Well, I gave it my best shot, but physical therapy just isn't doing much for my back. The two exercises I was given to do just made the back pain worse, and both of them were very hard on my knees. I am keeping up with the walking in the pool for exercise, however, because that doesn't make my back hurt worse afterward, and it's easy on my knees (and the hot tub helps a lot with that too).
I went back to see my doctor and told her the physical therapy didn't help. So now we're trying Cymbalta and Relafen for a month to see how that works for the pain (and there are other options she's willing to try if these don't work). She also said that there's a back and neck place in St Cloud that she can refer me to, maybe they would have some ideas on how to strengthen my back muscles without making my knees scream at me. I told her that I was considering buying one of those wheeled walkers with a seat. That way, I could go for walks and when my back cramps up, I have a place to sit until it quits hurting and then I can walk some more. She said to see if Medicare would pay for it, and if they will, she'll write me a prescription for it. She also asked if I had ever been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I think because the Cymbalta is one of the drugs they give to people with fibro to help with the pain. I told her I hadn't had a formal diagnosis, and she said that fibro was difficult to diagnose, but that could be something to look into also.
Seems like now that she's seen I'm willing to make an effort to follow her directions/suggestions, she's more willing to come up with more ideas on how to manage my back pain. I can get on board with that. I also think it helps that I let them weigh me today (and I wanted to see where I was at too), and I haven't gained any weight since February. I'm maintaining, which is fine with me. Maude knows I don't want to gain any more weight, but I don't think I will as long as I continue to eat the way I have been eating - eat what I want, when I want, take my time, and stop when I'm nearly full (if I eat until I'm full, then in about half an hour, I'm uncomfortably full).