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Chalk up another testimonial for Barry
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jducoeur
As previously mentioned, I hurt myself on Saturday during the moving party. The past few days have been unpleasant -- sometimes okay, sometimes not, sometimes right down in the fighting-off-tears, "Make it freaking STOP!" level of unceasing moderate pain. Sleeping has been difficult at best (possible only with slightly strange positions and too much ibuprofen), and the fact that I haven't been able to sit down without constantly-building levels of pain has led to a draining game of constantly bouncing around on my feet.

I saw a massage therapist friend on Sunday, and a chiropractor on Monday -- both helped a little, but the pain has still been 90% there. So when I mentioned this at Poker on Monday, new_man pointed out that it was time to see Barry, the Baronial miracle worker. (AKA Muscular Solutions. He's not SCAdian himself, but he's worked on a lot of us over the years, and is quite familiar with the SCA.) I just got back from that, and while "miracle" is *slightly* excessive, that was certainly the most impressive bit of hands-on body work I've ever experienced.

Barry's style is eclectic, to say the least -- far as I can tell, instead of adhering to any particular school, he does a bit of everything that works. In style, he comes across most as a physical therapist: very direct and *remarkably* efficient. Within the first couple of minutes of my being there, he had essentially identified lousy posture as a root cause of the problem -- never even would have occurred to me that my hips were that off-balance, but he pretty quickly demonstrated the difference in strength between the two sides, and that a few quick adjustments made an immediately apparent difference.

Instead of the usual doctorish mode of asking lots of questions and being very slow and cautious, Barry got into a quick cycle of asking me to stand up or lie down or sit, putting his hands on me, poking at muscles, yanking something, testing again, and then assigning homework. (In as many words: there is a lot of, "Okay, *that* is screwed up. This is the exercise you're going to start doing to fix it, and here's the handout.") Again, the mode is very much one of physical therapy -- he does a great deal while you're there, but expects you to follow up and work on your own.

He's not at all "woo-woo", and you need to be prepared for him to get pretty up close and personal with all of your muscles. (He spent the longest period working on my butt, frankly -- my glutes are apparently a mess.) Be prepared for some moderate pain -- he actually went into an explanation of "good pain" vs. "therapeutic pain" vs. "too much pain", and there was a good deal of the second category. (And one brief hit on "too much", at which point he backed off -- that pretty clearly identified just *how* screwed up my left leg currently is, and led to more homework.) The conversation ranged all over the place, from how I walk to the ergonomics of my workstation: he's very focused on finding and fixing root causes, not just the immediate pain.

Even he couldn't fix my screwed-up system completely in an hour -- we'll be following up soon. But overall, the results are damned impressive: the pain is down by about 2/3, and frankly, having exercises to work on makes me feel a lot more that this is simply a problem I can get my hands around, rather than a mysterious agony to be endured until someone waves a wand and fixes it.

He's relatively expensive, and doesn't take insurance, but the value-for-money is excellent -- he cost about twice as much as the chiropractor, and was about five times as effective. Highly recommended...
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Barry is amazing. He's helped me through all sorts of injuries, and is also very good about telling you when he can't fix whatever is broken and it's time to see an ortho, etc.

(Deleted comment)
I'll second (third?) the recommendation.

I'll also mention something he's said (both to me, and in parting to another visitor who was there before me one time): the more deeply entrenched a problem is (often due to letting it go until it's unbearable rather than dealing with earlier), the more it will take to fix. He's pleased that people regard him so highly, but he disclaims any ability to fix long-standing issues in a single session.

[Both times I've seen him he's either fixed or nigh-fixed what I went to him for in one visit, but in both cases I went before it got nastily serious... which he says tends to be the exception rather than the rule.]

Edited at 2013-07-25 03:42 am (UTC)

Yaas. In my case, I saw him relatively soon after the pain started, but it's pretty clear that the underlying causes have been around for a *very* long time, so it's going to take a bit of work to deal with those...

I noted your mention of "too much ibuprofen". I recently became convinced of the wisdom of staying within the maximum dosage of ibuprofen -- not through personal experience, just through researching the side effects and talking with a health professional -- and suggest the same to you!

One of these days I have to give Barry a try; I've heard so much about him.

Body Hacker seems an appropriate term, especially with the 'try this and see what happens' scientific approach over the Engineer deep research and slow implementation approach.

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