May 23, 2011 § Leave a Comment
….but not anymore – Polly has relocated to the Land of No Sharp Shooting Pains! (And heads up, readership; this is a long post…)
As you might recall, Polly was struggling with intense nerve-like pain shooting down her right thigh. She went to Physical Therapy for a consultation and (given the fun and inspiring – erm, not so much) time there; Polly made an appointment to see a local chiropractor.
Following the chiropractic appointment, I have been living in Disbelief-Land because those rather unpleasant and dance-limiting thigh pains have gone.
Truthfully, I just couldn’t believe it so this is also the explanation (or excuse) for the delay in posting an update; I wanted to be sure that the pain was really gone. Apparently, it wasn’t just my conscious brain that had trouble believing I was pain-free after JUST ONE VISIT; clearly, my body was expecting the worst too. You see, every time I set out to walk someplace or get out of the car (which, oddly, was THE most painful enterprise in the before times) or even just stand up from sitting; my body hesitated – expecting/anticipating the previous pain. But there is no pain!
That’s right; it’s been five days and I can get out of the car without fear! In addition, I have danced three times since and it is simply marvelous to do without the associated ‘don’t bounce on your right leg, Polly, you will regret it’ mindset! Weirdly, it is so much more fun to dance when it doesn’t hurt….
Obviously, only one question remains – where did the pain go?
Here is the scoop:
The appointment was last Wednesday evening. I admit, that because of my Physical Therapy experience; I went to the appointment with a sense of cautious optimism (unlike the PT appointment which I was rather excited about for the reasons I described in that post).
Now, this isn’t my first chiropractic experience. Some ten years back, and a few months following my surfing injury (after I had got back to my daily walks and general back-pain-free-ness); I started experiencing odd nerve-like shooting pains down my right leg. Sound familiar? Well, back in those days, the wonderful Chiropractic Doctor, over the period of a few weeks, managed to get me back on track. Those appointments consisted of some hands-on ‘adjustments’ (a.k.a. lots of strange positions and corrective ‘clicking’ of joints and stuff).
I remember well that first appointment which went something like this:
Chiropractic super Doctor Woman: Polly, as a first step, please could you stand up straight and face the wall.
Chiropractic super Doctor Woman: Polly, as a first step, please could you stand up straight and face the wall.
Polly: erm – didn’t we just do this?
Chiropractic super Doctor Woman: yes. but I wanted to double-check. You see, though your head and torso are facing the wall (like I asked); your hips and pelvis are actually pointing toward the corner, over there to the right.
Polly: wow. gosh. that doesn’t sound so good.
It was OK though. Essentially, and possibly due to the back injury causing my body to over-compensate for the pain, the muscles in the right-side of my lower back were ridiculously tight and had literally pulled my hips/pelvis over to the right.
So some significant physical woman-handling, clicking and massage later; I was right as rain.
In no small measure; my experience last Wednesday was along the exact same lines but with some important differences:
- in addition to being a chiropractor; my doctor is also a kinesiologist
- rather than just hands-on physical manipulation; I experienced a lot of specially-designed table popping/joint-manipulation
- there was some AMAZING massage-with-a-special-machine thing (including lower back, leg muscles, upper back muscles, etc..)
- cold lasers and muscle testing was involved
- she asked about whether I had been tested for gluten or dairy intolerance (erm, not really, Polly replied but I haven’t ingested cow’s milk with my cereal since the early eighties because it made my tummy hurt)
- I was in California and not the dizzying heights of Northern England
I was in this consultation for almost 2 hours total and felt completely taken care of. When I arrived, my hips weren’t exactly facing the wrong direction but my right leg and right shoulder were higher than the left (i.e. it looked like I had one leg shorter than the other and was permanently shrugging with only my right shoulder). Odd. Yes.
