July 15th, 2009

Why I Still Hate Physical Therapy But Just Not Quite As Much

Why I Still Hate Physical Therapy But Just Not Quite As Much

I had another physical therapy appointment yesterday, to work on my bad back and bad shoulder. I figured out how to get my physical therapist's attention when something hurts and she ignores me saying "ouch" -- I say, "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch-ouch-ouch-OUCH!" and I look her in the eye. That seems to get her attention, and she (rather reluctantly) releases my arm -- only to pick it up again and use it to manipulate my shoulder in yet another manner, making me say "Ouch! Ouch! Ouch-ouch-ouch-OUCH!" all over again, etc., etc. I'm hoping she soon will grow tired of this and leave my bad shoulder alone.

She said the pain I had doing the new exercises from last time is normal, and I should do them as well as I can without causing pain. She gave me some pointers on how to do them a little better, which may help pain-wise, but I think I'm out of luck when it comes to the frustration part. I don't see how an exercise that makes my upper back clench so hard is going to do me any good. The more those muscles clench, the stiffer they get and the harder the exercises become. That's a big disincentive for me to keep on trying. I don't like putting effort into something that's going to get progressively harder like that.

Then I got some new exercises for my shoulder, using a theraband. These were good to do -- I didn't feel any pain, and they were just hard enough for me to have to put some effort into them without getting frustrated, so that's good. See? I really don't mind a little effort and hard work! It's pain and stiffness that get worse and worse that I mind.

To be fair, when something doesn't hurt I tell the physical therpist that also, so she doesn't think I'm just a whiney complainer who is never satisfied with anything and wants to wiggle out of having to do physical therapy (even though I actually am). But fair is fair, so I've been honest about the exercises that don't hurt when I do them, just like I've been honest about the ones that do hurt. Hopefully she will understand that I really mean it when I say "Ouch."

All in all, I think I will probably benefit some in the long run from going to these sessions, but nevertheless I'm counting the days till my final appointment (July 31).