The beginnings :
Before I found the FAI fix, I was facing surgery to shave down my CAM lesions. This seemed to be the last resort after an unsuccessful round of PT and just feeling helpless.
I first began noticing the pain at age 23 after about a year of intro rock climbing. But at the time I thought it would just go away if I rest it and avoid irritating it. But it would only grow worse. At age 28 I tore my ACL in my left knee while skiing. The recovery from surgery was frustrating. My knee never seemed to quite heal properly and my hips were getting worse still.
My athleticism and enjoyment of sport was suffering due to the pain and discomfort in my hips, and it was killing me. I somehow lost tons hip function and it kept getting worse. Swinging a golf club (my first love) was becoming irritating, and I could no longer climb challenging bouldering problems without pain or feeling like I was making things worse. I wanted to get a stronger but exercise was irritating. And the aches were even showing up in daily life and seemed to be spreading to other joints like my low back. Walking didn’t feel right anymore and my pace was getting slower and slower.
I felt like I was falling apart quickly.
I felt like a 60 year old man at the age of 30.
I felt like anyone could easily knock me off balance by giving me a pat on the back.
I remember one time I was attempting to jump over a puddle, but then I had to bail just and go around it for fear of hurting myself. How depressing.
What I tried :
I intuitively felt like all my pains were connected and that I would slowly get worse and worse especially now that I had an injured knee. I saw some doctors and did a bit of online research. I was eventually diagnosed with FAI and offered what was considered “a relatively new surgery” to shave down my CAM lesions and fix any damaged cartilage. But luckily I was severely disenchanted with surgery in general seeing how poorly my ACL recovery was going. So I opted to try PT and to see what happens.
I tried physical therapy for about 6 weeks but I felt only minor relief from the program.
At one point I tried taking Meloxicam for a month in hopes it would break the cycle of inflammation. It didn’t work either. I felt really stuck and was close to considering surgery.
How I started recovering :
My recovery probably began when I found Matt and Shane’s videos on youtube. Their explanations of what is most likely going on with FAI clicked with me. But it took a bit of tinkering before I was able to truly convince myself their approach would work.
When I first started with the FAI fix, warrior positions in yoga were painful, the frog stretch was excruciating, the Cossack stretch was impossible. I couldn’t squat without falling over backwards. In fact almost all the exercises in the FAI fix were painful, uncomfortable or frustrating at first. But luckily the program has as great method of progressing, and with a diligent, daily, mindful, playful, practice, I slowly got better.
I discovered some stretches I could do at my standup desk at work. I took stretch and massage breaks during the day, and worked through a customized routine in the evenings. The FAI Fix program really helped me devise an evolving practice that fit my ever changing needs.
I really took to studying the art of human movement and treating recovery as a mastery of skill rather than a list of prescriptive exercises to follow.
How I feel today :
9 months after starting the FAI fix, I feel a ton better. I don’t even think about my hip aches anymore in daily life. I may not be a gymnast or expert level yogi yet, but now I can do things that shouldn’t be possible if a CAM impingement was the cause of my pain. For instance, I can work the frog stretch and the Cossack stretch now. I can even sit in Lotus now after a good round of hip openers.
I regularly deadlift and squat heavy now, and can almost do a proper pistol squat. I have no more pain during the golf swing and my swing speed has increased dramatically. My climbing has improved and I just feel like I am finally getting stronger, suppler, and more flexible. I no longer feel doomed from my bony circumstances. More importantly, I have a new love for movement and conditioning and feel confident I have the tools to maintain a strong mobile body deep into old age.
Thank you FAI Fix for bringing a unique evidence-based perspective on joint problems, and for discovering and creating solutions!
My opinions and keys to success :
-Only you can heal yourself. Treat everyone else as a consultant. Luckily Matt and Shane are best consultants I have ever found in any field. They have been amazing at answering my emails, providing motivation, and even helping me though some sticking points.
-Keep a journal.
-Awareness is key. Be mindful and focused, but also playful.
-Don’t rely on patience to see progress. Patience will inevitably wear off. Instead, focus on fun. Fun never wears off.
-Focus on the forest and the trees.
-When an exercise feels frustratingly hard, remember that you won’t feel the progress of today’s workout until tomorrow’s workout.
-You are practicing a skill instead of “busting out a workout.”
-Try to find ways to incorporate movement and exercises into your daily routines. For example, practice eating on the floor or checking your emails in pigeon pose. Get creative. “Always be mobilizing.”
-Think like a hunter-gatherer and get more movement, even study their movement. Get more outdoor time, better sleep, better nutrition, etc. (i.e. The basics).
-Never give up.
“Don’t go into the pain cave” Kelly Starrett
“Before I learned the art, a punch was just a punch, and a kick, just a kick.
After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick, no longer a kick.
Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch and a kick is just a kick.” Bruce Lee
“It’s a lovely journey that just gets deeper as you go along!” Shane Dowd