Cut to two hours later and there I was, heading toward that Land of Disbelief. I tried sitting down and then getting up: no shooting pain. I tried lifting my right thigh (which I COULD NOT do before): and no pain. I looked at my husband with a ‘what the..?’ and later on, as I got out of the car I looked back at him with gleeful wonder – could this be true? Could I be OK now? Well, I wasn’t willing to ‘go there’ until I had given it a day or two (or five). Which I have done and all is well.
I will be returning to the physician in question but that will be a story for another day (read: hip and knee clicking; hormones; diet; etc…).
For now – I am so genuinely happy to say that I am pain-free and dance-happy. It is also important to know that I am taking steps to prevent a recurrence including: 1) undertaking a continued regime of daily stretches; and 2) a conscious awareness of my walking style (correct posture); my standing (equal weight distribution); and my not-carrying-a-heavy-bag-on-the-same-shoulder-all-the-time status.
May 17, 2011 § 1 Comment
This post is about Polly and her first Physical Therapy Experience; a.k.a. Part Two of: Is it snapping or clicking or what? (Part One)
This is how the appointment ‘went down’ (abbreviated and dramatically rendered so my readers can quickly absorb the highlights):
Polly: Hello, Ms. Physical Therapy. Gosh, I am so excited to be here! I have been dealing with this hip thing for eons and to be able to get treatment covered (mostly) by my insurance is a real winner.
The Physical Therapist (we shall call her) ‘Feb‘: Welcome! Now, why don’t you give me a quick explanation of the issues and history surrounding your pain….
….(at least 10 minutes of Polly blathering on later…)…
PT Feb: High-Impact Cardio, eh? (referring to my dance cardio details). Well. The amount of times that a new fitness trend, like Zuumba, results in my client-base increasing because women go straight for some high-impact exercise having been sedentary, is remarkable.
Polly: but, but, that ain’t my situation. ONE: I have been doing consistent and daily(ish) exercise for almost ten years and this so-called ‘high-impact dance cardio’ for at least six months; and TWO: who said anything about Zuumba?**
PT Feb: (seemingly slightly put out): Well. In my opinion, and that of my fellow physical therapists, it is a known fact that NO ONE OVER THE AGE OF TWENTY-FIVE should be doing any ‘high-impact’ exercise. Polly, it’s time to find a new exercise.***
Polly: (trying to quickly ascertain if her shocked, visceral, disbelieving, thought-stream had more to do with her just being told the EXACT OPPOSITE of what she wanted to hear or if this woman was a little nutty) – I find that hard to believe. What exactly would you classify as high-impact?
PT Feb: dance cardio, jumping, running, bouncing, jump-roping….
…..cut to 15 minutes later and Polly is lying on her back being asked to mangle her body into a variety of shapes to test her ‘range of motion.’
PT Feb: Now these stretching poses are designed for me to see your range of motion and could be used as excellent daily stretching exercises to increase your flexibility in the hip area.
(Polly’s motivation for her next response was: 1) to be in agreement with PT Feb; 2) to underscore for PT Feb how Polly-the-PT-patient is clearly invested in her own treatment; and 3) that PT Feb need not doubt Polly’s enthusiasm. Alas, it ‘went down’ slightly differently)
Polly: That’s great. My doctor showed me ones similar to these and I have already been feeling the benefits from my daily adherence to said stretching routine and….
PT Feb: whatever.
Polly falls silent.****
PT Feb: Also, it looks like you have a protruding right shoulder-blade. That looks odd.
Polly: thanks, that makes me feel great about myself. (I thought that; didn’t say it)
PT Feb: also, was that your knee clicking? Here let me show you (brings out mini-knee toy thing); most people’s knee-joint looks like this and yours looks like this (pushes the knee cap to one side). More of a long-term issue; I can show you some exercises for that. (Polly reads: you are in for a later-life of severe pain and immobility unless you listen to my advice).
Polly: thanks. Add that to the list, I guess.
