Luna’s Return & Mentally Overcoming Injury

This upcoming weekend will mark our return to competitive agility after a 3 month break from trialing and almost 2 months from agility anything.  I had been looking to incorporate a multi-month agility break for Luna for some time now.  Since she turned 15 months old it’s been non-stop with hardly any breaks for her.  Granted, we’re not trialing every weekend, but we do practice an awful lot.  We usually have at least 1 class a week with 2-3 other days of some type of agility work.  Unfortunately, this break was forced on us because of her injury scare.  And now that injury scare is doing a number on me mentally.

We’ve gone from wondering if anything is wrong, to worried there might be a knee ligament injury requiring medical intervention and months of recovery, to no knee injury but possibly an iliopsoas issue, to now wondering if there was anything wrong at all except for a tight diaphragm muscle.  In the past when Luna has gone for her monthly chiropractic adjustment if anything was out on her it was always her pelvis, sacrum, or SI joint.  With the issue we went through we were now trying to figure out the chicken and the egg conundrum.  Was her pelvis/sacrum/SI joint causing a tight iliopsoas or was the tight iliopsoas causing the pelvis/sacrum/SI joint to be out?  Then, to add on top of that, after we had it narrowed down to an iliopsoas we observed that her diaphragm was extremely tight which could be causing iliopsoas tightness as the 2 muscles interact together.  After working all of that out through massage, stretching, and laser where are we now?  In my opinion, pretty much where we were back in December with the initial issue (save 1 thing) and why mentally I’m trying to still overcome this “injury.”

You see, back in December when Luna initially presented with a problem it was obvious there was a big discomfort on her left side.  There was no mistaking that.  However, after “fixing” that initially through chiropractic adjustment the rehab vet and I started noticing little things that could indicate further discomfort. When Luna does a sit-up/beg position the left knee was positioned higher than the right knee as if she was trying to keep weight off it.  What does she exhibit now in that pose?  The same thing. Has she always done that?  Is this something new?  Is it something she “learned” because of pain in the past that is now ingrained in her to prevent the pain from appearing again even though there is nothing there that would cause pain?  Is the occasional sloppy sit an indication of something except laziness?  All of these things I observe about her every time I work her and honestly still has me worried because I just don’t know. Am I a hypochondriac about my dog?  Possibly.  Do I honestly think there is anything wrong with her? No.  This contributes to the mental battle going on every day with regards to Luna.

So we’ve now had 3 weeks of re-conditioning and re-introduction to agility.  We ramped up fairly fast as she never really was on activity rest so she still got to run around the back yard a little bit and do other activities.  So we spent the time working back up to full agility.  This past Saturday we had our first full practice running a full course at 26″.  She did  fabulous and had one more short, but intense practice on Wednesday where she was also fabulous (hello beautiful running dogwalk, how I missed you!).  The next 6 weeks are going to be extremely busy with Luna and agility.  We have a UKI trial, a seminar, the North Central USDAA regional, an AKC trial, and all of that ultimately leading up to ITT the first weekend in May. Through all of that, she is getting almost weekly laser treatments as well as lots of stretching and massage after every working session.

For now I just have to go out there and mentally run like there was nothing ever wrong with her.  Be observant, but trust in her to let me know when there isn’t something right.  Hopefully when I’m at the line on Saturday morning all of the mental concerns will melt away when she leaves me in the dust from not being able to trial for 3 months.