The Begining of the Story, or Physio

Balance Ball

Hi again! This blog is going to try to chronicle the extremely turbulent time that followed my diagnosis. By this time, I had tons of questions and, if I am completely honest, I didn’t really understand what exactly was wrong with me those first few months. I started physio mid-March and slowly and painfully I learned the physiological and kinesthetic reasons for my pain.

I am going to try to go back about thirteen months to the beginning of my first ‘recovery’, but first I thought I would give you a small look into the beginning of my actual recovery… That is, I am going to come to the present and tell you a bit about how I feel now, about seven weeks post-op… Today has been a bit rough. I decided to sweep two days ago and at the time I was fine. I had contracted my t.a.’s (more on those later!) and I was supporting my spine, but I guess that too much movement hurts anyways… So I have been more sore than I have in a while and my sleep has been mediocre at the best, and non-existent at the worst. I am back to taking pain medication every four hours, instead of every six hours which is what I had worked down to. But I guess that is not the end of the world. I am still doing well.

That was not the case mid-March ’10…

It was about this time that the nerve pain that had been concentrated in my back and bum travelled down to my calf. My physiotherapist gave me some good pain management positions, including z-lying and ‘sloppy push-ups’, but I couldn’t really find comfort in any of the positions. I was taking percocet and flexerol, thus I was fuzzy-headed all the time, but still in so much pain that I couldn’t (and still can’t) sleep for more than about an hour a half ,or at best two or three hours, at a time. I pretty much dozed through weeks… Months even! I went to physio three times weekly and… well, didn’t really do anything else.

After about five weeks of pain control without much success, I went into the gym at physio and worked with a kiniesiologist to create a strength and flexibility training plan. I was so excited to start doing something, even if it was small exercises that target muscles I didn’t even know I had! He started by educating me about the important muscle groups needed to support your spine. He taught me what the transverse abdominal and multifidus muscle groups are and how to engage and strengthen them. (I am not going to go over it here, as it would probably bore my general reader to tears, but if you are interested in how to work these muscle groups I would be happy to explain.) Amazingly, within about three weeks I could feel the extra protection in my back and stomach, and my nerve pain had receded to hover just over my bum!

When your nerve pain ‘centralizes’ in your back area you are ready to work the bigger muscles, as long as you can maintain control of your t.a.’s. Working your bigger muscle groups involve doing about forty-five minutes of cardio on the bike or stairmaster and working with a balance ball. I am in fairly good shape, so in the beginning the ball work wasn’t all that challenging. My Kin was on the ball though (bad joke, I know!) amd noticed that I wasn’t being challenged so he gave me weights and resistance bands to increase the intensity of the safe and stable basic exercises I could do. I was feeling great for about a month! I doubled my core strength and I went back to work on a graduated schedule, working up to going in for three four-hour shifts a week.

And then I stopped taking the pain meds…

I suppose this post has gone on long enough. I will post again soon to finish the story about getting from physio to the surgeon, starting with the horrible night of withdrawal and consequent flare-up that never ended. I will move more quickly through the story, as I really want to get onto the improvements I have made in the present and the ones I want to make in the future. I promised this blog would be more on the inspiring side, and so far I have mostly touched on depressing events, but I feel that I need to explain the months leading up to this surgery in order for my readers to understand the context of my subsequent post-op feelings.

As always, thanks for reading!                                            – S.

Click Here for the Rest of Chapter 2


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