Sunday, May 8, 2011

that which doesn't kill me will make me stronger

I love physical therapists.  I really do.  I've been to doctors who want to stick a needle in you or prescribe a bottle of pills to deal with pain.  I've been to chiropractors who want to have you return every week forever after.  I went to an acupuncturist once who left a needle in my leg which I found later at home.  I've certainly seen a lot of practitioners who didn't know what was wrong, so they treated me for something else that was more familiar.  Throw a treatment at it and maybe it'll go away.

I first mentioned my foot in 2008 in this blog.  (Yeah, archives!)  Doctors never successfully recreated the pain, it sometimes went away, it was a mystery and they probably did what they could.  But nothing really changed.  I started buying better shoes, put an orthotic in most of them and limped along. (That pun was truly not intended, but I had to leave it when I noticed it.) I found a massage therapist who does wonders for it, and when the leg gets bad I go see him, hurt worse for a day and then get six weeks or a few months before it gets bad again and I go back.

This fall I started noticing a lack of mobility and range of motion in my right shoulder, which had been sore for years.  When it got worse I quit blaming the mattress (replaced once upon a time for this very shoulder) and decided to see a doctor.  I was cheating on my old doc, a family practitioner whose office has annoyed me for ten years, and went to a new practice.  The doctor used a magic phrase with me:  "At your age..." she started (and I've heard that one enough that I winced) "you shouldn't have any chronic pain."  I decided I liked her!  I was sent to an orthopedist and I expected that PT would follow.

I couldn't see going for treatment on my shoulder when my foot/leg were such a problem still.  So, I defied the standard protocol and mentioned both.  The orthopedist (rather quickly) labeled the problems "frozen shoulder" and "sciatica".  Off to PT for both.

The PT, however, disagreed.  He says I have too much movement left in the shoulder to call it that and he's sticking with "rotator cuff pain."  Then, he recreated my foot pain.  He had me sit on the side of the table, put my painful leg out straight, flex the foot, and then... nod my head.  He says I have a nerve which is "snagging" somewhere.  He has since decided this is a hip problem.

So, I've been seeing him twice a week now for two weeks.  And, despite all my love for all things physical therapy-- HE IS TRYING TO KILL ME!

But I think the shoulder is improving and I think he knows what he's doing regarding the foot/leg.  This one won't be something that gets better quickly, but I'm optimistic that it will get better.


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