Physical Therapy Gone Wicked

Today was my third visit to St. Luke’s Physical Therapy at Anderson Campus.

I love them. I love the impact of physical therapy.

I am probably the perfect candidate to be in physical therapy for the rest of my life.

Today, though, my physical therapist introduced some strength building exercises that I would classify as difficult and a little wicked, in the best way possible.

My homework is to keep stretching my back opposite the direction of my retrolisthesis, especially by doing yoga— cobra pose 50 times a day.

Something is definitely working, so we’ll credit PT.

But my session today started on a treadmill which is always a challenge for me. It requires concentration for me. I have to think about each step and try to walk evenly and correctly.

After an eight minute warm-up, we did some Cobra pose/press-ups, some lifts (the kind where my belly is on the table and I bend my knee at a 90 degree angle and lift my leg from the table using the hip area) and today he slapped on ankle weights, some bridges, some one legged bridges, and a bridge where I hold and lift each leg up (one at a time of course) while keeping my hips up, and some hip stretches moving my leg while standing on the cushion.

It was an intense 30 minutes. So I treated myself to a free holiday blend coffee at Dunkin.

Now, I had a chiropractor appointment with Nicole Jensen of Back in Line Chiropractic and Wellness Center next. But I had enough time to run home and use the bathroom.

And feeling spry I hopped to the curb, fell, scraped up my hands and a knee, and apparently flung my phone half way across the neighbor’s yard.

But I arrived at the chiropractor on time and learned that not only is Nicole liking my progress, but she also is on chapter three of my book, Manipulations.

All in all, a good start to the middle of my weekend.

The Physical Therapy Phone Calls

If you’re a regular in my portion of the universe, you probably know I’m struggling with some issues that might be described as middle-age or might be complications of a life with cerebral palsy.

I have been talking about this journey more in recent days but certainly rather frequently in the last six months or so.

Today, I finished talking to the last member of my medical team about my plan for my health and my future. That person was my psychologist. And it sounds like he approved of my plan.

So having spoken with everyone— checking their professional opinions against my fear of an emotional response to my disability— I sent an email to my physician outlining my questions and my plan.

I had an email back within the hour from my physician saying I could set up physical therapy and that I should come into the office for a follow up this Thursday.

My doctor’s office had no preference or guidance regarding where to go for physical therapy so I called the generic phone line. They assured me that I could go wherever I wanted.

I asked for a nearby hospital as that is where my blind friend Nan has physical therapy and I hoped maybe we could car pool. Don’t worry— I wouldn’t let Nan drive.

But when they transferred me the person that answered asked me why I needed physical therapy. I said that the x-ray showed retrolisthesis and arthritis my spine that could be a complication from my cerebral palsy.

As soon as she heard “cerebral palsy,” she transferred me to the neurological physical therapy office. But when they looked up my chart, it said “back pain.” And they don’t do that.

By the very very cheery person on the phone and I had a chat— and I asked her— are we treating my back or the cerebral palsy that probably causes the back issues. We both agreed it’s a good question.

She put me on hold twice to confer with the actual physical therapists and they decided to keep me.

I go see them Thursday morning.

Another step on the journey: a discussion of what is happening in my spine thanks to cerebral palsy

Learning about your own body, exploring treatment options and trying to survive while doing it is exhausting.

I shared my plan to advocate for myself with my life coach from Ginger. And we also discussed some of my fears of where this could go.

And today I asked Dr. Nicole Jensen of Back in Line Wellness Center her thoughts.

She was kind enough to get out her spine and explain things to me. And she said I moved beautifully today, which could be a sign that the short shifts I’ve had this week are taking stress off my body.

She had never seen retrolisthesis in a group like this — and reported that the pedicles appearing in tact was great news. But basically that slight shift in the discs from the retrolisthesis would put pressure on the nerves.

And that the disc space narrowing was arthritis.

So to continue my work with my trainer— and she is impressed by his attentiveness and ability to adjust workouts to medical needs, pursue physical therapy, and try an inversion table. It might stretch out those irregular curves of the lumbar spine. Core exercises will be super important, and I wonder if my commitment to my core throughout my adult life has contributed to this good report.

Dr. Jensen asked for business cards from Dan at Apex Training. Because based on what she’s heard from me she would recommend him to her clients.

I’m noting these discussions and plan to email my doctor Monday.