How Foam Rolling Helped Me Manage Pain After My Motorcycle Accident

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So many of you may not know this about me but about ten years ago I had a motorcycle. It wasn’t a huge bike by any means… it was a starter bike, a Honda Nighthawk 250. Her name was Lola. I used her to putz around in Minneapolis. (don’t worry I always wore a helmet)

One beautiful Friday in August my friend, Megan and I decided to take half days from work to head to the local lake and enjoy the sun. I hopped on my bike and Megan was in a Dodge Ram pickup because her car was in the shop. Megan was following behind me. We only had about 5 miles to go from my place to the lake and it was all streets. As I was riding, I all the sudden noticed the street looked wet up ahead. I assumed it was wet from sprinklers I saw running in someone’s yard. But as I went over it my bike went out from under me and I rolled up to the curb.

I was very aware of what was happening and realized that Megan was still behind me and I prayed she would not run me over. All the sudden I see the huge truck stop about 3 ft from my head up on the grass.

I popped up right away as Megan got out of the truck screaming. I imagine it was much more traumatic for her because she saw it all happen and thought she was going to run me over. I kept saying I was ok, it was ok, I was ok…

Then the pain started to set in. I held my left arm with my right and sat down on the curb. A woman who saw the whole thing called an ambulance.

As I sat on the curb I was trying to figure out what happened. There was no reason my bike should have just slipped like that. Megan said that whatever was on the road was slick because she couldn’t stop. That’s why she ended up taking the truck up the curb.

The police showed up with the ambulance and figured out it was oil covering the road. The EMTs even struggled to get me in the ambulance while I was laying on the gurnie because it was so slick. We were sliding all over the place.

The police drove up the road to see if they could figure out the source of the oil spill. Before the ambulance took off to take me to the hospital the police came back to tell me that there was a city bus about 3 blocks up that was broke down. The hydraulic hose had broken and that was what spilled oil all over the road.

After the bumpiest most awful ambulance ride I was in the ER and given morphine which made me sick and gave me a crazy itchy nose. Like I looked crazy because I couldn’t stop itching my nose.

They did some Xrays and found I had a broken my left clavicle and left wrist. They didn’t feel surgery was necessary so gave me a cast and a sling and sent me on my way.

I will skip to four months later when the dr realized I had a non-union clavicle. This is essentially when the bones don’t heal but all the muscles and everything else heal around it. I could often feel things “shift” with movement. Many people will opt for surgery and have a plate put in but after many surgeon consults it didn’t seem like a viable option. They would essentially have to go back in and rebreak my clavicle, take bone from my hip to fuse with clavicle to help healing and then put in a metal plate with 6 screws. Most women struggle with this procedure as we have bras and purses that will rub against the plate and screws so will result in having a 2nd surgery to have the plate removed down the road.

And after all that there was no guarantee of improvement. Although I could definitely feel a change in my strength and mobility I felt that I could do 80% of weight and movements I did before so the surgery just didn’t make sense for me and the surgeons agreed.

So I carried on with my life. And I was doing ok for the first few years and then all of the sudden I was experiencing pretty severe thoracic and neck pain. Like I couldn’t sit in a chair that didn’t have a back because I would have such severe pain.

So let’s jump to a quick anatomy lesson.

there are 15 muscles that are all directly attached to the scapula (which is connected to the clavicle)

When the structure is not sound (bones) the muscles are going to work that much harder to stabilize. They are also going to pull to one side if there is imbalance. All these things are recipe for possible pain and certainly postural changes (my left shoulder hangs 1” lower than my right)

My muscles in the thoracic area and neck were constantly tightening and I imagine were affecting some nerves that created the sharp pains I often experienced.

During this time I tried a number of different things. I was seeing a chiropractor. This helped at times but often went back to same tightness within a few days of appt.

I got massage which helped more but I could only afford to go 1x a month and a lot happens in a month.

I was back in the weight room lifting and moving as much as before accident (which was quite a bit). I think the lifting only made the issues worse. Not because lifting is bad or that I was doing anything wrong but when muscles are tight lifting often can create more tension.

What I needed was RELEASE!

I lived like this for nearly 4 years. Then I started doing more Pilates which often incorporated the foam roller. I finally started to feel a difference.

The gentle movements helped me to release instead of holding more tension and the foam roller was like a regular massage and bodywork that I needed.

I rarely deal with the same pain I experienced those first four years. And if I do it’s generally because I haven’t been practicing Pilates or neglected my foam rolling.

It’s for this reason that I am so passionate about helping people move and feel better but why I want more people doing FOAM ROLLING!

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