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Bent Like A Pretzel

Posted Jun 07 2010 10:58pm
PT Evaluation Day

Had my physical therapy evaluation today.  I had two therapists do the eval, one a student and one an experienced therapist.  I certainly hope I didn't scare the student away!  Physical occupational and speech therapists are generally quite jolly people, so we are sympatico in our approach to life.  Or maybe they are just closet sadists that really are jolly about hurting people, but I don't think so.  They are generally upbeat all the time, whether they are increasing your range of motion or talking about the weather.

I had some pain during the eval, a few times I actually shed a few tears [thank heavens I was face down at the time] but I am in general stupidly stoic.  Must be my stubborn German ancestry coming out.  The experienced therapist told me she thought I had a great deal of pain tolerance (nice of her to notice since she was trying to see where it ended) but my toes gave me away - good poker face, but apparently my toes were curling when the pain started getting bad.  Drat those toes!  They are almost always in shoes where no one can see them.

I still have no reflexes from the knees down.  My right leg is weaker than my left leg - which is no surprise.  My left leg is a quarter inch longer than my right leg, which was a surprise - but apparently there is an exercise that can help with that.  Some moves made my feet more tingly, and a couple of positions they pretzelled me into were quite painful not only on my sciatic nerves and hamstrings, but my pudendal nerve area also.  They mentioned a femoral nerve problem, but am not sure if the test was positive or negative for that.

I came out of the session with a couple of exercises to do, one to "glide" my sciatic nerve through the muscle structure of my legs and hips, and another to help correct my leg length difference.  Neither are hard, but I feel very weak in my lower legs, so it will be a challenge.  I was so afraid there would be nothing they could do so am glad I have something to work on.

The Headache is behaving itself, The Belly is grumbling and trying to put out feelers of pain (it got a little scrunched today), and The Legs are having a fit.  I started getting extreme spasms of pain starting at 45 minutes to midnight, and am still having them although they are dying down a bit.  The pelvic pain started at the same time, so hoping tomorrow I will be able to drive.  I have a two hour drive to a client, several hours of training and walking to do when I get there, and a two hour drive home.  I don't have anything for the pain except the Soma, and 1) the physiatrist took me off that medication and 2) I have to drive tomorrow so I don't want to take any risks for alertness.  I am just buckling down, gritting my teeth, and riding it out.  I certainly hope it quits soon, as the pain has started radiating down my legs in addition to the spasms.  Sigh...BIG sigh...

I have another physical therapy session Wednesday so I will be giving them some feedback about the pain.  This is what happened to me several years ago when I tried PT before.  I experience some pain during the sessions, but later is when it gets extreme.  The therapists suggested I get with a pelvic floor therapy specialist for the pudendal nerve pain, but my fear is that agressive treatment of that will end up with me laid up for a week or two unable to walk and I simply have no time for that right now.

The area of the radiation field from years ago is very sensitive to touch and perceives even light touch as pain so I am supposed to try to desensitize my skin and retrain it as to what is normal sensation.  Didn't know you had to train your skin!  The therapists said that I need to have deep tissue massage and myofacial release done but I won't be able to tolerate it until I am able to get this overreaction under control.  They want to do a case study of me because they don't see many people with my type of problem - not related to a spine issue or an accident.  Glad to be an object of interest I guess!

Gonna try to go to bed, hot needles are being poked in the bottom of my feet and up my shins now.  Starting to jiggle the legs in the dance of pain.  Hoping that this will be the end of the pain for a few hours.  The therapists acted surprised I was still working.   I told them I just want to improve my ability to work - pain I can handle but loss of function I can't. 

I was so excited about getting the PT done because I want so much to do better at being able to stand and walk for work.  We are such a small company I feel like I'm not being a good team member because I can't carry my share of the "go-live" support like I used to.  Travel is becoming such an issue - carrying luggage is a problem, stairs are problems, driving is a problem, standing in line at airports is a problem.  I just want to do my job and it is frustrating to keep hitting limits I have no control over. Looking forward to a better day tomorrow!   Will try to stretch the pain out tonight - using the cat in this video as a model of relaxation!!!

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