I have a patient who complains of acute pain right under the right butt cheek, and inner part of the thigh. It is a persistent pain that has been bothering him for weeks and also feels stiff. He is in his mid 50s, professional, and in good health other than “high” cholesterol, for which he takes Lipitor.
The pertinent history for this patient is that he is an avid runner, and has been running regularly since his 20s.
He is one of those folks who enjoys the feeling of running, during and after. It is a form of stress relief for him. He also does Pilates using the reformer, and enjoys 3-4 glasses of wine on most nights.
The area in question is the biceps femoris tendon, which is part of the “hamstrings” of the leg. It functions as the major knee flexor of the leg (its agonist, opposing muscle is the quadriceps group). The biceps femoris muscle inserts into the ischial tuberosity, which is the bony part of the ischium (half of the pelvis) that we use to sit.
Without the benefit of an MRI or CT scan, and based mostly on the history and lack of other findings that would cause me to think otherwise, I diagnosed myofascial strain of the biceps femoris tendon, with possible tendinopathy (degradation of the tendon from overuse). Basically, something has happened to the muscle and tendon that is resulting in unrelenting pain.
Running is the repetitive, alternating contraction and relaxation of opposing muscles. The most stress occurs at the tendinous attachments to the anchor points on the bone. However, the spot where the tendon attaches to bone is stronger than the breaking point of the tendon itself, so when it is stressed, the body of the tendon will experience tearing (strain) first. It is rare for a tendon to separate from bone at the attachment site. This is the case for this patient, as his pain is described as about 2-3 inches from the attachment point on the ischial tuberosity.
I am treating his injury with a LiteCure deep tissue laser and have given him a nutritional prescription consisting of whey protein to provide the building blocks for repair; high potency fish oil and capsaicin to help reduce the inflammation, and bromelain supplements to serve as an enzyme to soften scar tissue formation. Today, I advised him to drink distilled water for 2-3 weeks. Distilled water may have a chelating-type of effect (binding) on dissolved, inorganic toxins or debris in tissues, which could help with the situation; it is often used for detox programs because of this quality. He was advised to rest, ice and compress the area for 3 days to help suppress the inflammatory reaction.
The case is a very interesting one that will hopefully have a good outcome. We should realize that a muscle is very much like an organ of the body, although it is rarely referred to as one. It has its own unique type of cells, blood supply, and plays an important function. As in all cases of disease of the body, a good strategy is to give it an edge in repairing itself. Diet modification, concentrated, high potency supplements, and non-pharmacological, manual therapy, when used in the right manner can oftentimes hasten recovery.