I'm not a health care provider or expert, but what I have done is collect information from people who are, (experts), and then tried to see what worked-- so this is just my practical observations and experience with the awful monster- --da da da---"ITBS", otherwise known as Iliotibial band syndrome.
First, let's talk about adhesions and scar tissue. This has to be addressed in ITBS. The foam roller is the cheapest way to do it. It is also the most time efficient way I know.
You could also find an ART provider to work on your soft tissue, but that won't be inexpensive.(And as you mentioned in your comment, it also requires the time to go.)
The iliotibial band, and the soft tissue underneath has adhesions that need to be broken up. The worst I've had it, is when I could actually feel, as I rolled slowly over the roller where the I.T. band was adhered to the underlying muscle.
Now, you can "rest" and do nothing, and get some relief, but when you go back to your sport (in this case running) you will have problems again. Why? Because your I.T. band can no longer move freely over (glide) the leg as it should,and there is a lack of elasticity. Everything is "glued" together. (That is my layman talk here, but hopefully you get the picture.)
If you don't want a recurrence you have to work on the scar tissue so -massage and/or the foam roller. I couldn't (can't) get by without the foam roller and I have to use it all the time. That means I use it often to warm up before run, I use it after runs, and I will even get on it through-out the day and before going to bed at night. Consider it your friend.
You (Cyndi) said, "I am stretching frequently, and I do have a foam roller but somehow that seems to hurt more than help? Now I feel more discomfort in the hip/buttock area..." This is really a common response for your body to feel worse after rolling on the foam roller if you are having an I.T. band problem. In fact, initially the foam rolling seems to cause the inflammation to spread because you are working over all that knotted up tissue. You are, in fact, kind of causing more inflammation as you work on it in the early stages of recovering. I keep working it every day until the tissue starts feeling smoother and more cooperative.
As long as I am continuing to feel - well, pretty much miserable, the rule is for me- NO RUNNING! Yes, I hate it, but I far as I can tell, if I try to run in this condition I add on a week's recovery for every day I ignore the problem.
Also, I know many articles say otherwise, but I would back off of stretching for awhile. Again, this is my unprofessional opinion, but while the I.T. band is inflamed, I think it is best to wait on the stretching and stick with just foam rolling.
You (Cyndi): "Should I take a complete month of running?" Possibly. I take it day by day. If you have to take that long it won't mean inactivity --it just means no running! My mood is better when I am doing something to work on it. (Foam rolling, swimming, strengthening, stretching, yoga, exercises.)
You (Cyndi) said "My PT wants to see me 2X's a week but I really don't have that kind of time." Can you find 10 minutes several times here and there throughout the day? If you can and you are consistent, you can get better.
There are some stages. The first (acute) stage, you are injured and have pain and inflammation. Don't do strengthening and stretching in the first stage.
Next, is what I call the reconditioning phase where I spend a lot of time doing exercises and strength work while continuing the foam roller and stretches. In this stage you may feel some tenderness but nothing is real "fired" up in inflammation. (It sounds like possibly you could fall into this second stage if you don't feel it is severe. Which would mean you can do a lot as far as
And lastly, the final stage of working on entering back into running. When I feel ready to try and run I am prepared to go only half a block and have to turn back. The rules for me in I.T.B.S. recovery are no running if there is pain. I break rules, but really try to stick to this one. It's one thing to finish a race with it, and it is a whole new level of stupidity to just run right from my door with it.
Some of the exercises that have helped me: Note:I don't do them until my I.T. band is done being inflamed.
- Walt Reynolds's ITB Special explained here
- The clam
- Side leg lifts
- gluteus medius strenghtening, such as this and bridges
- 1 leg 1 arm deadlift with barbell or kettlebells
- Monster walks video here
- Frankenstein Walking (Don't skip this one, it is an awesome exercise!)--instructions here
- Side lying leg raise (with ankle weight or none) Lie straight on your side and lift leg straight about a foot, hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat until fatigued. I work up to 3 sets.
Then as you get "better" you can add exercises and intensity. (Squats, lunges, etc.) But bring new stuff in gradually.
Other (helpful?) stuff:
Make sure you are in proper alignment. I suspected my sacroiliac joint needed some adjustment. My pelvis was rotated too far forward. If you think you have any of those kind of issues you might look for a "sports-minded" chiropractor.
Consider taking some sort of joint regenerating/protecting supplement--I have felt like the best thing I've taken when I've had a lot of inflammation is Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator --you can find that on their site and Amazon has it too.
Address any bio mechanical stuff. ( i.e. need for orthotics?) I have a bit of bowleggedness, which puts me at more risk for getting these problems and I've done the orthotics thing in the past.
Heat plus ice. I found this helpful when I seemed to be "stuck" in my progress. Not something I'd do when already in raging inflammation, but when I'm experiencing more of a stiffness.
This is when a heat compress is helpful. Heat increases blood flow but increases inflammation. By alternating some heat and ice to the affected connective tissue, you create a circulation pump that promotes the healing process. So 6 minutes of ice, a few minutes of heat and then more ice can speed up the healing process. Just remember to finish with ice to reduce the swelling, then let the area come up to normal temperature before moving around! I use a thermophore pad because I happen to already own one. I probably wouldn't have gone out and bought one otherwise, but you might be able to beg or borrow such a thing from someone.
The Patt-strap for compression (Google it) may help. Sometimes it has helped me and sometimes not...
Keeping your I.T. bands warm is best. (So wear capris or tights rather than shorts.)
I'm sure I'll think of more later, but I hope something there helps you Cyndi! Get well! Get strong!