…sometime later and we are wrapping up the appointment…
PT Feb: right, now it says that your doctor thinks it is your hip and though I can definitely hear the click too, I just don’t know. It might be your back. Or one of your muscles. I say come back SIX OR SEVEN times IN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS and we can TRY OUT some exercises to see which ones could help. Have a great day – oh, since we took too much time. The office closed. You will have to call back tomorrow to make the other appointments.
Polly: OK. Wow. That was all rather intense. I’ll call tomorrow, I guess. Thank you. Bye.
I had gone in feeling so much excitement and energy; I came out questioning why I felt so poopy. I had spent a lot of conscious-brainwork in there trying to determine if my weird reaction to this human was due to them saying something I really didn’t want to hear (Polly has to find an alternative and non “high-impact” exercise thing) or if she really was an oddy. An expert in her world, perhaps and not without some useful advice. But context, Polly. Context is Queen (or King).
I digested this encounter for a day. I talked to my peeps. I tried not to over-emphasize the negative and give ‘props’ to the PT for her years of schooling and experiences. However, it felt wrong. The whole thing. I am not stupid. I know myself pretty well. I know my body pretty well (we are in a relationship and I am learning to get to know it more). I needed another opinion. I made another appointment. I am off to the chiropractor who works in the same office as my SUPER acupuncturist.
It’s tomorrow afternoon. I am hopeful that it will form the basis of the next promised post (promised in Part One) where we find ‘Polly returning to optimism’ – the Part Three.
Notes on above:
*Sports Definition of High-Impact Exercise (definition garnered from the interweb): any aerobic-type exercise where both feet are off the ground at the same time (dancing, running, bouncing, jump-roping, etc.)
**Zuumba – definitely a current fitness trend given the amount of people I know (and like) who do this. Not to mention how by typing ‘dance cardio’ into Google – it’s tough to get a result that doesn’t involve this form of movement. For the record, and as yet, Polly has not done it in a class; nor via DVD at home.
***Negatory, my dear. Not a ‘fact.’ I Googled it. Though I am open to reviewing any associated medical research; until then, I am listening with caution (and one raised eye-brow).
**** “Whatever”? Polly, too much with the poetic dramatization; no way she would have said that. ‘Fraid so, readership. That was a direct quote. It’s actually pretty tough to interrupt Polly when she is on a roll but this PT has the technique down, apparently.
Finally, an FYI on ‘Feb’ – which was not the Physical Therapist’s real name. Changed to protect the innocent? Well, I would not want folks to judge based on my experience alone. Polly can have her moments; she can be annoying. And who knows the plethora of reasons that this interaction went down in this fashion? Interactions are a two-way street, after all.
Polly, annoying? Never? Erm. Yes. ‘Tis True.
May 14, 2011 § 2 Comments
It has been a week or so of first excitement and then frustration in Polly health land.
Part One (today’s post) concerns the exciting part! Part Two (post pending) contains the frustrating part. I am also hoping there will be a Part Three (and am optimistic that will be a super news part again).
First, it all began a week last Thursday when Polly visited her Doctor* and was diagnosed with something new and exciting!
Here’s some background that leads up to her making an appointment to see aforementioned medical professional:
#1 - It relates to a physical occurrence I have been aware of for many, many years and has to do with my hip joints. Whenever I try to do certain leg movements (e.g. when lying on my back; trying to flex my legs out in a ‘V’ shape); I hear (and feel) a snapping/clicking sound. Rather like one of the tendons in my hips is being pushed, awkwardly, over the hip-joint (imagine a rubber/elastic band being snapped). Sounds awful, eh? Happily it has never caused me any pain; just that odd feeling.
#2 - Remember that surfing injury (ten years back)? Polly was concerned it was some kind of recurrence and I then started remembering my post-back injury chiropractic sessions that resulted in similar pains (lovely chiropractic ‘adjustments’ later and I was good as new).
