Once again, I have graduated from physical therapy!! While I appreciate the creativity and drive of my PT, I would love to never have to see him again as a patient! My crazy making pain from February is gone. It’s been another long hard road, not being able to slow down from the breakneck pace my life had taken on was hard. I would do all the things I HAD to do and there was nothing left at the end of all that. I had to go to school, I had to go to clinic, I had to care for my family, I had to go to PT, I had to study. Nothing else got done, there was no energy, no excess – there was enough will to get through what I HAD to get through and then manage the pain I had created doing those things.
I felt bad, I KNEW I needed to rest more, I knew it would be better for my over all healing – but I had a life that would no longer allow me to slow down. So I did the best I could. I took ice baths daily for far longer than I wanted. I used Kenesio tape to reinforce healthy muscle patterns and reduce inflammation. I took 2 oral steroid packs over the course of the last 5 months to deal with the constant inflammation. I admit it; I was surprised. I really didn’t think it would help my pain or my situation, but it did. It helped break into the pain cycle and that helped my pain. Also messed up my female cycle, and I am not a fan of steroids, BUT they helped.
I also did every single at home exercise I was given, nothing more, nothing less – and when Tim said, “I think you need to consider some kind of trigger point intervention to help us get over the hump.” I acted like a child. I rolled my eyes, stomped my feet, held my breath, and basically through a “small” tantrum NOT wanting to get stuck back in the medical system again. I wanted him to fix it. I trusted him… not other people. The idea of having to see another Dr. or try to run the gauntlet of the medical system was the fear behind my hissy fit. It was sad. I have grown, a lot. I took the steroids, I went to my GP, I called my massage therapist, I managed a lot on my own, I even asked for help at clinical. I asked classmates to treat me during class…. I’ve let a lot of hands on me during this thing… but some how the thought of contacting a NEW Dr… or trying something new was overload to my brain and my heart.
I knew deep down in my gut he was right. These taught bands of muscle were NOT going away and they were burning and stinging and causing constant pain. Manual therapy wasn’t having the long term effect we needed. SUCK!!!!!! I told him I would consider it. I felt rude, and I hate feeling rude to him. I KNEW he was right and yet I just couldn’t commit right then and there. I needed to figure out how to manage my crazy. I needed to figure out what I was going to try; trigger point injections, acupuncture, dry needling….
I decided to go with trigger point injections from my Pain Management Dr. I knew him, he had been sympathetic in the past and willing to work with me by listening to me. He had allowed me to be active in my care in the past and was hoping he would this time too. He did listen and eventually agreed to do the injections. I surprised myself by rejecting his first plan. He wanted an MRI and I refused. I shocked myself – honestly! I knew Tim and I were on the right track and I was unwilling to spend the money on a test that would more than likely show nothing. NOT AGAIN!
I promised him I was listening and if these injections failed I would submit to the MRI because it would mean Tim and I were wrong and something more was at play.
In defense of my PM docs caution he gets HUGE props for suggesting labral tears and hip impingement as possible causes! I said YES I totally agree BUT preliminary test are negative for pain – feel free to do them and see what results are! He did. (It was the first time he put hands on me in this appt.) He then agreed it didn’t seem those things were likely, and said he would do the injections. They were like magic. And I don’t believe in medical magic. I don’t believe in quick fixes. I will be honest and say Dr. B nor I are sure if it was the needle inside the muscle, the numbing agent, or the steroid… but it stopped the constant burning pain and enabled me to go horseback riding with my daughter that weekend.
Within hours of the appointment I started off on a 2 hour car trip to go to a dude ranch with my daughter. We rode horses 2 times (30 min each) and hiked around a camp, and slept in awful bunk beds, and even did an hour hike up through the hills and forest. It was amazing. The difference in my pain and function was amazing. I had packed my tape, meds, TENS unit… I was ready for triage in order to have this weekend with my daughter. I was REALLY pushing it to get on a horse, but I COULD NOT say no again. I was willing to risk all the positive forward movement Tim and I had made to go on this weekend with Erin. I couldn’t say no anymore. I am still pretty tickled it went so well!
After the injections I put in 4 more weeks of therapy and am once again basically pain free. We ended with me doing things like walking lunges, one legged squats, box jumps on small boxes, playing hopscotch, single legged bridges, various planks… things I am not ashamed of and frankly, pretty proud I can do. Yes they exhaust me and I am still working on retraining of muscle brain connection, but it is much smoother than it was, and I am functioning at a high level again.
I think I will always want the body of an athlete. I think I will always want to be in the best shape I can be in. It makes me feel good about myself, and I hurt less. Being active is good for my heart, my mind, and my body. It’s work. It takes conscious effort to push myself to the point of muscle break down so I can be stronger – and it’s A LOT easier to pay someone else to do it to me, but I know how to take care of myself and I can even make my own home exercise program harder when it gets too easy.
I’ve learned, I’ve adapted, I’ve dealt with some of my crazy and here is how I am looking today.