pahavit (pahavit) wrote,

Physical Therapy: Making Progress or Not?

Physical Therapy: Making Progress or Not?

In today's physical therapy appointment I started out with 5 minutes on the recumbent exercise bike. I had a choice of bikes, but we chose the recumbent bike because it would support my back during the exercise. I began at level 1 but tried bumping it up to 2 for a couple of minutes during the middle of the session. My wimpy little girly-girl quads started complaining, so I bumped it back down to level 1 to finish off. The countoured back of the recumbent exercise bike hurt my lower back, too. You'd think they'd have the bugs from that kind of detail worked out by now, wouldn't you? It didn't help that I woke up late today and with a stiff neck to boot.

Then the physical therapist reviewed my exercises with me, and tried to help me modify some of the ones that have been giving me trouble. There is a limit as to how much these exercises can be modified before they lose their effectiveness. But there is also a limit as to how much I can do these exercises as prescribed without undue pain and exhaustion. So we have a bit of a dilemma here. I don't know how to resolve this kind of conflict.

The session ended with the physical therapist manually mobilizing my spine, which usually feels good but today it hurt because of the pressure on my stiff neck. I just gritted my teeth and kept silent. I didn't want to sound like a complainer. Every session I've come in saying, "Well, this exercise gave me problems. That exercise hurt to do. I had trouble with these ones, waaah waaah waaah . . . " Even I get sick of hearing myself carp about this stuff. So I figured I'd just tough it out for the minute or two that it hurt, and then I could get on with my life (such as it is).

The tightness and stiffness in my upper back are very stubborn and frustrating and, with the rotator cuff pain in my right shoulder, remain a major stumbling block toward breaking loose from the plateau I seem to be stuck on in my progress. I do feel I've made some genuine headway in terms of better posture (which indicates increased strength, which is encouraging), but the tight muscles just will not let go. There is little more the physical therapist can recommend for me until I get stronger, so I'm supposed to continue with the current set of exercises as best I can for the foreseeable future. I was very relieved that she wasn't going to heap even more exercises upon me because I'm feeling overwhelmed as it is. I can hardly do even half of the exercises on any given day without provoking various combinations of frustration, exhaustion and pain. To me, that seems counterproductive to doing physical therapy in the first place.

One nice part was that the physical therapist validated my fibromyalgia and ME/CFS, saying that I knew my body best and it was up to my own judgment how much to do these exercises, and it was okay to stop them if they're hurting.

Oh, well, then, okay, I think I'll stop now!!

ETA: Ha ha, not so fast, kiddo . . .

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

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