Mrs Brown was referred to me by Roger my courier friend. If you've read the story of his low back pain, you'll realise why he sent Mrs Brown to see me.
The moment she walked into the clinic I knew that this was more than your every- day sort of problem. Mrs Brown was an elderly lady somewhere between 70 and 80, and she entered the room leading with her left foot and dragging the right one along the floor.
"Hello Mrs Brown" I said, " you seem to have a problem with your right leg."
" Oh yes" she said, " it doesn't work at all." By this time she had reached a chair and sat herself down.
"Can you lift that leg at all ?" I asked.
"Yes" she said and wrapping both hands about her leg just above the knee, she lifted her leg with her hands.
"I suppose you have seen a doctor about that" I said "What do they think is wrong."
"I kneed a hip replacement" she replied " but I would like to avoid surgery if I can."
" Well I am not a doctor" I said " so I cant say whether you need a hip replacement or not, but I do know that the most likely reason for your leg problem, is that the muscles that lift the leg are simply not working, So how about we get the muscles in your hip working first, then if you still need a hip replacement, go ahead and do it."
She seemed to like that idea.
Upon examining Mrs Brown I rapidly realised that the Iliopsoas muscle was not working at all. This muscle starts on the inside of the lumbar spine travels down through the pelvis and attaches to the inside of the femur (leg bone) at the lesser trochanter. Its primary job is to flex the hip. It is very unusual to have it fail so completely, it usually just causes low back pain.
Because of Mrs Brown's age I used only a gentle spray and stretch to this muscle to rehabilitate it. It took three treatment sessions to get the muscle working again.
After I had finished with the third treatment I said, " That's all, you can get off the treatment table now."
After she got off the table, I said " Put your hand on the wall to steady yourself, and raise your left leg."
She did this, so I said "put that leg down , now raise your right leg", which she also did.
I said "Good put it down. What happened?"
She looked at me strangely and said " what do you mean."
I replied " Well you couldn't do that two weeks ago"
It was amazing to watch the realisation come into her face, as she stood there raising her right leg up and down and saying " It works, it works!"
That morning Mrs Brown walked out of the clinic with a smile on her face and a spring in her step.
It's at times like this that I love my work.
A note on the Iliopsoas muscle
Because of its location in the pelvis the Iliopsoas often gets compressed by the baby during the third trimester of pregnancy, causing really nasty backache for the expectant mum.
I have treated a number of pregnant women for back pain, caused by this muscle, always with excellent results.
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About Gary Clark
Gary Clark is a massage therapist and EFT practitioner in Perth, Western Australia. Gary founded Pain Busters Clinic in 2002, where he helps people with a variety of pain problems, including fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome.