Last week I started physical therapy and it went rather well. From what I remember, it is going a lot better for me this time around than what it has previously. I attribute it to the fact that my body is in better physical condition now because I am more limber from going to the gym. The therapist says, however, that my range of motion from side to side and from front to back is not very good, which I already knew.
My main issue is severe pain after standing in one spot at work and after sitting, lying or being in one position for any period of time. The therapist said that while I am doing some things at the gym that are good for my back, the trainers have been having me do some exercises that are not good for someone who has the kind of back problems (herniated discs, severe DDD, and arthritis in the spine) that I have. So for the past year while I thought I was doing exercises to strengthen my “core” (as they told me at the gym), apparently, according to the physical therapist, I am making my back problems worse. The trainers gave me specific exercises for my back and to help strengthen my back because that was one of my main complaints – I wanted to make my back stronger so I wouldn’t be in so much pain. I guess I’ve made it worse, unbeknownst to me.
How do you know when you are doing the right thing? A year has went by that I thought that I was doing the right thing to improve my body and my back, but I was wrong. Here is the problem with chronic pain…when you hurt all of the time, you can never be sure where it is coming from. The therapist asked me after he found out some of the exercises they had me doing (for example – planks), “Didn’t your back hurt worse? Didn’t you have more pain after doing some of these things?” My response: “Of course I did. But I always have pain after I do stuff, especially after I do something for the first time and when strength exercising, I assumed my muscles were just sore.” I’m always in pain so how would I know any different?
Walking is the one thing that makes the pain better and doing some light exercises in the water also helps. At work, my main issue is being at the register for 4 – 5 hours at a time in one spot – I am in total misery by the time my shift is over. I told the therapist I have a real problem with pain and fatigue and my back because I can’t do what I need to do in order to fight the pain in my back because of the fatigue. Staying active (walking) keeps my back and legs from hurting so bad, but because of the ME/CFS and the exhaustion, I can’t walk and exercise that much, so the pain and stiffness sets in – particularly now that the weather has gotten extremely cold here in PA.
Right now, the therapist is using bands to help strengthen my back (which I do those at the gym also) and he is having me do some exercises to get my pelvis untilted. I am also getting ultrasound treatment, which feels really nice. I go back again Thursday for my next session.