Archive for August, 2012
Today was my third physical therapy appointment, my last visit was last Thursday. With each visit has come improvement and I am really happy. It may be slow and I have days where I am still uncomfortable, but I am definitely making progress.
I spent the weekend not doing much, a lot of laying around the house in hopes of getting better sooner. I’ve been doing my exercises everyday, getting in the 5-6 sets I need to. Except today, because I was crazy busy.
On Monday night, I was REALLY uncomfortable. I explained this to Dan, my physical therapist, today. The pain was mostly in my calf that day, and into my foot. When the pain is that far down it is obnoxious. That is the best word to describe it,. I could not get comfortable or sit still. Not matter how I moved, or sat, or lay down, it wasn’t right.
Yesterday, it was so much better, not as much discomfort. Very little pain. What I noticed most was my little baby toe tingling, very aware of it. Today more of the same. And I am very aware of my lower back. When I explained all this to Dan, he was happy. On my first visit, he had told me that as I do these exercises, the goal is to get the pain and discomfort to work it’s way back up.
I asked him why I each day seems to be different and he said that it could be not sitting or laying properly. Over time, as I continue to do my exercises and sit / stand / lay properly, that will change. We are not only dealing with the problem now, but I am learning how to head it off in the future.
When I arrived today and sat in the waiting area, Dan came over and said the way I was sitting was perfect. A+ for me! During my therapy he told me that all joking aside, he was being very honest. How I sit / stand / lay are key to my recovery and it means *life* for my back. I like that.
I go back again tomorrow to step it up some. It is a good feeling to leave each appointment with the hope that this will clear up and will get better. I will not give up.
On Tuesdays, I like to do a Blog Love post and share a blog that I am currently loving. This week, I thought I’d share something a little different… I honestly don’t remember how I stumbled upon this group, but I am so glad I did. Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers is a group of bloggers in the Tampa Bay area.
There is a meet-up once a month, usually hosted by one of the bloggers. We just get together to talk and have a nice time. It’s nice to put faces with names!
The first meet-up I went to was about 3 months ago. To say that I was nervous was an understatement. Even though I had talked to several of the ladies on Facebook, Twitter, and through our blogs, I was still nervous. That meet-up was at Hooker Tea Co. in St. Pete and I am so glad I went. You can read about it here.
I missed the next couple meet-ups and the book club meeting, but I made it out to this month’s meet-up, thanks to my wonderful hubby for driving me since at the time I never would have been able to make the drive to Plant City and back. I wasn’t nervous about that meeting since I had already met several of the wonderful ladies and it was fun to meet a few members I had not yet met. You can read about that meet-up here.
Next month, I will be attending the Central Florida Blogger Conference in Orlando. I have never been to anything like it and I am really looking forward to it, not only to learn more about the wonderful world of blogging that I have really grown to love, but also to see some of the group. I know there are several of us going.
If you are a blogger in the Tampa Bay area and are interested in joining the group, please visit the Facebook page for all things group related. You can find the group here.
Here are some of the wonderful blogs I have found through the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers:
Do you belong to a blogging group? What kind of activities do you do?
I haven’t been spending time in the kitchen (thank you stupid sciatica). Yesterday was the first day I made a real dinner and today I planned to catch up on some cooking. I made breakfast this morning (eggs, hash browns, and toast) and then started dinner in the slow cooker. Tonight’s dinner is pulled pork. I’ve made this recipe here on the blog, but this time I am using a different cut of meat. I bought a 3 lb. Boston Butt roast (boneless) at the advice of the nice butcher-man at Publix. He said that is his favorite cut for pulled pork. ‘Nuff said!
Since I have been a bad blogger and haven’t blogged since Tuesday, I guess I should catch you all up. Mostly I’ve been dealing with my sciatica. I’ve been working, which is good because it keeps me moving. I struggle with wanting to move and being still (sitting or laying down). Whatever I’m doing, I want to do the opposite. I am not sleeping very well at night because it’s HARD to sleep on my back. I can sleep on my side if I don’t curl up, but that’s even harder.
Thursday afternoon was my second physical therapy appointment and the therapist, Dan, was pleased with my progress since Tuesday. I was determined to get in all my stretches, and I did. When he asked how I was doing, I told him that my pain was mostly in my calf now and the tingling in my leg and foot wasn’t noticeable unless I was actually touching my leg or foot. He feels that based on this, with persistence and continuing to do my stretching, I can recover from this. The crappy part is that it could take up to 14 weeks to regain the strength in my calf. The walking-on-my-toes test still freaks me out, that has not changed. My left foot gives out and falls to the ground. I cannot tell you how weird of a feeling that is. My next physical therapy appointment is Wednesday.
I am trying really hard to not be depressed about this. It makes me so mad that I have to deal with this and that it’s highly likely I won’t be able to do the first of my fall races I had planned, the Hooters 2 Hooters 10K. I am not yet ready to give up on the Women’s Half Marathon in November, but I am missing out training. Two weeks into my training and obviously I haven’t been able to.
Yesterday I lounged around most of the day, alternating positions on the couch, and doing my stretches. Finally in the afternoon, hubby and I ran out for a bit. He treated me to a couple of my favorite candles and then we went grocery shopping. Our refrigerator was pretty bare after not shopping last weekend and we needed to stock up for the possibility of Hurricane Isaac.
I also had to share this… One of my tweets is In the new issue of Self Magazine. That was pretty exciting to see…..
Here’s hoping that Hurricane Isaac doesn’t wreak too much havoc on anyone… It seems like it keeps moving west, but that can change at any time. If you’re in the cone, stay safe!
