Post-Physical Therapy Back Update

I had my first physical therapy appointment this morning since my herniated disc “re-flare.”  When I walked in, I was apparently bent and shifted into a strange pose that when my PT mimicked it, I was horrified.  He immediately took me through preliminary movements to see my range of motion. I could lean forward pretty well, but I could not lean back at all without pain.

We went over to the wall and he had me stand a little away from it, lean on my left arm a little, and just “glide” myself against the wall.  I did this several times and it started to help almost immediately.  We varied it with leaning forward a little bit and working my way up to standing straight as I glided a few times in each position. It didn’t feel awesome, but every time I stepped away from the wall for him to check my alignment again, it was improved.  I could even start to lean backwards more.  We did a few other things, most of them didn’t feel very good, but I still felt like my ability to move around was improving and has improved a lot since Friday.

Back Care Notes

The session today was pretty short and ended with ice and instructions: I am to keep doing the glides in order to get myself into a more neutral position in my back.  If it doesn’t hurt, I can use the recumbent bike at the gym.  I can start with with 10-15 minutes, walk a little bit, and continue on if my back feels okay. I must use ice and the muscle relaxers would do me well at night since I can’t take them when I’m at work.

I cannot: run, jump, lift (including upper body lifts), twist, sit in a chair without back support, etc.

My PT said that it’s possible that once I am done with the steroids I am currently on, things could get worse again.  The steroids are taking care of the current inflammation, but it could just come back. He also thinks the doctor is probably going to want to go with a more “aggressive” treatment at this point.  He mentioned the shot, which he knows I am pretty against.  I don’t know what other options there are after that aside from surgery, which I am also not interested in either.  My doctor’s appointment is in the middle of being rescheduled, so we’ll see when that happens.

I have to say, I am pretty upset about this whole business.  I was doing so, so well. I was keeping to a good schedule of 3x a week strength training, 3x a week running.  My back was feeling good.  My ankle stopped hurting.  I was about to run over 6 miles for the first time ever!  Now, I can’t do any of that. I am going to try the bike tomorrow and see how it goes, keep up with my instructions, and all of that.

I am hoping being able to bike will help my sanity. That’s the real problem.  I am so grumpy from pain and steroids and not being able to do the things I would normally.  Usually, if I was this grumpy, I could go for a run or go to the gym and work it out, so to speak.  With that not being an option, I just feel like I’m a pile of irritability and unhappiness. Strange how I never thought I’d run like I do now and now that I can’t run, things just aren’t as awesome.  In the little bit of time I’ve been running, it has become such a part of my life and my mental well-being, even.

While I don’t know if I will be able to run by the time the Cap City quarter comes around, the pacing requirement is pretty low, so I think I can at least walk it.  That’s my goal now: let’s just get to the point where 6.55 miles is something I can do in one way or another.

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