Wednesday, June 12, 2019

WWW - In Which I Go To Physical Therapy

I finally started physical therapy last week - Thursday, to be exact.  The reason why it took a while to get started was the therapist that I chose:  she is the owner of the practice and is the only physical therapist that patients see; as you might imagine, that appeals to a lot of people so she books up fast.  With an injury as complex as a herniated disc, I didn't want to be just another cog in the machine at a large physical therapy clinic, seeing whoever was open at my appointment time - I wanted a therapist who I could trust implicitly, and that is Amanda Lightsey.

I first met her about 15 years ago when I worked as a service associate at the physical therapy clinic of the local healthcare center - she was fairly new in her field but I saw how invested she was with each patient and I could tell she did good work.  Then several years ago while I was running one of our regular Saturday routes I passed a storefront with her name on it - she'd started her own practice!  I was really pleased to see that and tucked the info away in case I ever needed to go to physical therapy.  Boy howdy did that come true.  After the first session I knew I was right to wait to get into her practice - I left with a lot of hope for a full recovery from the herniated disc without having surgery.  Here's a picture of us after the second session:
Amanda and I - don't you love our matching pink sneakers?  If I hadn't known her for so long I would call her Dr. Lightsey, but she's still Amanda to me.

My first visit consisted of an evaluation, both physical, with Amanda taking measurements of how far I could move my legs in different ways, and practical, with questions on limitations that I was experiencing, etc.  Also there were tears when she asked how my injury had affected my social life.  Luckily she had Kleenex nearby.  She said it was quite normal for patients who had been active to go into a depression when everything is taken away, and through my tears I felt better knowing that this was a normal reaction to having your life turn to crap.

After the evaluation it was time to get down to business.  She showed me three different exercises to do, isolating certain areas as I did them.  One was to do a bridge using only your glutes to rise up, with no involvement of the abs.  Isolating just the one muscle group was hard, physically and mentally.  I have never had to use my brain so much to work out, but to quote Ralph Wiggum, I'm learning!

I did a couple other exercises including the log roll and the triangle tilt.  Even with the handouts she gave me, I was a little confused once I tried them at home, so I did my best but I was glad my second appointment was just a few days away.  Turns out I was nearly correct with the log roll, but the I needed a new tutorial with the triangle tilt.  I appreciated that Amanda had a different way to approach that one, and once she had me practice that way, I felt more confident with it.  I had her take some pictures of me doing it the right way so when I lost my bearings at home with it, I had a point of reference:
Everything begins with the glutes.

At my second visit not only did we take pictures, but she demonstrated two of the new exercises while I videoed them and that was super helpful later on at home - I'd watch the video to review, then do the exercise with more confidence.  The new exercises were Chaplins, sit and tilt (I've named that one, it had a four word name that was cumbersome and hard to say so sit and tilt it is, LOL), and the table top.  I was sweaty and my left leg was shaking like Jello when I finished that session.  I also felt so good!  I haven't been able to really move like that in a long time and I daresay I had the tiniest bit of endorphins kick in.

I'm to do my exercises 2 - 3 times a day, stopping each one when I'm fatigued.  At that point the form is lost and it's time to give my body a rest.  My left leg knee was pretty sore yesterday, in an area that is different from my normal nerve pain, so that's interesting and if it keeps up I'll email her to see if I should change things up, plus  all the muscles were sore in both legs.  I really got a work out!

After Monday's session I went directly to Starbucks and got an iced coffee:
Vanilla sweet cream cold brew - a nice treat after my intense PT session!  

I was surprised to receive a Starbucks gift card in my email shortly after Monday's post went live, with a nice note of encouragement from one of my readers, Karen R.  It made my day that someone who I've never met did something so nice for me.  Thanks again, Karen!

21 comments:

  1. So glad to hear that PT went well! This had to feel good. And yes, as my coach says, the glutes are everything!

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    1. Glutes - who knew??? Seriously, I always thought core was king.

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  2. It sounds like you definitely are with the right therapist! Amanda sounds great!!!

    As you were started talking about the exercises my first thought was, Shelley had to be soo excited to actually ‘work out’. Because yeah, that’s what I’m calling it!!! :-). Go you!!!!

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    1. Well I put on a sports bra for my PT session so hell's yes - it's a workout if you're wearing one of those contraptions, LOL.

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  3. I'm glad the PT is helping. Also thrilled that there is light at the end of this tunnel and your therapist gave you hope for a complete recovery w/o surgery.

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  4. Nothing like some good old lactic acid to make you feel like a new person, am I right? LOL. I'm really happy you waited for Amanda as she sounds like a perfect fit for you!

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    1. Lactic acid, yeppers - how could I have forgotten! I got a good reminder, HA. And yes, Amanda is a perfect fit. :)

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  5. Wow, that is super. When I go to PT, the PT evaluates me and does the exercises the first day. but then his helpers usually just send me through the exercises from then on. I'd rather have the PT working with me the whole time! Anyway, it all sounds very hopeful!

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    1. Your PT experience is the same as mine when I hurt my hamstring. It's OK, but I wanted the same therapist and for her to either be showing me or watching and correcting me with the exercises. None of this on your own business.

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  6. So glad you have a good PT. It makes all the difference. I love mine and so glad I didn't have to switch every time I went in. We really got to know each other... 3 times a week for two years!

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    1. Wow, three times a week for two years, that is some relationship you two developed! I hope things are better now.

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  7. Yay!! So excited for you Shelley! I had no idea that glutes were that important - I've always heard that everything comes from the core. Good to know!! :)

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    1. GLUTES ARE EVERYTHING! I was a core devotee as well, but yeah, now we both know!

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  8. What a hopeful WWW - PT edition! I'm excited for you to be able to do something at last. How fortunate to already have Amanda as your ace in the hole. Good luck!

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    1. OK I'm going to blame the drugs on this one, but first, I love the new title for these posts. Second, WWW? Good night Irene, I got the title, that I've been using for what, at least 10 years, wrong? Sheesh. I'm going to leave it this way to remember my brain fog, LOL.

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    2. Pain management brain fog is a thing - use as needed!

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  9. That is wonderful that your PT is going so well. Kudos to having a great therapist and how nice of your virtual friend to send you a Starbucks!

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  10. Am I the only one distracted by how awesome that converted closet is, with the weights arranged so nicely on the wall, and everything in order? I love it! That was so sweet for someone to send you that Starbucks gift card. You seem much happier now that you are doing these exercises, and I hope they really help you heal up.

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    1. The entire area is like that - Amanda is super organized. :)

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