Go to Physical Therapy!
I’ve had pain in my lower back for a few years running. I always meant to see a doctor and never did, then we had covid. I knew I’d probably have to go to physical therapy and hated the idea of having to exercise with a mask. I regularly took a bunch of ibuprofen and naproxen which did a number of my GI tract, so I stopped. So I finally went to the orthopedic doctor a month and a half ago. The X-ray showed mild scoliosis (who knew) and some degenerated discs (not uncommon, happens with age).
I’ve read that stress can show up as lower back pain and I believe it. I have also read, and the doctor confirmed, that the physical state of your back doesn’t necessarily correlate to how good your back feels. You could be all out of whack and feel fine, or look good in the scans and be in pain. All this to say, I had resolved to keep an open mind about the possibilities.
So they give me the Rx for physical therapy along with a muscle relaxant that I took exactly once. I was a bit glum, felt so old and broken down. I would think to myself, is it really possible I could live with this every day for the rest of my life? Pain, spasms. Getting out of a chair or a car. Lots of weird popping, not like back cracking, like ligaments or something. I’m pretty hyper-mobile so was concerned.
So I’m going along this past month, following orders, getting through the sessions without complaint or stopping to rest. I will say after the first two sessions I could finally sleep on my back again, which is better for my sinuses and lets my muscles relax more- it’s been a few years.
I very dutifully have been doing all the home exercises. Things have loosened up. I’ve actually felt (temporarily) a tiny little bit wobbly or weak while walking. Muscles shifting. Felt like less discrepancy between the two sides. I definitely have a spot on my right side that is a knot and I lean a little to try not to use it. I also asked her about favoring that side and she said I should be crouching not bending to pick things up/load the dishwasher etc. So I started forcing myself to use my abs glutes and thigh muscles to keep my weight evenly distributed when getting something low.
i noticed last week that I did not feel great, generally had quite a bit of pain for days after most visits. So I told her and she dialed back the intensity and focused on my knotted area with some massage.
Guess what, that evening and day after I felt good. I went today and again, the workout intensity was not increased, just maintained. I asked if my ankle weights were lighter, she said no it’s easier because your muscles are getting stronger. More massage.
I cannot tell you how good I feel. The lack of pain is astounding. I honestly believed that unless I lose the 30 pounds I need to, my back would just be in pain every day. I slept the last two nights in a row without waking up. When I go up stairs, it feels like my back works in one piece, not a garbled mess pulling in all directions.
I cannot believe it’s actually working. She asked if I wanted to continue after 12 sessions or just do it at home. I was like, what? Sign me up for as many as I can have.
And of course all along I’ve been reading about muscles and healing and strength building and stretching- it’s shocking what is out there to feel better. Who knew?
So, PSA: if you have something that could benefit from physical therapy, go do it! Even if it’s your foot or TMJ or anything. Build some strength, maybe lose some weight if you need to (she did say that resolves so many problems for people)- you may be shocked at how your body can heal!
That's awesome! Thanks for sharing.
This is great and I have some more inspiration for you...
I am reading that physical weakness is the new "smoking". So you're on trend @PixieDust I'm happy for you!
Keep going! Strength is one of the points on the crown 👑