an imbalance when I ran that certain way. I changed how I ran just a little bit just to be on the balls on my feet more and things like that. In the process of doing that, it stresses your calves more, which is natural because your feet act as a cushion, which then causes other stresses. I was noticing that all of a sudden my calves would get these pretty big knots in them and I was trying to roll them out and do anything I possibly could, but I was just never able to get them out.
"Then, I was starting to get some different knee pain, or my IT band would hurt. Probably the biggest thing I noticed were my hamstrings and, again, all of it is tied together. When I was having problems with my calves, it was affecting all the other components of my legs. I could always tell when I had a lot of knots because that was when my legs would really start to hurt. When I started noticing that, when my hamstring started to hurt, I didn’t try to fix the hamstring, I knew I had to get rid of some of the knots in my calves.”
How do you explain what Dry Needling is?
"You have stresses in your body that can form knots and cause minor tears, things like that. There has to be something that can get those points to recover and start working again and relax. What dry needling will do, I don’t know if its waking up where the stress is, but it will startle it a little bit and when it relaxes, it goes back to what it should be. A knot starts like a big ball but dry needling goes into that ball, wakes it up, and then it goes back to what it should be at that point. I think that’s the best way that I can explain it.
"The knots are gone after you leave, its not like you wait three days. It’s immediate. The knots absolutely go away at that point. It’s by far one of the most fascinating things that I’ve ever been a part of because how many times have you ever, in physical therapy, had immediate results? I mean, instantly it goes away, and without drugs! That’s what’s so wonderful about it.
Does Dry Needling hurt?
“That’s the first question I get most of the time. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s a pressure feeling and an immediate release, that’s what you notice. If you were going to somebody that didn’t know what they were doing, that would hurt because they could hit a nerve. There’s a lot of other stuff in there and whenever its been done to me, they’re going to be close to a nerve. They would tell me they might get close and to let them know if I started feeling it and its happened a couple of times and it makes you jump a little bit. But when you hit that knot, it’s a weird feeling, but it’s an immediate release and you can tell that its just gone at that point. It was unbelievable! I had a little bit of a dry sweat, but it was almost exhilarating more than like, “Oh my god, there’s a needle in my leg!” you know? It makes such a difference. Its almost addictive, to be honest, because you know its fixing you. It’s the most fascinating thing I’ve ever thought of in terms of physical therapy.
Were you referred for this therapy?
“No, it was suggested based on me struggling to get back on my feet. I was told I could try to work those knots out, but was told dry needling that I should do dry needling one it becomes legal. I was all for it from the begging because they had already worked with me and I had built this trust with my physical therapist where I knew that if he was telling me this, then he had my best interest. We worked and he was trying to get knots out with his thumb and was saying, “trust me, one day when dry needling is legal, it’ll be an amazing difference.” We probably worked for about three to four months to try to get out the knots and then the minute we tried dry needling, it was immediate. When I fist heard about it, I was like, this is revolutionary and everyone needs to hear about this and learn about this because it’s going to help so many people. Everybody is walking around with knots and everybody has them in their calves and hamstrings, we all have knots from different types of stresses. To immediately get rid of them, that to me that is absolutely fascinating.”
Why should people consider physical therapy as a preventative measure?
"I’ve always been a big preventive type of person. I eat as best as I can and I exercise because I want to be healthy. I like it when I think of what I can do so that, down the line, it doesn’t happen to me. If you go to a doctor, they’re masking the problem with medication or something like that. They’re always talking about surgery, whatever it is, and when I came here the first time that was the difference. It was, “What can we do to improve your life?” and that’s pretty strong when you’re a runner.
"If you took running away from me, I’d live and I’d be fine, but that would be a pretty big, drastic change so I don’t want to take that away. And so it was, “What can we do from day one so that you can continue to have this. Because if you keep just running a lot and you don’t do preventive things, you’re going to break down.” So, that’s where the trust comes from and why you get this incredible relationship because you really do feel like they are trying to improve you for the long haul. It almost puts yourself out of business, it’s like, “We don’t want you to come back with this problem because we know how to fix it and fix it for the long haul.” I’m telling you, there’s not many people out there doing it the way Results Physiotherapy is doing it.”
“Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to have surgery? Which means you’re not at that point. Is it really bad to go to someone and prevent surgery? I don’t want to have knee surgery, I don’t want to have hip surgery, I don’t want other things. I’d rather trust experts to tell me what I should do and with my physical therapist he always says to me, “Charlie, if I tell you to do this, this, and this, I know you’re going to do it and its great. I don’t need you to come in every day and do this, but here’s your plan so you don’t have to come back.” And I do it! And I’m injury free if I trust and follow what my physical therapist tells me to do.
The running community is very much a community.
“Yeah, very much so. I think if all you did was run and I have a lot of friends that do it, you will be injured every year. I think actually there is a statistic that says 65% of all runners are inured every year at some point and that’s definitely true. I can say I’ve been almost five years without a real injury and guess what I’ve started doing in that time, you know. I think that being preventive in everything in our life is going to help us out and it just makes sense.”
“Your body in general is very complicated. Every time I think I’ve figured it out, I’m wrong. We all think we know how our body works and we do things a certain way, I mean one of the problems with runners is all they do is run. Running and doing a repetitive action over and over again can lead to injury, you know. Especially your knees, or whatever it is. Runners are very stubborn because they’re not going to stop running to do something else because they love to run! It’s also the fact that we all do think we know our bodies and we just don’t. Any human being, you know, it’s so complicated. I spent hours and hours reading about it and the more I read about it, the more I realize I have no idea what I’m doing, which is why I need experts to help me with it.”
" I think we are going to see a major boom in what we know about the body in the next however many years. If you go to the doctor and it’s obvious that they haven’t been to training in two years, maybe even ten years and all they do is say, “Well we can give you an anti inflammatory and go home.” That’s not what I want. I didn’t come to you for drugs.
"I came here to get better so I don’t have to come back. Its obvious, you know, who’s been going to training and who’s not in that case. "