#3 - I have always had limited range of motion in my hips (annoying, yes but hasn’t been much of an issue). Until now… that’s because…
and #4 – A couple of weeks ago, I began noticing a sharp, nerve-like pain shooting down my right thigh. I considered if it was just an over-worked muscle strain but the pain came and went and was not localized in a certain place (it migrated all around my thigh and even over toward my knee at times).
The truth is, ever since I started dancing; it has been rather frustrating to only be able to do certain abdominal and leg exercises. If I push my range of motion too far beyond the snapping – it does actually hurt. As the classic joke goes:
Polly: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.
Doctor: so don’t do that
So I haven’t.
Well. Back to the doctor diagnosis – it was great news. Kind of. She says I have hip clicking syndrome (a.k.a ‘snapping hip syndrome’). Great news for two reasons: 1) I got an insurance-necessary ‘referral’ to physical therapy (so it is covered by said insurance); and 2) doctor says I should NOT stop dancing because it is important for overall feelings of physical and mental health (yes, we discussed the endorphin high and it turns out she is a fan of Zuumba). I caveat that with her recommendation to take a day off if it hurts and to take some Ibuprofen to mitigate any inflammation (a.k.a listen to your body, Polly; if it hurts, don’t do it).
Right oh. Time to wait for the Part Two; commence the pacing up and down (though it may be a day or two or three).
* in the interests of full disclosure; I didn’t see my lovely ‘Primary Care Physician’ but her co-pilot/partner doctor/fill-in ‘coz my super doc had a very full calendar. Not that I minded; her consult and advice was rather reassuring.
** Hey, Polly. Did you have to have a full-body x-ray then? Thankfully, no. Just some range-of-motion testing; some examples of stretching exercises to try; and some spine-checking from Practice-Partner Doc.
November 5, 2010 § Leave a Comment
a.k.a the day Polly did in her left foot.
What’s its current status, Polly? And why are you spelling out the alphabet with it?
Well, funny you should ask…… The other day, whilst popping to see my super Doc for the H1N1/regular combo flu shot; we had a post-x-ray-follow-up-chat about the ongoing tenderness in The Foot. One thorough hands-on paw exam later (thereby ruling out the nasty possibilities in the process: breaks, fractures, the ACHILLES tendon…); she gave me the complete down-lo on what is up (here described with Polly’s drama-embellished paraphrasing)…..
‘Tis Tendonitis, my dear; likely caused by the lack of adequate footwear whilst dancing round your house. An overstretching, if you will, of the tendons (a.k.a elastic band like tissues that connect muscle to bone) around your middle toes (technically: the tendons from the Extensor Digitorum Longus Muscle in the leg which connect and help straighten/flex the foot). Unfortunately, it is going to keep smarting for a few months but the best treatment is to get dancing (well, she used the words ‘moving’ and ‘concentrated exercises that target, stretch and strengthen the whole foot’) but she also gave me the 100% go-ahead for that to include the big “D”!
Which I have since done…. Twice…. Woop Dee Do. Feels super. There is some post-dancing soreness (and not just in my foot given the length of time without moving most of those muscles!) but I have been taking care of the paw in the off-dancing times.
As to the foot-orientated spelling bee above – my super doc shared this pilates-inspired tip of spelling out the alphabet with each foot as often as possible; apparently this helps move and strengthen lots of the muscles/tendons in those things…
Finally, ’tis true, it was the lack of trainers* that did it; turns out that though our feet withstand much work throughout our daily lives; they are really rather fragile wee things. Going from a ten-plus year stint of treadmill walking and outside strolling to barefoot dancing round the living room was a recipe for tendon-pain disaster. So, until the feet are used to my ballet-ing; Trainers* are the order of the day.
*’Trainers’ – U.S. Translation: Tennis shoes, running shoes, “tennies” (erm…. I’ll stick with the all-encompassing “trainers” thanks very much; Tennis? Why must I be so limited?).