Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Physical therapy update

I had physical therapy again today, and I was wrong, they do have more than one physical therapist (at least 3, I think). The one I saw today, well, I hope he's the one I see from now on. He asked if the one I saw on Friday had felt the muscles in my back, or if he had done a couple of other things, and when I said no, we had just done one exercise to stretch my back muscles, he didn't look too impressed.
I told him how much pain I was in when I got home from that day, and that I was in even more pain the next day, and that I didn't do the exercise again until last night and that I was in so much pain this morning that I was crying (and that I took 800 mg of ibuprofen and 500 mg of tylenol).
So, he had me lay on my stomach, and he did one of those ultra-sound things that sends deep heat to the muscles (he said the muscles on the right side of my back were knotted so tight, he was surprised I could walk at all, and the ones on the left weren't much looser). So we did that for 15 minutes (and did that ever feel good). Then I laid on my back, he put a big block under my knees, and then tilted the table so that my head was lower than my hips (15 minutes of that). I could actually lay there, flat on my back, and it didn't hurt. And, wonder of wonders, when I got up, I could actually stand up straight and walk without much pain at all (my knees didn't even hurt as much!). I walked probably 150 feet from the elevator to my van and my back didn't cramp up at all! That is so unusual for me, I was just totally amazed. He said we'd be doing the same thing again on Thursday, and once we get the muscles loosened up the way they should be, then we'll worry about what exercises to do to strengthen the muscles (sounds like the way to go, to me). He also said that when my back really hurts, that cold packs might help (so I'll have to try that and see if it works, we have ice packs in the freezer that I can wrap in a hand towel).
All in all, this was a much better session than the first one, so I'm going to keep going, as long as I have Brian (the guy I saw today) for a physical therapist.


  1. I'm so happy for you that you've found a PT who cares (and knows what he's doing!). I've found that there are vast differences between PTs and its always surprised me. I had one whose treatment left me almost immobilized similar to what your other guy did - my problem was with my upper back/neck, which was cramped/spasming to start with, and when he was done it was so bad I couldn't drive myself home, and had to lie in bed for hours afterwards. I just don't understand how they get away with it.

    Regarding the cold pack - another thing that always helps me is heat packs. I'm not sure if you've tried them before, but if you haven't I suggest that you do. Just get one of those wheatbag things and microwave it, pop it on and relax - I find it has a similar effect to that ultrasound thing they do.

    Please make sure that you DEMAND to see this new PT from now on. You deserve the treatment that will make you better!

  2. randomquorum - I have one of those wheatbag heat packs, I think it's stored upstairs somewhere. I used to use it on my neck all the time when I was doing a lot of keying for data entry. I'll have to dig that out and see if it helps too (I did find the heating pad the other day, so I have that if I need it).
    I think I'll just have them set up my appointments so that I have Brian all the time, then I know I'll have a good therapist.

  3. Yes, absolutely schedule to always have Brian. I'm so happy that you found an alternative to the ass!

  4. oh, if you can't find the heatpack, i like to fill a tube sock halfway with dry white rice, knot it shut, and microwave it for 1.5-2minutes. cheap and ausome!

  5. Yay! Can you schedule specifically with Brian? That would probably be best. :)

  6. If your PT asked you to use cold packs, you might want to avoid heat for the time being. My partner has had sometimes serious back problems for the last 10 years, and has to avoid letting her back get too warm; something about the way the muscles fit together. There are days she can't even take a hot bath or use too many blankets, or it makes things massively worse.

  7. Mollyg, that's really interesting - I've never heard of (or experienced) heat making body pains worse! Its so interesting how different people/problems react to different things - my Dad has a lot of problems with his neck (hi, hereditary!) and often has to wear a scarf all day to avoid letting it get too cold!

    Vesta44, hopefully my suggestion hasn't made you worse! And I'm so not qualified to "prescribe" anything, only relate what works for me - maybe it would be best to check with your PT and see if the heat would be ok as well as cold?

  8. randomquorum - I haven't used the heat or cold yet, I have to figure out a way of keeping the cold pack in the right spot on my back before I do that. And the first PT I saw said that if the heat made my knees hurt worse the next day, not to use it (I had said that when I put the heating pad on my knees, they felt great). I haven't noticed heat making my knees feel worse the next day (pain level stays pretty the same from day to day, unless the weather is due to change, then they hurt worse). I see Brian again today, so I'll ask him about the heat.

    mollyg - I'll be asking Brian about using heat as well when I see him today, since I haven't used either (heat or cold) yet on my back.

    living400lbs - I'm sure as hell going to try to schedule all my appts with Brian, I don't want the other guy at all, ever again...lol

    synj_munki - I know which box the heat pack is in, it's just a matter of dragging my ass upstairs to dig that box out of the closet (I hate those stairs, steep and narrow with a sloped wall at the top is not my idea of a good stairway).

    rishabree - Yeah, I'm glad I got Brian this last time, it made for a much better session and actually makes me want to go back (I'm also going to ask him about the walking in the pool and using the hot tub before and after the pool).

  9. Oh, this is wonderful. I pray you keep getting Brian. Sounds like he is a person who actually listens and cares.


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