Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Physical Therapy

I have a bad back--the top and the bottom and especially the middle, it's just all bad. From sitting at desks--or worse--couches--and reading and writing for days at a time. I made it through Little Leopards' babyhood in constant fear of my back breaking entirely, with no idea what would become of him. But as Little Leopard gets bigger, that means nearly zero carrying, and what if we become crazy enough to have a second child at some point in the distant future? (Not that it's crazy for anyone to have a second child, but I do think it would be crazy for us to have a second child.)

These are the things that led me into an aging 60s glass box down the street, the room surrounded by a peeling chair rail emblazoned with the business name, a couple of padded boards and many foam rollers and exercise bands of various sizes and shapes and colors. I joined a group of octogenarians recovering from knee surgery and various and sundry others--many of whom were chatty as heck. One woman told whomever would listen stories of how she loved one house (it reminded her of Miracle on 34th Street) and ended up marrying the owner, only to discover upon entering the house a cane, just like in the movie. This particular octogenarian repeated her plan each day to buy a new air conditioner at her place down the shore, where she would be going just before Father's Day, which is the last day you can make improvements to your property. (Is it really possible that the city regulates something like that?) She was as tan as the Donald and had glitter on her shoulders.

You can see that going to physical therapy is something I really looked forward to.

As far as I can tell, all the pushing on my back was helpful. I can tell, because it made my back hurt a lot, and they had to electrocute me at the end to get rid of the pain. I didn't understand what all the pushing was about, and the girl was a very nice physical therapist, but not top-of-the-line at explaining what she was doing to a wondering mind. She mumbled something about spine mobilization. I'm not quite sure why that is important, but I guess it is. I guess slouching down over a book or laptop makes it immobile.

The rest of the visit was just me doing exercises, which I can do nearly as well at home. So I ended physical therapy as soon as I could and am stuck doing these uncomfortable exercises and stretches at home.

I tried a chiropractor for my back just before Little Leopard was born. I wanted a quick fix so it would just stop hurting. My doctor didn't want to give me a referral--he wanted me to see a physical therapist. But I had my mind made up and wrung one out of him.

Well, I didn't like the chiropractor at all--she was chatty, but never really listened to my responses. She wanted to see me 13 times! Not only do I not have time to see a doctor that many times, but $40 copays really add up. I do not believe in giving doctors that much money. (And why is it that we pay oh so much for health insurance and we still have to give doctors that much money?) Plus, after I left her office each day, I was in even more pain than before. I later learned that it has to get worse before it gets better. But she didn't even electrocute me! I was worried I would go into labor just after a chiropractor appointment and I just didn't think I could handle muscle pain and labor simultaneously. So I took Francisco with me so that he could learn some of the massage stuff, which he very reluctantly preformed, and then quit going. She threatened me, claiming that I would return to her with the feeling of a knife stabbing my shoulder, but that never happened and so I won.

For my issues, the physical therapist seems to have done just about everything that the chiropractor did, but also offered exercises, which is a heck of a lot more work, but also seems like a more sustainable solution. So my doctor was right, even though I also quit him, but that was for another problem entirely.

My back is a little stronger and I can hold the kid a little longer, although I just quit physical therapy, and it's already hurting me again.


Hannah said...

It's totally crazy to have a second child. We want 4. That's crazy. It's crazy to have one child. It's a mad world. :-)

I'm sorry about your back. I have mild back issues and it's annoying. I know that if I do more stretching and exercises, I could probably greatly improve how I feel...but who has time to squeeze ONE MORE THING into my day?? So tricky.

Emily Hale said...


Yes, I know--no time for extra stuff!!