Here is my FAI Fix hip story. I started training in ballet when I was three years old, and I continued on until I was 17 very seriously in pre-professional (and one professional) companies. After that I only took a few classes here or there, but most of my adolescence was spent doing 10-20 hours of ballet per week.
I had always struggled immensely with flexibility. It took me many years of hard work to achieve the splits, which is really the bare minimum of flexibility required in ballet. It was always so frustrating how little I progressed compared to my peers. I also struggled with turns (I think I’ve finally put together an explanation for this which I’ll mention later).
When I was 23, my fiance and I were preparing our “wedding” bodies and started doing P90X workouts regularly. We obtained our goals and became strong and durable. I’ve never been successful, or frankly, that interested in running, but during this period of confidence I hopped on a treadmill and somehow managed a six-mile run. I felt horribly hungover with fatigue that evening, and in the middle of the night I woke up screaming with intense pain in my left hip. My intuitive response at this point was to protect the area in pain with rest, ice, and pain medication.
The pain only got worse. My mobility had tanked and my pain was unbearable. While I was a dancer I noticed a lot of popping in my hips as well as the tightness/inflexibility that I had mentioned, and I had always sort of thought “some day my hips are going to be a problem for me.” Now that they were, I decided to track down the sports medicine doctor that treated a local professional ballet company. I assumed my long run was just the tipping point to years of hip abuse in dance.
The sports medicine doctor sent me to an orthopedic surgeon, who sent me to get an MRI, and then diagnosed me with femoroacetabular impingement, and a good amount of labral tears. I was offered a handicap tag to take with us on our honeymoon to Disney World (we cancelled and delayed our trip a year! Who wants to be pushed in a wheelchair by their husband on their honeymoon?).
As pain and mobility issues increased, I decided to go ahead with the surgery. My impinged bone was shaved and my tears were repaired. I woke up out of surgery and felt immediate relief! It was a miracle surgery! I then proceeded through all of my physical therapy and got stronger and back to normal.
Fast forward two kids and about seven years later, and my husband and I started doing some training again for a couples trip to the Bahamas! I was working hard doing various at-home workouts, really focusing on my legs with lots of squats and lunges, etc. Lots of progress and confidence, and then one day I started getting that familiar aching and throbbing pain in my glute on the right side. Oh boy, time for my right hip “to go”, I thought. Ballet requires very symmetrical training, so I could only assume that if I needed surgery on my left hip that my right was probably coming.
I slowed down on my training, but the pain did not subside. We made it on our trip, but afterwards I started going downhill. The glute throbbing became accompanied with that torn feeling on the inside of my hip. I knew exactly what to do: call up my surgeon, order the MRI, and get it fixed.
Sure enough, there were impingements and tears from every angle. As I instinctively tried to protect the area, the last thing in the world I would do was stretch it. I kept my legs crossed or laying down, and the more I rested the more I hurt. I was almost in tears going to church one day to a picnic where I could barely walk at all. But I had surgery scheduled.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. At some point while waiting for my surgery, my left hip started going into the same pain! And I started going downhill on BOTH HIPS! On a Sunday night, my husband left for a weeklong trip to Singapore, and I laid in bed perplexed. How on Earth was I going to take care of my two young children for a week with no help. I could barely walk, it hurt to drive, and to top it off we were having a house remodel!
I guess you could say I was desperate and hit rock bottom, but surgery was over a month out, and that was only for one side! How would I recover with the other one hurting (and still, with two young kids!) Also, at 31, is this really going to be my life? Am I going to need hip repairs on both sides every seven years? How long would I last? Am I going to have hip replacements at 40? My life is over! Why did I love ballet so much? What do I do?
So, I hit the internet and found the FAI Fix program that night. I read through the site and some reviews, and bought it quite impulsively. I thought this was definitely worth a try even if it didn’t work. I did all of the self tests that night. I was pretty terrified to be STRETCHING muscles that had “lots of tears”, but I really didn’t think I could get worse, so I did it.
I almost immediately had pain RELIEF in doing the self tests. I took all of the notes that I was supposed to, took a deep breath, and went to bed praying I could get out of bed in the morning. I had less pain that night and woke up more mobile than I had been in weeks. INSANE. So of course I got to it! I followed all of the guidance of the program and picked two areas to work on. I did about 45-60 minutes of “hip work” every. single. day for a good few weeks.
When my husband returned from his weeklong trip, I appeared normal again! I was walking around and doing things with very little pain, and normal activity and mobility was completely restored. I did still have pain, so those first few weeks I was especially diligent about icing my hips after every session.
At this point I had to decide what to do about my scheduled surgery. I decided to get another opinion. I have a friend who is a sports med DO (should have seen her first) for a major college in Colorado. She ran all the scans and found my impingements, on the front of one hip, and in the back of the other. She also found my entire spine was slightly angled, so essentially my entire core was in a bit of a corkscrew. She felt confident that because of my success so far with FAI Fix and my ability to receive training as a former dancer, I should not move forward with surgery, and should continue with physical therapy.
I actually have not yet gone to physical therapy now a few months later. I had to cancel because of a child’s illness and just haven’t found the time, but I have been continuing with the FAI Fix program. I would say I was extremely dedicated for the first two months, and got myself back to “normal”. In the business of life, I’m not currently as dedicated, however on several occasions now I will get that throb in my glute, and I’m able to stretch it out with a targeted stretch. Or, I’ll feel pinching in my inner groin and I’ll stretch it out and do some tissue work, and get relief.
I don’t sit as much in general. I’m standing as I type this and alternating some stretches on each leg. I spend more time on the floor casually doing stretches as I play with my kids. I do hip hinges while a kid is hanging on my back (works really great actually at 40 pounds!). I squeeze my glutes and hams ALL the time. Absolutely as a ballet dancer my quads were overdeveloped in comparison to the backside.
My friend really helped me make sense of my struggles as a dancer, too. The tilted spine explains why turns were difficult; I would tend to fall easily turning towards my curve and had a hard time making the rotations turning against my curve. I feel so much better now about my flexibility issues because it wasn’t ever a flexibility issue (in fact in my table exam my friend told me I’m quite flexible still). It’s the mechanical structure of my hips that was always the issue.
I love how this program has helped me put all of the data together to make sense of how MY body works. I just love how careful all of the videos in FAI Fix are in addressing the very specific dynamics of the muscles and body positioning to retrain your body properly. I also love the new mindset I now have that anywhere there is pain in a muscle, I can actively work to relieve it instead of just lying around in agony popping pills.
I have such a new outlook on how amazing the body is at retraining and self-healing. I will admit part of the reason I’ve slowed down on my “hip work” is because I really like to workout HARD and sometimes it was just feeling like “old lady exercises” after a while. So I am excited to sort of have all of the exercises in my knowledge bank and do them throughout my day, and hopefully progress back into harder workouts. I’ve just purchased the athletes program and have not started it yet, but I am very excited to work myself up to new challenges that are good for my body!
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am seriously eternally grateful for this program, and I hope to never have hip surgery again!! I have told so many people with aches and pains to follow Upright Health. You guys are amazing!