pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Why Physical Therapy is Rewarding and Frustrating

Why Physical Therapy is Rewarding and Frustrating

I had another physical therapy appointment today. My physical therapist modified the exercises that were giving me the most trouble, so now I can do them without the distressing muscle tension and clenching that was unbearable after only 2 or 3 reps. I can tell they will still be troublesome, but I will probably be able to get a few more reps done than I would have without the modifications. So that's good.

My physical therapist also suggested changing the order of some of them, so that I was in better shape to tolerate the troublesome ones. So that's another good thing.

I can feel my posture is improving. Some people's sitting profile is shaped like the letter C. Mine is slowly turning into more of an L, which is how it should be. And this is my body moving into that shape on its own, not me forcing it into that position by tensing my muscles. This better posture alone will go a long way toward easing my back pain. Yet another good thing.

But (of course there's a "but" -- it's physical therapy!) just before I left, the physical therapist said that we'll work twice a week until I'm stronger and more stable, then go to once a week, then devise a plan I can work on at home on my own. I guess she didn't know that my pain doc prescribed only 12 sessions of physical therapy, the last 2 of which are scheduled for next week, then that's it. My pain doc did not say anything about changing to a weekly plan; it was only those 12 sessions. I'm not sure Medicare will cover everything the physical therapist wants to do. Come to think of it, I'm not even sure Medicare will cover the original plan of just 12 sessions in the first place.

Now, I'm not averse to doing exercises on my own at home, but I am averse to getting sucked into an open-ended weekly trudge of more and more exercises for who knows how long. I know the physical therapist just wants me to be strong and healthy, but I'm starting out from a place that's far behind her average patient who has a good baseline of being fairly strong and healthy already. I'm probably the only ME/CFS patient she's ever had, and all the standard parameters have to be thrown out the window for patients with these illnesses. We don't have the endurance or the stamina of a healthy person. Strengthening exercises will go only so far on us. We get stressed, either physically or emotionally, and we need enormous amounts of downtime afterward to get back on track. And besides, my pain management class wants me to be pacing myself anyway.

So this is frustrating. My secret plan is not to say anything to the physical therapist, just nod and smile, and wait to see what my pain doc says when I see her next Tuesday. I'm going to follow the "don't ask, don't tell" rule here. Maybe if I'm really quiet about it, I'll have my last physical therapy session Friday next week and that'll be the end of it. And I can then get on with my life. Such as it is.

Tags: disability/medical, fibromyalgia, me/cfs, physical therapy

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