I finished up the last of my four Airrosti appointments before all of my October travel started, and I was really interested to see if/how the program worked out for me throughout all that was to come. All of my trips (Ocala, Maryland, Cali) entailed a lot of standing, walking, carrying… all the things that are oh so great for someone with back problems.
One thing that I had already known to be true before I even finished my Airrosti treatments was that it wasn’t like all my back issues just magically disappeared. It helped resolve the acute pain and swelling, sure, but what was most beneficial to me about the whole program was finding the cause of my reoccurring issues and then figuring out what to do to help prevent them from happening, or how to go about working some of them out on my own. That included stretching, foam rolling, and targeted strength exercises to make up for all of the muscle imbalances that I’ve spent basically my entire life creating.
I travelled with my lacrosse balls and resistance bands, since they’re small and easily packable. I also screenshotted all my exercises so I wouldn’t have to keep logging into the Airrosti portal to remind myself of what all was on my docket. Granted, by then I had pretty much memorized them all anyway, and expanded on some of them to ratchet them up a notch in difficulty.
While I didn’t run through every single one of the exercises every day (which isn’t the point anyway) I started to figure out which ones help me the most before or after which activities. On days where we sat a lot, I’d do more of the strength exercises and stretching. On days where we spent a lot of time standing, I spent a lot of time using the lacrosse balls on my lower back and glutes to help with the tightness. It helped a lot, and any problems I did have (there were a couple days where my back was legit killing me at the end of the day) were able to be helped a lot by the targeted exercises so that I didn’t carry the pain and/or stiffness into the next day.
For me I think the program as a whole was extremely helpful. My lower back isn’t constantly swollen and angry like it was before, and I’m a lot more comfortable in my day to day life. I think what was most valuable though was how much it’s helped me figure things out about my own body and how I move. Like the fact that when I think about standing or sitting up straight, my go-to maneuver is to hollow and hyper-arch my lower back. Which… causes a lot of my problems. I have scoliosis, so it’s even more important for me to always support my body with my core than it is for a normal person. My back can’t take it when I try to do that to my spine. So now I constantly find myself being much more aware of using and supporting with my core in literally everything I’m doing… even (or especially) when I’m just standing around. The second I hollow out my back, trouble starts. I’ve kind of had to re-learn the biomechanics behind doing even the most basic things.
And that’s also not to say that I’ve been 100% successful in my execution of all this. I haven’t. I still have a lot of strength to build up and imbalances to correct, which will take a lot of time. But I do feel now like I have a way better understanding and awareness of my own body and what’s happening to cause all these issues I’ve always had. It translates a lot to my riding too, where I tend to always want to “protect” my back a bit with my posture, which *shockingly* doesn’t work.
I will say that I think a large part of the success that someone has with Airrosti depends a lot on their particular issue as well as the provider they end up seeing. I was very lucky that the woman most local to me actually knew a lot about riding and how it affects your body (and vice versa) so I wasn’t having to explain a lot of things to her – she got it. But for me personally I feel like it’s helped me tremendously and changed the way I think about and approach a lot of things, and I’m definitely glad I did it.