Monday, November 05, 2007

Physical therapy "tricks"

I started physical therapy sessions for my lower back problem last week, and am about ready to quit already. For one thing, I haven't even seen my back doctor yet (because they didn't have an opening till November 8th and said if it is that bad to go to the emergency room. Doctors today seem to just want to slough you off to the ER for every little thing so no wonder it takes forever to be seen and treated in the ER if everyone is being referred there as if it is some kind of clinic for even non-emergency things.

I was in pretty much pain, and after going though this before, I want to prevent another big blow-up. So, I went to see my regular doctor who got me started on pain medicine and a muscle relaxer. That's a story I haven't written about yet...the "adverse effect" of Skelaxin that sent me back to the doctor the day after taking ONE pill in the morning. My heart was pounding and I was trembling as if I had had a shot of epinepherine for asthma that I used to get as a kid! My blood pressure went up and up for a few hours after taking that crap, and I thought I was going to have a heart attack. I called and they said to go to the ER. I said no...I am not going to get stuck in ER with a bad back on one of those damn gurneys. So the doctor said to get someone to bring me over to the office. Jon rushed home and took me over there, and the doctor did an EKG which showed "squiggly" lines between beats, and so he sent me over to the hospital for a cardiac enzyme test and another EKG and had a cardiologist look at me. The diagnosis..."adverse drug reaction" DUH! I asked if they could give me something to flush the crap out of me, and they said would have to "work itself out" and just don't take any more of it. I went home, and the doctor called to check on me later, and by them my blood pressure was down and only slightly elevated...the next morning I was back to 120/80. It was as high as 191/101 when I was at the doctor's office! careful of muscle relaxers, they don't always "relax" you.

Back to PT...I hate going there. I had to go back in 2004 when I had a ruptured disc, and had several weeks of it and finally I quit before completely finishing because they started having me do all sorts of circus tricks like sitting on balls like ones in the photo above, and standing on one foot and then climbing steps, leaning on walls, walking on speedy treadmills, and a variety of potential opportunities for me to injure myself worse, or in other ways!

The recent round of therapy is weird. The therapist said it appears I may have another bulging disc problem, but won't know till I go see the 'REAL back doctor on the 8th and have an MRI. For now, they started me on some exercises that are supposed to gently manipulate the disc back into position. It's a new method called the McKenzie method. The little "tricks" involved are questionable to me. A few actually do help, but some make matters worse. And some of the things they want me to do, I just refuse. Like SQUATTING and coming back up to a standing position again. I told them that I was NOT going to do that one...for one thing, squatting is bad for my feet...and my gouty toes and ankle...and secondly, I had knee surgery also in 2004 and squatting with that knee is not a good idea. I had told them of all these things BEFORE starting therapy, but that just shows how much these people who are in charge of caring for you really read or listen to what you tell them.

The last time I went to PT, I couldn't even walk that well, and she tells me to do ten minutes on a treadmill. I think that was because she was busy with another patient and she wanted to give me something to keep me busy while I waited. I told her I wasn't doing the treadmill. (This was also the day after the severe Skelaxin reaction) and so she put me in a chair with a heat pack for ten minutes. I was right, she just wanted to kill some time and make it look like she was keeping my scheduled therapy time.

She later had me go through my usual wall exercises, which do help a bit, BUT then she told me to get on a table and lay on my stomach. I know that laying on your stomach is NOT a good position for a lower back problem...and THEN she tells me to do half push-ups and I did one and thought I was going to blow a disc in my upper spine. She said that was just my muscles that weren't used to working so hard. I told her no...I know where the pain is coming spine. It happens sometimes if I lift something too heavy, or bend funny, or twist to look over my shoulder when driving. I told her I was not doing any more "on-my-stomach" tricks." I bet they hate me.

I am tempted to just cancel this week's circus trick sessions and wait to see what the back doc says on Thursday. I don't trust these people.


Poodles said...

You should try and find a PT who does back therapy in the water. My husband has a herniated disc and they used a "hot pool" to do his therapy and it was simple, easy on the joints and helped a lot.

Stardust said...

poodles, that's a good idea. I am going to check around about that today. My appt with my back doctor is tomorrow so I can also talk to him about that option.

by the way, I have been going through my comment threads looking for your email address and can't find it! grrrrr! If you still have mine can you email me so I can add you to my address book?


Poodles said...

Hi Stardust. My e-mail address is on the front page of my blog. I will send you an e-mail. The good thing about g-mail is it automatically adds all incoming address to your address book.

Stardust said...

Thanks poodles, when I clicked on your "contact me" link on your main page, a Yahoo box opened up and I use only use my Yahoo for work and business. Thanks for emailing me your addy. :-)