Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Physical Therapy Graduation!

This might be super nerdy, but I'm excited for today! I haven't written about my back problems at all since I started the blog. In honor of finishing up physical therapy today, I thought I might share a little bit. Not everything because it is a long story.

In November of 2013 I hurt my back while moving furniture. At least I think that is how it happened. I still never completely figured that out. It took the doctors a few months to figure out what was going on. I was in a lot of pain and by the end of the day I could barely even stand up. After plenty of x-rays and finally an MRI, we figured out that it was a compression fracture. I had to wear this really annoying backpack looking brace for 8 weeks. It was so frustrating and I had to wear sweatshirts underneath it every day when everyone else at work was really dressed up.

Here is what a compression fracture looks like.

This is the brace I had to wear.

When I finished up with the brace, the doctors suggested that I try physical therapy. Being the stubborn person that I am, I figured I could strengthen my core without it. We started a new work out routine about a year ago. We did lots of cross fit and core work with our friend Rob. It was really hard and I felt so strong. I was working my butt off. I was also getting ready for the wedding so it was worth it. All spring and summer we worked out very regularly.

In October (2014) I started feeling the same back pain again. It started out slowly and then eventually I was in so much pain that I couldn't even do anything when I got home from work. I finally went to the doctor after it didn't get any better and went through the whole process again. I was convinced that I had another compression fracture.

It turns out, nothing else was broken, but I was just experiencing the lingering pain from the first break. The spine specialist said that I could really benefit from physical therapy. I really really wanted to avoid physical therapy. I thought I knew how to work out without hurting my back and it couldn't possibly be worth the insane cost. Boy was I wrong. After being in tons of pain and not being able to sleep because of the pain meds (that also made me feel absolutely crazy) I decided to give it a try.

Thankfully I have decent insurance, but I still had to meet my deductible before they started covering the physical therapy. At least it is the beginning of the year. I started the physical therapy in January and am finally finishing up this week, woohoo! My doctor recommended a pilates based pt. I thought, this will be so easy I'm used to doing cross fit all the time. I mean at first anything would have been hard since I couldn't work out for two months. I thought I could catch on pretty quickly though.

It was sooo hard. No, seriously, so hard. I had no idea. I had to start out so slow. I was embarrassed every time. I felt like a 90 year old woman. I could barely stand on one leg without falling over. My muscles had turned into nothing over those two months. I learned about all sorts of things that I was doing incorrectly. The hardest thing about pilates is that everything is very focused work. You have to remember to keep your shoulders down and your abs in and your knees soft. My brain would actually be exhausted after the first few sessions. There were so many things were truly hurting my back instead of helping me get stronger. After plenty of sessions, I can now get the hang of it a lot quicker. 

After today, I have to do my workouts at home without supervision. If I don't do them, I will lose all of the strength (and money!) that I have built up over the last six weeks. Eeek! Scary. I got some pilates videosand have figured out a few different workouts to do from home. I'm hoping I can keep up with it. Really, this is the only thing that has helped my pain over the past two years. I had plenty of pain killers and those didn't always do the trick. I feel like my posture has become much better since I started and my back is feeling way better too. I'm still not 100%, but I know I can be if I keep up the work. It made me realize that even taking two months off from working out can completely change your body. I had no strength when I started up again. If I want to avoid hurting my back in the future, I absolutely have to do this. This whole thing has been crazy and so frustrating. I'm hoping that I finally found a solution that is going to work long term. Wish me luck!! It's a big day! 

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on graduating from physical therapy- sounds like it has been a long road! Hope you start to feel back to 100% soon :)