Have you ever had one of your tweets show up in a magazine?
This morning was my first appointment for physical therapy. As with all things I’ve never done before, I was nervous going into it. Would I like the center? Would I like the therapist? Would it hurt? Would it be a waste of time? All these things went through my head while I waited for my appointment. As is classic me, I was early, so it seemed to make the wait that much longer. But, watching the therapist (his name is Dan) with the patient there before me actually put me at ease. He was very friendly, explained things in detail, and encouraged questions. That made me happy because I always have endless questions.
When it was my turn, he watched me walk from the waiting area and started off my appointment with many questions. When did this first happen, what was I doing when it happened, what have I done, where is my pain, and so on. He would have me move in different positions and ask if that was better or worse. One particular movement was not comfortable and when I mentioned that is was uncomfortable and could I stop it, he told me not to be so polite, speak up and let him know. He doesn’t want me to do anything that is uncomfortable.
After we got through all the questions and answers, he told me I am classic textbook for sciatica, but that I have a pretty good (re: bad) case of it. Based on my detailed discussion of previous back issues I’ve had (over the years, I’ve thrown out my back a few times and have to be very careful with my lower back), he feels that this bout of sciatica was not brought on by whatever I may have done 3 weeks ago, which was likely bootcamp exercises that were out of the norm for me, but it is likely this has been coming on for years.
First of all, I am a sloucher. I hunch over my desk or laptop. I also sleep wrong. I sleep on my side (either one) in a fetal position. I pull my knees all the way up to my chest and it’s very comfortable. But comfortable or not, it’s not good for me.
Long story short, when I slouch or sleep all curled up, the forward bending that these movements and positions create is causing the nerve to be pinched from the disc being pushed back. It’s what my body knows and is used to, but creates a weakness. Three weeks ago when I first had this sciatica pop up, it’s likely that one movement finally sent that disc right smack into my sciatic nerve. Which brings to where I am now, in pain and with tingling, numbness, and weakness in my left leg.
So, I have a new best friend and it goes by the name of lumbar support. I have to sit straight and use this support as a reminder to have that nice round curve in my back. Nice curve = no hunching or slouching forward.
I also have to do an exercise similar to cobra pose in yoga (which, by the way, scored me bonus points for knowing this). It’s not quite cobra as I don’t go back as far, but it’s similar. This motion will extend my spine the other way, eventually working that disc off my sciatic nerve. I have to do this 5-6 times a day, 15 reps.
As for sleeping, no more fetal position. This one will be the hardest for me because when I sleep, I have no control over how I’m laying. I have to train myself to sleep on my back or stomach. If I do sleep on my side, I have to keep my legs straight. I already told hubby if he see me sleeping all curled up, he has to wake me up. He will be the sleep police.
I don’t really have any limitations. Dan even told me that I can walk on the treadmill at an easy pace, but NO incline. I have to keep it flat for now.
I left there this morning feeling better about this and that there is some hope for this. I go back on Thursday afternoon to do it all again and see if we need to change things up at all. I’ve done 4 sets of my exercises already today, so I’m on track to get them all in. It’s up to me to make this work. I hope it does, because I do not want to have shots in my back if it doesn’t work.
What has your experience been with physical therapy? Did you have success?
How is that for the title of a post? It’s very fitting, if you ask me. Today I had my follow-up appointment at the orthopedist, this time seeing a different doctor. I answered questions, they took X-rays, and he used the funny hammer thing on me. Interesting fact, when you have sciatica and your leg is numb down to your foot, it will not respond to the funny hammer thing when the doctor taps the back of your ankle with it.
After all this, and looking at my X-rays, doc said that I have some weakness in my calf based on my responses. Oh yay. He had me walk on my toes. I couldn’t even do it on my left foot, it just collapsed under me. I can’t tell you how freaky of a feeling that is. So, the plan now is that tomorrow I start physical therapy which will be 3 times a week for 2 weeks. After that, I go back to the doctor and if no changes or if it’s worse, I will need to have an MRI.
As for the X-rays they took today, they did not show anything, except for a little bit of arthritis in my lower back. Since I’m assuming they take X-rays for obvious reasons for my pain, I guess it’s kind of comforting to know there wasn’t anything weird or bad that they could see.
I am trying to not consult Dr. Google for this because any horror stories for this same thing will freak me out. It already freaks me out a bit that after just a week, there is already weakening in the muscle of my leg AND if this isn’t getting any better in a couple weeks and we do an MRI, steroid injections directly in my back may be needed. I asked if my staying off the leg as much as possible has had anything to do with the weakening of my calf, should I have been walking on it regardless? He said no, that it’s the pinched nerve. My staying off it has not had any effect on it.
I will say that going to the doctor this morning was totally different than last week when the pain first started. I could hardly walk in there last time. And most of last week, I was super fidgety, unable to get comfortable in any position whether I was laying down or sitting up. And the worst was in the car. My mom even says I don’t seem nearly as uncomfortable or fidgety and that I am walking better. If anything, it’s more of an achy feeling now than the PAIN I had last week. Well, that and the tingly numb feeling.
I am irritated about this whole thing and trying really hard not to get depressed about it. Sure as I’m sitting here, I know that the 10K I want to do next month is out of the question since it’s less than a month away. $&%!#@%
But enough boo-hooing about my back…. I thought it would be fun to show off the cool X-rays of my back. I think my spine looks pretty darn cool…
Have you ever had physical therapy for sciatica? How did you do?